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A wrapper around restic

Project description

What is restaround?

restaround is a wrapper around the backup utility restic simplifying its use.

This is done by defining profiles. A profile defines the arguments to be used for restic. Profiles can inherit from others.

Quick start

Backing up /home into /backup/restic:

  • create directory ~/.config/restaround/home or /etc/restaround/home

  • go into that directory

  • edit new file repo. Content is backup/restic

  • edit new file password-file, put the password into it

  • edit new file filedir. Content is /home

  • restaround home init will initialize the repository

  • restaround home backup will backup

  • restaround home mount /mnt will mount all backups in /mnt


Usage: restaround [-h] [-n] [-s] profile command [restic arguments]

-h, --help

show this help message and exit

-n, --dry-run

Only show the restic command to be executed


Use profile. It is first looked for in ~/.config/restaround/, then in /etc/restaround/


the restic command to be executed

restic arguments

any additional arguments for restic

Examples where main is the name of a profile:

restaround main backup --with-atime
restaround --dry-run main snapshots
restaround main diff --metadata 3a5f latest
restaround main mount



Every profile is defined within its own directory. They are searched first in ~/.config/restaround and then in /etc/restaround. If the same profile is defined in both places: See Inheriting.

Arguments passed on the command line build another profile to be applied last.

restic can get many arguments in environment variables like $RESTIC_PASSWORD_FILE. restaround just passes them on.


A profile is implemented as a directory with files for flags. Those can be symbolic links, getting flag values from other profiles.

Most files in that directory have the same spelling as the restic flag. In restic, however the positional flags sometimes have names which do not allow this like restic backup: FILE/DIR [FILE/DIR] .... In that case, say restaround help backup to see the name restaround wants, in this case filedir.

The full name can be built as follows:

[command] [no] [flag] [value] [value] …

where the separate parts are joined by underlines. This character is not part of any restic command or argument. If you need _ in a value, do not use the [value] part. There is an alternative.

  • command is a restic command. The file only applies to that command. If not given, it applies to all commands

  • no will disable something defined in the inherited profiles

  • flag is a restic flag like with-atime. Special flags are inherit, pre and post

  • value is the value for a flag like in repo=value

  • more values the flag will be repeated for all values

restaround knows which restic commands know which flags, it will only apply the allowed ones to a specific command.

A profile directory might contain files like


Some restic flags can be repeated like –tag: tag can be a file with one or several lines. Each line is extended into –tag linecontent.

The restic flags cacert, cachedir, exclude-file, include-file, password-file are special: The corresponding file holds the content, so exclude-file extends to --exclude-file=profile/exclude-file. As you already know, symbolic links are allowed. So cacert may be a symbolic link to the certification file.

For flags with just one argument like –repo create profile/repo with one line.

The alternative form flag_value1_value2_value3 is treated like a file with 3 lines. So exclude_a_b_dirc would extend into --exclude a --exclude b --exclude dirc Such a file must be empty. Of course this form can only be used if the resulting file name is legal for the file system and if no part contains an underline.

tag in restic is used as both a command and as an argument, but this should pose no problem.

tag_tag is the “tag” flag applied only to command “tag” tag_taga is the “tag” flag applied to all commands as --tag taga

If you really want to do --tag=tag, you can define a file named tag (or tag_tag) with one line “tag”.

Special commands

Those commands are executed by restaround. Otherwise their usage is the same regarding inheritance and execution of pre/post scripts.

cpal makes a copy of the repository. All files will be hard linked. The name of the copy will be that of the repository + ‘restaround_cpal’ This can be useful before doing a critical operation you might want to undo.

rmcpal removes such a copy.

Of course you could simply call cp -al directly. But using restaround has the advantage that it will execute the pre- and postscripts. If the repository must first be mounted and the be unmounted, the pre- and postscripts will do that. Example: Automatically mounting and unmounting a USB drive


The special flag inherit can be defined just like a normal flag but it will be executed by restaround instead of passing it to restic. So you can use

  • --inherit=remote

  • empty file backup_inherit_remote

  • file with content inherit

You can inherit from any number of other profiles. If there is a profile named default, it is always inherited from. If a profile is defined both in /etc/restaround and in ~/.config/restaround, both are inherited in that order.

