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DavidHertzberg

PSA: Wikipedia article on Retrospect going away in current form

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Some other Wikipedia editors complained that "the article contains excessive detail, it's written more like an essay or exposition than an cut-and-dried encyclopedia article, and the sourcing doesn't really support a lot of the inferences and asides".  

 

DovidBenAvraham took care of the inferences and asides by essentially eliminating the "Documentation" section; it made inferences (most of which are now preserved in this Mac Forum post) mostly by comparing current versions of Retrospect Mac User's Guides to past versions of the same UGs, to the same versions of the Retrospect Windows UGs, to buttons in the Retrospect Mac GUI, or to the Tutorials or Knowledge Base articles.  Those comparisons by editors are considered un-sourced "original research" in the Wikipedia world, but it's OK for an editor to report on such comparisons if they were made by a third-party reviewer.

 

However these other editors are now strong-arming DovidBenAvraham to rewrite the rest of the article, under the threat of doing it themselves if he doesn't.  That rewriting will be done over the next few days.  When it's complete and has passed muster with the complaining editors, I'll go through the posts on these forums and revise them so that they link to the new appropriate sections in the article.

 

Here's a permanent link to the article in its old form.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
First sentence in 2nd prgf. now contains link to post in new topic on Mac Forum that preserves the documentation inferences
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Here is a table of terminology differences as of Retrospect Windows 8 and Retrospect Macintosh 10, which is unlikely to return to the WP article:

 

Retrospect Windows current and Retrospect Macintosh ≤ 7   Retrospect Macintosh ≥ 8

Backup Set                                                                                          Media Set

Transfer Snapshots operation                                                          Copy Media Set operation
Transfer Backup Sets operation                                                       Copy Backup operation
Duplicate operation                                                                            Copy operation
"execution unit" (in "powerful new engine")                                    "activity thread" (in "powerful new engine")
Normal backup (incremental, no Recycle of Catalog File)           No Media Action backup
New Media backup (create new Backup Set w/similar name)    Start New Media backup (create new M. S. w/similar)
Selectors (may specify the types of files/folders excluded)        Rules (may specify the types of files/folders excluded)
Subvolume                                                                                            Favorite Folder
Snapshot                                                                                               eliminated as terminology (deemed part of Catalog)
Immediate (as opposed to Automated) operations                      eliminated by Console Toolbar-launched scripts

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Adjusted right-column vertical lineup for new Forums software

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The other night I went through my posts that had "Wikipedia" in them on these Forums, either visibly or in links, using the Search tool.  In most cases I just changed the links to point to the appropriate section in the rewritten Wikipedia article; in some cases—where the rewrite had eliminated the appropriate section—I changed the link to point to the appropriate section in the permanent link of the old form of the article.  There are a handful of cases that I missed because they didn't have the word "Wikipedia" in them; I'll find those and change them.

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The forced rewrite of the Wikipedia article has uncovered an interesting fact about the Retrospect Add-On for VMWare servers.  The editor JohnInDC recently turned his attention to the "Editions and Add-Ons" section, and insisted that DovidBenAvraham not list all the Add-Ons—claiming listing one or two was sufficient to put across the idea of Add-Ons.  DBA looked at the Product Configurator for the first time in a year, and noticed that it no longer asks—even if you are pricing Retrospect Windows—whether you plan to backup any VMWare servers.  DBA guessed that Retrospect Inc. must have incorporated that Add-On as a freebie part of the basic Engine, but I was a bit more cautious.

 

I phoned Retrospect Sales on Friday 3 November, and spoke to the junior sales manager Ian.  He said that Retrospect Sales is still happy to sell customers the VMWare Add-On, and guessed that it has been (prematurely?) removed from the Product Configurator because the new Retrospect Inc. product that I dare not name (for which Ian e-mailed me links to what is already on the Retrospect.com website) is expected to replace the Add-On with integral provisions for VMWare servers and other hypervisors.

 

So if you want to purchase the VMWare servers Add-On for Retrospect Windows, you now have to phone Retrospect Sales and ask for it.  Oh, the 20th-Century pain of having to actually talk to a salesperson (insert appropriate smiley here)!

 

P.S.: Ian has e-mailed me to say that what he actually told me on the phone was "If you have utilized the VMware Addon for Windows in the past you may have noticed it was functional but wasn’t as robust as it needed to be.  With that said, Retrospect has released a new Virtual Edition that supports both VMware and Hyper-V environments!  If you would like Virtual Machine support, please look into purchasing Retrospect Virtual which is a complete solution for virtual environments."

Edited by DavidHertzberg
P.S. to add what Ian says he actually told me on the phone; got rid of the text coloring—which was in Ian's e-mail—by re-pasting as plain text

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The VWMare add-on doesn't support current versions of VMWare and we are no longer selling this add-on unless someone absolutely needs to use it. This old add-on is discontinued. 

