Simple Backup Suite
The Simple Backup Suite, or Sbackup, is a set of Python scripts that provide two graphical interfaces: simple-backupconfig and simple-restore-gnome. Don't panic if it isn't part of your distro's repository – with its tiny dependency list, it's easy to install, even from source.
The simple-backup-config tool is named somewhat inappropriately, since you use it to create backups as well as for configuration. Once installed, launch it via System > Administration or the terminal.
By default, Sbackup is configured to back up your /home, /etc and a few other directories. If you'd rather define your own backup settings, click the Use Custom Backup Settings radio in the General tab.
The tabs at the top enable you to define the files and directories you wish to include or exclude from the backup. The Exclude tab offers you the option to exclude files based on regex matches, file size and file type. You can choose to save your backups to a remote location (SSH or FTP) or a local directory.
If you'd like to automate the backups with Cron, click the Time tab and Sbackup will create incremental backups for you. Unless you wish to create a one-off backup, click Save at the bottom of the window. The settings are saved in the /etc/sbackup.conf file.
Please note that Sbackup doesn't create profiles, so /etc/sbackup.conf is overwritten each time you click Save. This means you can't schedule different Cron jobs for a range of backups – your Pictures directory on Tuesday and Videos on Wednesday, for example.
The Simple Backup Restore tool under System > Administration identifies different backups by their timestamp. Handily, Sbackup will let you select individual files to restore too.
Simple Backup Suite
This isn't designed to be a home solution but it's ideal for system data
Back In Time
Originally intended as a replacement for scp and the rcp tools, rsync is now often used for performing backups. There are many graphical tools that use it and Back In Time is just one.
The project website has extensive installation instructions for Fedora, Ubuntu and Mandriva. Once installed, you can launch Back In Time from the Applications > System Tools menu on a Gnome desktop.
Because Back In Time relies on rsync, it can't be used to back up single files, only directories. You can use Exclude to specify files you don't wish to back up, though.
Back In Time creates snapshots of the directories you want to back up. This means that it copies the entire directory contents into the backup, but only if the contents have changed. So, if you create a snapshot of a directory now, it won't create another 20 minutes later if you haven't made changes.
You can and should add a name to each snapshot to enable easy comparison. The diff tool can then be used to compared the different snapshots. To do this, click the Snapshots button on the far-right of the interface. Now pick two snapshots from the Diff With drop-down list. Clicking the Diff With button now will display a comparison of the files in the snapshots.
If you like, you can restore individual files instead of the complete directory. Select a snapshot in the panel on the left, browse to the file you wish to copy in the right-hand panel, and you can either drag and drop or copy the file from here. Alternatively, click the Restore button. This will recreate the directory from the snapshot instantly.
Back In Time
Very fast. If you don't care for compression, this is a great tool.