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In Retrospect

In the first part of July TidBITS had a full review of Retrospect 1.3 that was quite complimentary – heck, it’s a good program. Since then we’ve heard more about Retrospect and its developers, Dantz Development, that might interest you.

For a while now SuperMac has wanted focus on its graphics hardware and to divest itself of its software group. Originally there was talk of spinning off a software company, but now it appears that SuperMac is selling its products to other companies. SuperMac’s DiskFit, which has long been a strong player in the low-end backup program market, is one of those programs. Luckily for us, the original developers, Dantz, are purchasing DiskFit and plan to upgrade it to DiskFit Pro (which I believe will include the features of Network DiskFit, although I don’t know what other new features it will include). I presume that Dantz will market DiskFit to people who want Finder-readable backups and who don’t want the complexity or power of Retrospect. Who knows, DiskFit Pro may end up costing a bit less than Retrospect. SuperMac will not provide technical support for DiskFit after the end of 1991, and (unless Dantz has a surprise for us) there will be no more of the "df" versions of DiskFit that were free to owners of SuperMac’s Dataframe hard disks.

We’re not sure how Retrospect and DiskFit will differ, but it seems clear that Retrospect’s main limitations lie in archive management. Once you store an item in an archive, all you can do is get it out by copying to another volume. In the ideal archiving program, you would be able to delete or replace that file, or perhaps even read it into a program (although saving directly into the archive again would probably be difficult and not all that useful). Given Retrospect’s abilities at putting files into an archive, we’d love to see some management capabilities once the files are in that archive. We’ve heard hints from Dantz that they are working on just this sort of capability for Retrospect, so look for the next upgrade to provide some interesting new features.

All is not perfect in the Retrospect world, and Mark H. Anbinder, changing from his TidBITS Baby-sitter hat to his BAKA Tech Support hat, sent this note. "Brian Calhoun-Bryant of BAKA Technical Support reports that there is a known incompatibility between AppleShare 2.01 file server software and the Retrospect Remote software. Dantz Development Corporation has confirmed the problem. Dantz recommends that Retrospect users should NOT use their Remote software to back up an AppleShare file server. Apparently, if the server is accessed by an AppleShare client while the remote backup is taking place, the computer will almost certainly crash. This is true with all versions of Retrospect including 1.2 and 1.3, with AppleShare 2.01. Dantz reports that they are working closely with Apple on the problem, and Retrospect Remote 1.3 will work fine with AppleShare 3.0, expected later this year."

"In the meantime, they recommend that users back up their AppleShare file servers by mounting the server at the computer where Retrospect is running, and backing it up like any other local volume. If the volume is mounted with full administrator privileges, then all access information will be backed up as well as all files. The only thing that will not be backed up is the Server Folder, which contains the server’s system software and the file server software. Dantz suggests that users should be able to back up this folder using the Remote software in the middle of the night or at any time when server activity is unlikely."

"Please note that Retrospect 1.3, which is compatible with System 7, is a free upgrade for all owners of Retrospect 1.2. If you have not yet received it, contact Dantz to confirm that you have been registered. Have your serial number(s) handy."

Dantz — 415/849-0295.

Information from:
Mark H. Anbinder, BAKA Computers Technical Support
[email protected]
Rich Long — [email protected]
Steve Lemke — [email protected]
Mike Wiese — [email protected]
Fabian Ramirez — [email protected]

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