Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

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Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by Pjotr » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:50 am

Many people are reporting drive space problems because of Timeshift, especially when used in combination with Flatpaks. I'm beginning to wonder whether the benefits of these two aren't outweighed by their disadvantages.

Your thoughts?
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by bjmh46 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:04 am

First thing, I disabled flatpack updates, and uninstalled timeshift. I consider appimage and clonezilla as much better alternatives.

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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by gm10 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:12 am

notsureifserious.jpg

If people do not have enough disk space the problem is their lack of disk space, nothing else. :roll:
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by karlchen » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:22 am

  1. Timeshift:
    Should not default to using the system's root filesystem.
    Should suggest to use an extra filesystem or an external medium.
    Should not default to taking snapshots in foolishly short intervals.
    .
  2. Flatapk:
    Perhaps it would be worth explaining to users that applications which are installed as Flatpaks and Snap packages are likely to use much more disk space than applications installed via .deb packages from the official software repositories.
    .
  3. Size recommendations:
    The recommended size of the root filesystem, given in the official release announcements, should be substantially increased,
    • because you instruct Timeshift not to use your root filesystem for its snapshots, but a lot of users never do
    • because Flatpaks and Snap packages will use a lot of filesystem space on the root filesystem by design
    • because by default the swapfile will be located on the root filesystem as well
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by Pjotr » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:25 am

gm10 wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:12 am
notsureifserious.jpg

If people do not have enough disk space the problem is their lack of disk space, nothing else. :roll:
I'm serious alright. :mrgreen:

The problem with Timeshift is, that it can swallow up huge amounts of disk space. Notably when scheduled to run too often (like daily). This can quickly spiral out of hand when you install some update-happy Flatpaks as well: this inflates Timeshift snapshots like balloons. Disk usage simply becomes insane.

Whereas in the recent past 10-20 GB was considered a reasonable minimum for a Linux Mint install, today it's a sure recipe for disaster. Largely because of Timeshift and Flatpaks. We see the evidence in many forum threads.
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by smurphos » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:27 am

The Welcome Screen's recommendations of timeshift need to be revised IMHO - I think it is more sensible to advise maybe 2 daily, 1 weekly and 1 monthly backup as a default and there should be some mention of changing the default snapshot location if the user has installed with limited space for root.

Image

Flatpak I am ambivalent too - I don't really use them, but I think it's good that the option is there for users who want more up to date software.

Improved GUI integration would help including a persistent switch between system and user installs of flatpaks, some automated cleanup of unused runtimes etc. etc. Right now even if an end-user works out how to re-add the flathub remote as a user remote rather than a system remote, any mintinstall upgrade or reinstall will break that change.

As-well as all of that I think the devs need to revise the minimum spec for Mint outlined in release notes - the current 15GB of disk space (20GB recommended), doesn't cut it when you factor in timeshift and flatpak. 30GB of disk space (50GB recommended) would be more realistic IMHO.
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by Pjotr » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:35 am

karlchen and smurphos: good thoughts. I think the devs should do something with those.

A scheduled monthly Timeshift snapshot only, is what I currently advise... With a retention of no more than two. It would also help if Flatpaks would be excluded from Timeshift snapshots by default.
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by gm10 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:49 am

Pjotr wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:25 am
Notably when scheduled to run too often (like daily).
This is a configuration question, not a reason to question the usage of the application at all. As you know, personally I see no value in scheduled snapshots at all and have my Update Manager fork do on-demand snapshots before certain updates.
Pjotr wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:25 am
Whereas in the recent past 10-20 GB was considered a reasonable minimum for a Linux Mint install, today it's a sure recipe for disaster. Largely because of Timeshift and Flatpaks. We see the evidence in many forum threads.
LM won't even allow you to install to 10 GB. The official installation guide recommends 100 GB. Storage space is extremely cheap these days, I'll say that buying more storage space is always cheaper than trying to minimize your storage space usage, no matter the value of your time.
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by karlchen » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:04 am

