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This was originally posted at Stack Overflow; someone there suggested I post it here.

I'm looking to do nightly backups - copy files from a dev server to my local machine. I'm on Ubuntu Lucid, and currently use FileZilla for FTP, but it doesn't support scheduled transfers and based on their discussion forums, it never will.

Can anyone recommend a free, GUI ftp client that supports scheduled transfers and runs on Linux? I'd prefer not to have to use cron jobs for something that should be simple just because I'm running Linux.

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5  
I know you said you didn't want to use a cron job, but it sounds like you're spending a lot of time avoiding the most obvious solution. –  Chris S Sep 17 '10 at 14:09
    
Would have to agree with Chris - why go through a 3rd party app with a separate scheduling mechanism when you have something baked in that does a great job with scheduled solutions.. a GUI client that tries to schedule would need to either have a user logged in running the application or have the application running all the time as a service in the background –  Rex Sep 17 '10 at 14:18
    
Maybe if the OP can clarify why Cron is the hard way of doing it, it would address the barrier to the answer. –  Bart Silverstrim Sep 17 '10 at 14:19
    
I don't want to use cron because I'm new to Linux and don't know how to do it, and right now I'm under too tight a deadline to be able to take the time to learn it properly. A GUI is safer than mucking around at the command line for a newbie... –  EmmyS Sep 17 '10 at 14:27
    
See Chris's answer below for how cron works; it takes less time to learn than writing this question did. Learning how to use FTP will take another 5 minutes. –  Chris S Sep 17 '10 at 15:17
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3 Answers

Cron is not hard to learn at all. First write a shell script to perform the ftp, or simply make the ftp command call and get that working. Next setup the cron job to run.

*     *     *   *    *        command to be executed
-     -     -   -    -
|     |     |   |    |
|     |     |   |    +----- day of week (0 - 6) (Sunday=0)
|     |     |   +------- month (1 - 12)
|     |     +--------- day of        month (1 - 31)
|     +----------- hour (0 - 23)
+------------- min (0 - 59)

There are plenty of cron references and tight deadline or not this is trivial to learn.

Another alternative, though this will take some time to learn and configure is rsync. We use this at work to backup web servers and sql databases. We have a backup server with public key pairs setup on all our web servers, and each night we have a cron execute which ssh's to the web servers, runs a few commands, packages up the backup and runs rsync to push back.

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1  
This would probably work: 0 0 * * * ftp username:password@server/path/to/files/* Running crontab -e should pull up an editor to edit your crontab file. –  Chris S Sep 17 '10 at 15:19
    
Yes this would work just fine. Ps nice nickname. :-) –  Chris Sep 17 '10 at 15:23
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mount the ftp filesystem using fuse, and use cron. job done.

prolly dont even need fuse, but thats how i'd do it.

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Question said no cron and with GUI. –  Chris S Sep 17 '10 at 14:14
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I'm trying to figure out why using a gui-centric must-be-open application is easier than a scheduled, runs when you're not logged in and never have to think about it again program built into the operating system should be easier. –  Bart Silverstrim Sep 17 '10 at 14:16
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Is there a GUI program for setting a Cron job? :-) –  Bart Silverstrim Sep 17 '10 at 14:16
    
I don't want to use cron because I'm new to Linux and don't know how to do it, and right now I'm under too tight a deadline to be able to take the time to learn it properly. A GUI is safer than mucking around at the command line for a newbie... –  EmmyS Sep 17 '10 at 14:25
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@chris i know, but its still the best way to do it. regarding the time to learn it, you essentially write one line of text. done. i suspect on irc someone would even write the line for you. –  Sirex Sep 17 '10 at 14:57
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Use gnome-schedule (a GUI for cron) with whatever you weren't going to use because you prefer not to use cron.

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I'm going to try this to start with, but will go back and try all the other suggestions when I have a minute to breathe. –  EmmyS Sep 17 '10 at 15:37
2  
Using a gui to perform a CLI task is merely abstracting the details that will teach you how to learn the tool. crontab is far from challenging as my answer shows. 5 fields specify when to execute and a after that a command to be executed. –  Chris Sep 17 '10 at 16:00
    
@Chris - No argument with you whatsoever - but EmmyS seems to strongly prefer a GUI and, until EmmyS is comfortable with the GUI, I doubt cron will come into play. –  danlefree Sep 17 '10 at 22:59
    
There is nothing to be comfortable with using GUI or CLI for crontab. It is going to be either click a time interval or type a time interval and then in either case you will still have to explicitly type the command to execute. –  Chris Sep 20 '10 at 17:59
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