Perfect Time Machine Server (.iso)

Download Time Machine Server (ISO) Download Time Machine Server (VMware)


Do you have a Mac or MacBook that doesn’t have backups?  What would you do if you lost all the data on your hard drive?


Enter the Perfect Time Machine Server! This lightweight Linux distribution will act as a network Time Machine Server and back up your Mac. This Linux is meant to run on its own computer with no maintenance or hassle. You can even run it inside a Virtual Machine if that suits you. It’s also FREE!

Some Background…

Here I am releasing the first version of my Perfect Time Machine Server!  This Linux distribution comes with all the software needed to act as a server for your Mac.  It doesn’t have a GUI interface and only runs on the command line.  All the steps are easily explained on the introduction screen, so don’t worry if you’re not good at using Linux.  You should have a large hard drive to store backups.  About 500 gigs will be fine.  If your Mac has a large hard drive, you will need to account for that with your backups disk.  By default the Perfect Time Machine will use this entire drive for backups.  Below you will find the .ISO or virtual machine download.


If you’re not sure which version to use, go with the ISO version.  Burn it to a CD using a slower burning speed.

  1. Insert CD into your computer and boot.
  2. Login using the username “root”, and password “timemachine”.  Type “./help” for instructions or keep reading.
  3. Type “yast” and choose “Miscellanous”.  Press tab to highlight “Live Installer” and press enter.  Follow the instructions.  Reboot.
  4. From your Mac, open a terminal.  (Press Command+Space, then type Terminal)  Inside the terminal type: “defaults write TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1″
  5. From your Mac, click on the desktop.  Press Command+K.  Type in the following, but using the ip of your server: “afp://″   If you don’t know the ip of your Time Machine Server, type “./help” from the command line.  Use the username “tux” and password “linux”
  6. Now that you have connected to the Server, you need to configure Time Machine.  Go to System Preferences, and choose Time Machine.  Click “Select Disk” and choose the time machine volume.
  7. All done! Your Mac will start backing up automatically.


More Configuration

  • You will probably want to keep the Time Machine at a fixed IP.  To do this, type “Yast” and select “Network Devices” and then choose “Network Settings”.  When the page loads press the right arrow key twice.  This takes you to the “routing tab”  from which you can put in your router’s address.  Now tab back to the top and press left twice to get back to Overview.  Tab to Edit, and choose “Statically assigned IP Address”.  Fill in an fixed IP.  You can probably use “″ for the subnet mask.  You can also choose a hostname here.
  • To configure where backups are stored, edit the symlink in the home directory by typing “nano AppleVolumes.default”.  The very last line is an entry for the default share, which is /macbackups  Change this line to backup to a different location.
  • If you have two hard drives, one large and one small, you can still install the Time Machine server.  In the installer, mount the larger drive at the mountpoint /macbackups.  You can also use a different mount point if you want, just be sure to change the share as.


  • installed but doesn’t connect

  • The version of the server you are trying to connect to is not supported. Please contact your system administrator to resolve the problem.

  • maybe it doesn’t support lion as a client ?
    I have tried with snow leopard and it seams to connect..
    though it brings up only 18 gigs while I installed it on a 150 giga on virtual box

  • status update
    ran the sever on my macbook (lion) with fusion, now testing a backup from the iMac (snow leopard) to my vm on my macbook… its still running …
    running df -h on the server :
    linux-5sbe:~ # df -h
    Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    rootfs 20G 2.4G 17G 13% /
    devtmpfs 499M 140K 499M 1% /dev
    tmpfs 501M 4.0K 501M 1% /dev/shm
    /dev/sda2 20G 2.4G 17G 13% /
    /dev/sda3 48G 180M 47G 1% /home
    so the other mac running time machine backup doesn’t see by default the full size of the backup disk , only 17 giga, instead of the 47 giga..

  • Dan! Thanks for trying out the Perfect Time Machine Server!
    It looks like the installer made a 47G partition on /home. If you would like to use this partition for backups, something like this should work for you:

    mkdir /home/macbackups
    chmod 777 /home/macbackups
    nano AppleVolumes.default

    change beginning of the very last line in the AppleVolumes.default to:

    Please let me know if you have any further questions!

  • thanks
    for some reason (I think it did finish a backup) but it doesn’t show up anyhow via finder… from fast I noticed it became dhcp again, and from fast I cannot change it to manual anymore, even via cli ifconfig eth0 xxxxx net mask xxxxx up, it turns back to dhcp every time… another thing , Lion is not supported yet right ?

  • If you think it finished a backup, click the time machine icon from the top bar, and choose “Enter Time Machine”. This will open a nice display with all your backed up information.

    If you want to change the ip, type “yast” from the cli. A blue screen will come up. go to “Network Devices” -> Network Settings. From here a new window will open up. Press tab till you get to “edit” on the bottom, and press enter. From this screen you can put in all your fixed ip information. You will want “Static assigned IP Address”. After you are done, tab to “next” and then tab to “ok”. Finally you will be back to the first screen. Go to quit, and the blue screen will disappear.

    You should restart your computer now to make sure that your IP settings are correct.

    I’m really sorry but I haven’t tested it out with lion. I don’t have a lion mac, but my roomate has one at home. I will ask him if things are working!

    I want this to work for you!!! Good luck :)

  • thanks
    I will update you

  • Does It work with the new lion version of os X? Lion require AFP 3.3 found in the Netatalk-2.2 package for linux. Which version of netatalk is installed and configured on this iso?

  • How can I configure this to backup multpal macs. I will be using two 3TB external HDs connected to this linux box.


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