Time Marches On! Monday, November 26, 2007

So, another quick update on our progress on the Leopard version of SuperDuper! (which will work better than the 2.1.4 on Tiger, for those of you still there).

Link Hard

I'm happy to say that we've worked through the last few issues with hard links and the complexities of copying Time Machine backups. Yesterday, I was able to copy and restore an over 7 million file Time Machine drive successfully, and restore it. After some scanning, Time Machine picked up exactly where it left off, happily accepting the "new" drive as the right one.

This means that you can successfully copy your Time Machine backup to a different drive as a backup, or to a new, larger drive, without losing your history.

It also means, as I mentioned last post, that SD! is properly handling some of the new on-disk representations in Leopard.

Another test cycle

Now that we've successfully passed our internal tests for this, we're going to package it up (with some other new stuff I haven't talked about) and roll it to our external testers for them to bang on to make sure we haven't missed anything.

Good progress

So, we're making good progress. I'll write about some of the wackiness we've run into later on (example: did you know that journaling has to be on to be able to successfully copy a drive with hard links? Me neither.), but for now, back to the grind.

Leopard Status Update Friday, November 16, 2007

By popular demand (and demand and demand and demand), here's a quick update on the status of SuperDuper!'s Leopard update (likely to be called 2.1.5). Sorry it's been a bit quiet here. I've been getting a lot of email, and it's hard to find the time to write posts. I'll try to update the blog with status a bit more often in the future.

SuperDuper! is working well in our internal tests and for our external testers. Right now, we're ensuring that some of the (currently) lesser-used features of the Leopard file system are being handled properly, from both a copying and status standpoint.

Some technical details

The details of all these things are more than a bit obscure: the issues we deal with are things that end users should never need to think about.

For example, Leopard allows applications to "hard link" folders, something that's never been allowed before. Time Machine relies on this capability, but it's available to any application. Proper handling of these hard linked folders is important, and has its own challenges, including how you handle the counts and sizes of files on the drive for the status display, etc.

Not all parts of Leopard handle these new on-disk structures consistently, and as such we're working through the issues bit-by-bit, making sure we're doing things as right as we can, and in a way that won't break when (or if) -- things change in the future. Or when a new, Leopard-specific application you install starts to make more use of this stuff...

Another obscure example

One thing we found during testing was that users with Bluetooth keyboards were having trouble. The keyboard wasn't maintaining its pairing relationship with the system when starting up from the copy.

This was not actually due to any kind of file or metadata copying problem (as we initially feared): everything was being copied as it should, so when we ran our various comparison/verification tools, things checked out fine. Instead, it was due to a change in the way Leopard recreates (or, in this case, no longer recreates) a standard system folder (specifically, /private/var/run), which is certainly not the first place you'd look for this kind of thing, and running down the problem (and verifying the fix) took time.


So, we're working hard to get things right. We want to make sure that when you make a copy of an HFS+/HFSX Leopard volume with SuperDuper!—regardless of what new features were used—the copy will be correct.

Of course, we keep being asked—with various level of politeness—for a "timeframe" for release. Again, we're not targeting a drop-dead release date. It all depends on how testing continues to go after each beta release, whether any bizarre things are found that weren't covered in our test suite, and how long those things—if found—take to research and handle properly. It's not going to be in the next few days: we're hoping within a few weeks. I'll keep you informed about our status here.

Waiting sucks

I know. Believe me, I know. Waiting sucks. I understand your frustration: it's frustrating on this end, too. Once again, thanks for your patience as we try to maintain the level of quality you expect from us.

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