TimeMachine with Netatalk

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TimeMachine is pretty cool for backing up a MacOS X but I'm not willing to shell out money for hardware like AirPort Extreme as my network is not an Apple [orchard] monoculture. Besides with most of appliances featuring the Apple logo I hit the limit pretty soon as I want to tweak things to fit my network.

But there is help on the way. The good guys at Netatalk have built in TimeMachine support for their AFP file server built-in since version 2.0.5 but for MacOS X 10.7 (Lion) AFP version 3.3 is required and only Netatalk 2.2.2 or greater has support for it.


  • Linux host with Netatalk 2.0.5 or 2.2.2 (MacOS X 10.7 or greater)
  • A MacOS X host with TimeMachine


  • A dedicated disk or partition for the TimeMachine volume


These examples based on Debian / Ubuntu other versions of Linux or *BSD may have the files in different locations.

For this example we mount the disk or partition on /mnt/timemachine and then change the /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default file.

# By default all users have access to their home directories.
~/                      "Home Directory"
/mnt/timemachine        "TimeMachine"      options:tm

One optional step is to change the icon from a workstation to the one of Xserve. Simply add the following line at the end of the /etc/netatalk/afpd.conf file. The commented lines in the example below are for reference.

# default:
# - -tcp -noddp -uamlist uams_dhx.so,uams_dhx2.so -nosavepassword
- -tcp -noddp -uamlist uams_dhx.so,uams_dhx2.so -nosavepassword -mimicmodel Xserve

Once done we simply need to restart the service.

/etc/init.d/netatalk restart