gm10 wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:49 am
The official installation guide recommends 100 GB.
Hm. This suggests that the official release announcements are based on a different template, which has not been updated since the times of Linux Mint 13 Maya. Because in the official release announcement of Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon I spot this:
Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Cinnamon released! wrote:System requirements:
15GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by gm10 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:02 am

karlchen wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:04 am
gm10 wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:49 am
The official installation guide recommends 100 GB.
Hm. This suggests that the official release announcements are based on a different template, which has not been updated since the times of Linux Mint 13 Maya. Because in the official release announcement of Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon I spot this:
Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Cinnamon released! wrote:System requirements:
15GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
Well, we had the discussion elsewhere already whether "System requirements" should include user files or not. Because for system files that's fine. My own root partition has 15 GB and that's more than sufficient for me, and even with lots of Flatpaks installed you will struggle filling up 20 GB.

System snapshots and such are technically user added files, other operating system vendors do not count them either, neither other Linux distributions for the most part nor Microsoft for Windows (Windows 10 64-bit is listed with 20 GB, for example, see https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/hel ... quirements - you cannot even perform the bi-annual release upgrade with that).

I believe this should be clarified though and/or the recommended value should match the value that the installation guide uses. Go drop Clem a note I guess, discussing it here still won't make a difference. ;)
Last edited by gm10 on Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by cliffcoggin » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:03 am

Timeshift was and is of great benefit to me, the best thing since sliced bread to use a British expression, but then I store snapshots (all seven of them,) in home where there is plenty of space. If I understand correctly, the problem with Timeshift only occurs if snapshots are stored in root, in which case the default setting should be home. I don't recall if I consciously set home as the storage location or if it was the default when I installed it.

Flatpaks I am uneasy about. Of the two I had installed, one failed after an automatic update, the other is gradually filling my var section with temporary files that have to be manually deleted occasionally. Consequently I shall not install any more until they are better integrated with Mint. I understand the attraction of Flatpaks and the like from a developer's point of view, but from a user's point of view I am concerned that they introduce bloat into an otherwise streamlined OS, a trap that Microsoft fell into years ago.
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by AZgl1500 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:58 pm

I have Timeshift stored to /Backup which is a separate dedicated partition for backups only.
I refuse to use flatpaks simply because of their wastage of space.

I have never had a problem with Timeshift growing too big, I rarely do manual backups.... just when I make a major change.

I have dailys set up but keep only 5 copies. The Timeshift storage space seems to remain stagnant for me.

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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by rene » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:05 pm

karlchen wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:22 am
  1. Timeshift:
    ...
    Should suggest to use an extra filesystem or an external medium.
I agree with all your points but would like to emphasize/expand on that one. What's with Timeshift's insistence on "devices" in the first place? In the case of rsync-based snapshotting there would not seem to be a reason the NFS-export from my NAS on which I backup everything wouldn't be able to hold the snapshots, yet I am not giving the opportunity. The tool's useless to me due to that (even though I'd admittedly likely not use it anyway).

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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by ricardogroetaers » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:36 pm

I once started taking a timeshift system snapshot just to try it out.
It started to get big and time consuming.
I canceled the operation.

I use a good old DOS program that makes a copy of the entire partition and not just the system.

I do not copy unused sectors, pagination, or hibernation data (if any, of course).

A 22 GB size Mint partition with about 8.3 GB of data boils down to 2 files whose total size is about 4 GB.
I set the maximum copy file size to 2GB so you can store them in a fat32 partition.

Image

Using a DOS program instead of the timeshift program is my choice.
This does not invalidate timeshift.

I thank my noble friend Pjotr for raising this square ball.

In fact, there are people using timeshift indiscriminately and unnecessarily.
Timeshift, if I'm not mistaken, backs up the system and not user data.
If no new programs or updates will be installed on the system, there is no reason to take snapshots.

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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by Portreve » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:13 am

I've never understood why Timeshift would want to use the system drive to do a backup of the system. Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose? I have it configured to use an external 1 TB disk, and in my view it should eliminate the system drive as a candidate location altogether.

