HOWTO: Setup a Time Machine Server on Ubuntu Server 14.04, 16.04, 18.04 & Debian

In this post lets look at the steps to quickly reconfigure a Ubuntu / Debian server to function as a Time Machine server. TM backup tested with OSX Mountain Lion , Mavericks, Yosemite and El Capitan.

  • Install following packages

sudo apt-get install netatalk avahi-daemon

  • Create a new folder which will contain the TM backup.

mkdir -R /data/TimeMachineBackup

  • Create a new user and grant access to the folder created in previous step

sudo adduser tux-networks

sudo chown -R tux-networks:tux-networks /data/TimeMachinebacku

  • Backup the default configuration file installed by apt-get

sudo mv /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default.back

  • Create a new configuration file and edit using vi or other text editors

sudo vi /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default

the following lines exist by default on my machine (this is default setting for all shares)

:DEFAULT: options:upriv,usedots

  • Add the new folder that was created earlier

/data/TimeMachineBackup “Tux Networks’s TM Backup” options:tm volsizelimit:500000 allow:tux-networks
options:tm –> timemachine
volsizelimit –> 500GB of space available for Time Machine
allow –> user id having access to this folder

  • Restart netatalk

sudo service netatalk restart

  • Connect to ubuntu server using Finder on your Mac in the “Go” menu, click “Connect to server…”. In the server address field type afp://192.168.x.x/ then click “Connect”, you will be asked to input a login and password which is the user created in step 3.
  • After connected, type Time Machine in search to open Time Machine app and click “Select Disk…” and select the new Ubuntu Time Machine server under “Available Disks”.
  • Provide login credentials if asked again.


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