I've had both a coworker and a FreeBSD developer ask me recently how to use FreeBSD as a Time Capsule for Time Machine from OSX. There are a lot of tutorials out there and most of them are non-functional. This is possibly the simplest guide that is known to be working. It uses local unix account authentication for the shares over AFP, and of course it's backed by ZFS.

pkg install netatalk3 avahi-app


vol preset = default_for_all_vol
log file = /var/log/netatalk.log
hosts allow = 2001:470:1f11:1e8::/64
mimic model = TimeCapsule6,116

#file perm = 0640
#directory perm = 0750
cnid scheme = dbd
#ea = none|auto|sys
ea = ad

path = /local/timecapsule/mark
valid users = feld
time machine = yes


<?xml version="1.0" standalone='no'?><!--*-nxml-*-->
<!DOCTYPE service-group SYSTEM "avahi-service.dtd">
<name replace-wildcards="yes">%h</name>


# time machine

I'm aware Apple is moving away from AFP to SMB, but I haven't investigated what it would take to make this work with Samba instead of Netatalk.

Fixing Time Machine / Netatalk (error (null))

Fri 19 February 2016 by feld

Recently I was setting up a new Time Machine backup on my wife's MacBook so it would use my FreeBSD/ZFS server. My own personal MacBook was already backing up to it successfully and has been for quite some time. When I attempted to start a new backup to the …

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Braindead FreeBSD Backups with Tarsnap and ACTS

Thu 14 May 2015 by feld

Before I start this simple blog post you should be aware that:

Now that has been said, let's start with the super basics. Do you know Tarsnap …

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