If you would like Virtual Machine support, please look into purchasing Retrospect Virtual which is a complete solution for virtual environments. 

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Here's a shocker that puts the re-orientation of this thread towards backing up virtual machines in a whole new light.

I converted the first 3 paragraphs of my previous post into an Additional Note for my Support Case, and then added another Additional Note saying "The only problem is that, according to Ian, Retrospect Virtual doesn't support Retrospect Client software. So how are administrators with machines that are not running a Virtual Machine Manager supposed to back them up with Retrospect Virtual?

I got a reply saying "Retrospect Virtual is a totally different product from Retrospect. it doesn't use any of the same code and doesn't use any of the same backup methods or technology. Retrospect Client is not a concept that exists [my emphasis] with the Retrospect Virtual ecosystem. You can read more about the Virtual Product at https://www.retrospect.com/en/products/virtual. "  

I had previously guessed that the Retrospect Virtual Host Server was simply an adaption of the Retrospect Windows Engine (a Retrospect Mac term that refers to the non-GUI part of the backup server) to run under a Virtual Machine Manager.  That would mean a Retrospect Virtual Host Server could backup from client computers not running a VM, not just VMs running on its own computer.  But that's apparently not the way the developers built the Retrospect Virtual Host Server.

So how does one backup one or more computers running a Windows VMM, plus one or more computers not running a Windows VMM, all on the same LAN?  Does one have to run two versions of Retrospect: one an executable of Retrospect Virtual to backup all the Windows VMs on the LAN, and another an executable of Retrospect Windows or Retrospect Mac to backup all the non-VM Windows or Mac clients on the LAN?

If so, IMHO that's not going to be  sales-enhancing for Retrospect Inc..

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Changed "re-direction" to "re-orientation"

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Getting back to the Wikipedia article rewrite, DovidBenAvraham has pulled the chestnuts out of the fire.  As he was being forced to cut the description of the Retrospect features down to 14 screen lines, he realized that the features divided themselves into two classes: those needed by small groups, and those needed by enterprises.  The first class consists of features developed before 2005, with the exception of basic cloud backup.  The second class consists of features developed after 2005, and were—DBA guessed—likely to have been adopted by all client-server backup applications suited for enterprise use.

DBA put the small-group features into the "Retrospect" article, and added the enterprise features as a new section at the back of the "Backup" article—to which he created a one-sentence link (later expanded, after a battle with WP editor JohnInDC, to a 10-line list of feature names with links to sub-sections of the new "Backup" section) in a new section of the "Retrospect" article.  In order to get the new section in the "Backup" article past the eagle eye of JohnInDC, DBA used the skeleton WP article on another enterprise backup application—one that shall be referred to here as NB—to find out how that application named the equivalent features.  He then Googled these feature names combined with the name of the NB application, and found Web pages describing them.  Putting references to these pages into feature descriptions copied from the old "Retrospect" article, and removing the name "Retrospect" from those feature descriptions, gave DBA a new "Backup" article section that is ostensibly application-independent.  This has now passed muster with JohnInDC, although he and DBA are still wrangling over the lead paragraph of the new section.

If you want to read the gory details,  go to the Talk page discussion about that section here.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
New section of "Retrospect" article links to new section of "Backup" article, other clarifications; new section now _names_ enterprise features

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DovidBenAvraham has noticed an substantial increase on 6 March in the Page View Statistics for the "Retrospect (software)" and "Backup" Wikipedia articles.  He attributes this to people, many of them from Walnut Creek CA, trying to see if DBA has updated these articles for the release of Retrospect 15 for Windows and Mac.  Those people are probably now wondering "When is DBA going to update the articles with the new features?"

The simple answer is never, until Retrospect Inc. updates the User's Guides.

DovidBenAvraham learned the hard way, over the last 6 months, that Wikipedia has rules against including marketing information in articles on software.  One WP editor, with the "handle" scope_creep, even went so far as to consider the use of Retrospect Inc.'s own terms for features to be marketing.  Although another WP editor—JohnInDC—didn't go quite that far, he insisted that  DBA's references in his WP articles had to be at least to user documentation—and preferably to third-party reviews of the software.

The User's Guides have not yet been updated for Retrospect 15.  There are downloadable documents on this website that purport to be User's Guides for the new versions, but a glance at their first pages reveals them to be copies of the UGs for Retrospect Windows 12 and Retrospect Mac 14. 

There are, however, new non-marketing Knowledge Base articles on the main new features of Retrospect 15—features listed in this press release.  The problem is that Knowledge Base articles tend to be very nuts-and-bolts, are frequently separated into articles for each provider—such as the new ones on e-mail backup and the older ones on Cloud backup, and do not include all new features—as for example the absence of articles that discuss the new "Storage Predictions" section of the Dashboard and that discuss certain older features whose discussion in "What's New" chapters was simply overwritten in later versions of the UGs (because they didn't fit neatly into nuts-and-bolts KB articles).  If you want to see the effects of that approach, look at the references for the "Enterprise client-server backup" section of the "Backup" Wikipedia article; from #19 through #69, they are mostly single-use ones to individual nuts-and-bolts articles (not very informative for WP purposes) for two backup server applications other than Retrospect—applications which have taken the KB approach and do not seem to have comprehensive UGs.