Initially when I read this thread's title, I thought to myself “Oh crap, here we go again” because of previous board firefights about AppImage/Flatpack/Snap distribution formats. :roll: That said, I try to avoid them at this point because I find them to be a bit sluggish and sometimes they seem to have integration issues. For example, the more-recent-version release of Scribus using whichever one it is (Flatpack, I think) doesn't see my printer, even though it's fully accessible to all other natively installed software on my computer.

Honestly, I'm kind of wondering if Clem & Co. perhaps wouldn't be well advised to re-base LM. I mean, I get it: none of these things are easy or simple decisions to make, and all decisions no matter which way they go have consequences. I do trust them to make good judgements and decisions on my behalf. After all, if I didn't, I wouldn't be here using LM. :wink:
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by Moem » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:19 am

ricardogroetaers wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:36 pm
In fact, there are people using timeshift indiscriminately and unnecessarily.
Timeshift, if I'm not mistaken, backs up the system and not user data.
If no new programs or updates will be installed on the system, there is no reason to take snapshots.
I certainly hope that everyone installs updates.
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by HaveaMint » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:55 am

I have revised the timeshift tutorial and I really need to just redo it when I get time. I have transitioned to pjotr or karlchen (can't remember which) suggestion to do it monthly as that is all that is really needed unless you have limits on internet usage. I just checked the size of the latest snapshot and it has most definitely increased in size.
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by DAMIEN1307 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:36 am

Maybe i im just the only one that does not get it, and Im "tardy to the party".

Timeshift, when it first came out, i tried it, it did nothing more than eat all of my SSD, then i found the controls so i could manually manage it...OK...so far...so good.

But i already backup all i need, to two, 64 gig "sandisk" USB drives...I have never had a "disaster" happen as of yet, and since everything i need is already backed up on the USBs, (Yep, i also made an additonal copy to another USB as well), why do i need a resource hog like timeshift when i can do this backup perfectly fine by myself???

If something happens, all i need to do is grab my ISO USB and take 12 minutes to re-install the OS and then just take my other USB drives and restore all of my docs, movies, music vidoes,etc.

Linux OSs make this all so totally easy...timeshift only reminds me of "system restore" on windows OSs that was dubious at best as far as really working and i have heard here in the forums where the timeshift did not work for them as well.

In almost four years now of using varied different Linux OSs, I have never suffered a system failure...cannot say the same for Windows, hence why i always backed up what i needed on either DVDs or USBs.

The other part of the title of this post is about "flatpaks"...a humongous download for simple software because of runtime daemons, and full "packs" of all dependencies needed, regardless whether or not that they were already installed on board with a particular distro to begin with.

Same with "snaps"...the only other entity that i even begin to find "appealing" are "appimage" since they are not an actual download, but act almost like a M$ Windows .exe file where you have to go into "Properties" and click the box to just activate it.

In summary,...i can only say that "timeshift" needs much improvement..."flatpaks and snaps", NEVER...appimage...very promising...thats just my only 2 cents worth, left in my pocket, for what it is worth...DAMIEN
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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by ricardogroetaers » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:55 pm

Moem wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:19 am
I certainly hope that everyone installs updates.
The text presented a different meaning than desired because of the translation mechanism.
Trying to rewrite the text using other words.

"If I am not going to install a new program or an update now, right now, there is no need to take a system snapshot now".
Last edited by ricardogroetaers on Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Timeshift and Flatpaks: more trouble than they're worth?

Post by ricardogroetaers » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:32 pm

Portreve wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:13 am
I've never understood why Timeshift would want to use the system drive to do a backup of the system. Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose? I have it configured to use an external 1 TB disk, and in my view it should eliminate the system drive as a candidate location altogether.......
Unfortunately, a software designer cannot predict that the user has a free disk partition or media to direct his backup files to.

The user must configure this.

I recognize that the help of "Timeshift" is confusing.

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