Most flags can be passed multiple times to restic. For those, restaround will follow the inheritance tree from the top (the default profile) to the bottom (the profile passed to restaround on the command line). Lastly, the arguments passed directly as command line arguments are appended.

the most general first (from the default profile), followed by descend

Order of execution

Profiles are used top-down where top is the default profile and down is the profile passed on the command line. Command line arguments are applied last.

Multiple inherit command files in a profile are executed in alphabetical order.

When loading a profile, the no_ files are executed last. As as example, you can define pre and no_pre_cache where pre mounts an external USB drive. So for the cache command, the USB drive will not be mounted.

If both a general and a command specific flag are defined within a profile, the general flag is applied first.

Pre- and Postscripts

The special flag pre defines a script to be executed before the restic command.

The special flag post defines a script to be executed after the restic command. It gets the exit code of the restic command in the shell variable RESTIC_RESULT.

Those flags can be defined analog to cacert, see above.

Just like with any flag, inheritance means that several pre or post scripts might be defined. They are executed in the order as defined for normal flags: default profile first, command line arguments last. As soon as an exit code from a pre script is not 0, restaround aborts with that exit code. This is not true for post scripts: after the main restic command finishes, all post scripts are always executed.

The scripts will get some environment variables:

Environment variable



the process id of the calling restaround


the name of the profile restaround was called with


the name of the wanted restic command


1 if –dry-run was given, 0 else


the given –loglevel: error, warning, info, debug

Scripts can pass environment variables to the next script. Because there is no way known to me how to do that on a non linux system, they do that like this:


Everything a script writes to stdout must look like that. You must suppress other output to stdout.

Pre scripts are executed before the main restic command. They are allowed to modify the flags in the profile directory, the profile is rescanned after every pre script.

Those scripts also allows setting up chains like backup, check, forget, prune. Just be careful not to go into endless loops.


Directory structure

file name



backup –tag taga –tag tagb


–repo REPONAME where REPONAME stands on the first line of repo


for restore only, removes –tag if it was defined in an inherited profile

Define separate profiles for the source and the repository and then combine them:




exclude-caches mountpoint


password-file repo


password-file repo


exclude-file filedir


inherit_local inherit_mydata


inherit_remote inherit_mydata

Backup mydata on a remote repository and list all snapshots on that repository:

restaround mydata_remote backup
restaround remote snapshots

Automatically mounting and unmounting a USB drive



# This is reentrant. A pre or post script might call restaround

mount | fgrep 'on /backdisk3 ' >/dev/null
if test $? -eq 0
      echo DISK3_WAS_MOUNTED_BY=0
      mount /backdisk3 >/dev/null
      if test x${DISK3_WAS_MOUNTED_BY} == x
              # else somebody else may have unmounted



# only umount if we are called by the restaround instance which mounted

test $DISK3_WAS_MOUNTED_BY -eq $RESTAROUND_PID && umount /backdisk3

Show diff after backup

This expects at least two snaphots in the repository. Better would be to check whether $snap2 really holds exactly 2 values.



snap2=$(restaround --loglevel error "$RESTAROUND_PROFILE" snapshots --json | jq -r '.[-2:][].id')

restaround "$RESTAROUND_PROFILE" diff $snap2 >&2


  • cpal and rmcpal are not supported.

  • pre and post scripts must have the ending .bat

  • all example scripts in the documentation are only for Linux. You are on your own for Windows.


Get it from

You can do

pip3 install restaround

If you want bash command line argument completion, put this into your .bashrc:

eval "$(register-python-argcomplete restaround)"

or see You may have to install a python package. On Debian, it would be python3-argcomplete.

If you want to use restaround selftest, please install pytest, see

pip install -U pytest

For parallel test execution see the comment in the source: search for run_pytest.


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