DovidBenAvraham has therefore decided to take a stand on the progressive destruction of the Retrospect User's Guides.  As the P.P.S. for this post shows, it wouldn't take much effort for Retrospect Inc.'s august Documentation Committee to move former "What's New" items into other chapters of the UGs.  That would make room for a new Retrospect 15 "What's New" chapter that includes, and amplifies on, the information in the latest press release.  Alternatively, because the Committee seems to be awaiting a comprehensive revision of the UGs that is always somewhere in the indefinite future, the Committee could in the mean time add a "What Was New" chapter after the "What's New" chapter—and that way put back in the "What's New" items that were in the UGs for Retrospect Windows 10 through 12 (and Retrospect Mac 12 through 14).

That doesn't mean that someone else can't update the Wikipedia articles; anyone can easily become a WP editor.  But whoever does that is going to have to contend with the difficulties that DBA encountered over the last six months, so beware.  If someone on the Documentation Committee is thinking about doing that, I think it would turn out to be a lot less trouble for him/her to update the User's Guides—and leave the WP editing of Retrospect-related articles to DBA.

P.S.: For updating the Retrospect User's Guides, I suggest the Committee consider as an alternative the "hire a spouse" approach.  In my last applications programming job, one of my immediate bosses temporarily moved with his family from Greater Melbourne in Australia to New Jersey.  My boss's wife, who needed to be at home because their daughter was still in grade school, ended up being the part-time User's Guide writer for our complicated application product.  She is quite literate, and although not a trained technical writer had no doubt been hearing from her husband for years about our application; she did just fine.

P.P.S.: Besides the deficiencies as Wikipedia references of the three new Knowledge Base articles alluded to in the fifth paragraph of this post, DovidBenAvraham is worried about the return of a problem that occurred a year before the strong-arming that led to the massive rewrite recounted in the OP.  In October 2016 another WP editor tagged the article (see its top) for three deficiencies, the last of which was "This article relies too much on references to primary sources."  DBA subsequently worked hard to cut down on the number of discrete Retrospect Inc. sources used;  as I write this the count is 13 primary sources vs. 10 secondary sources.  Adding the three new Knowledge Base articles as references would bring the count to 16 primary sources vs. 10 secondary sources, which might cause another WP editor to reinstate that tag—probably permanently.  By contrast, doing the move of non-transient (i.e., not describing new-version improvements in speed/capacity) items that were in the "What's New" chapters of the User's Guides for Retrospect Windows 10 through 12 (and Retrospect Mac 12 through 14) to other chapters—as suggested in the sixth paragraph of this post—would enable DBA to cut the count to 10 primary sources vs. 10 secondary sources.

P.P.P.S.: DovidBenAvraham and I realize that the Retrospect Inc. Documentation Committee must be sorely tempted to delay the comprehensive rewrite of the User's Guides until the Retrospect Web Console is released.  But, as the post I linked to in the preceding sentence points out, the Web Console is not going to be released with two-way functionality until September 2018 at the earliest—and IMHO probably not until March 2019.  Assuming that any GUI nut-and-bolts will remain in Knowledge Base articles, the item moves and additions described in the sixth paragraph of this post would be totally separate from later changes made necessary by the introduction of the Web Console—so the Documentation Committee should make those U.G. moves and additions now.

P.P.P.P.S.: The fact is that the Knowledge Base articles for two out of the three new features referenced in this announcement that Dovid BenAvraham would like to put into the Wikipedia articles (he must regretfully exclude the Web Console—because it probably won’t exist as a non-preview control-capable feature until March 2019—and  Data Hooks—because they are simply implementation details of “High-level/long-term reports supplementing the Administration Console[“ in the “Backup” article) are deficient from a marketing perspectiveFor instance this KB article has a “Wake-on-LAN”  section, but I got Tech Support’s QA team to admit in Support Case  #50941 on 30 September 2016 that Wake-on-LAN doesn’t work for non-Proactive scripts—at least if the clients being backed up using Retrospect Mac 12 are Macs.  If this problem has now been fixed in Retrospect 15, that fact—difficult as it may be for Retrospect Inc. to admit after nearly 9 years of inaction—should go into the User’s Guides so that DovidBenAvraham can again refer to that feature.  Moreover this KB article doesn’t explicitly say that “Remote Backup” works between computers that are not on the same LAN or WAN.  Assuming that this actually a new feature (one of the announced  “What’s New” features in Retrospect Mac 14, "LTFS Production Tool Support”, appears to have already been in Retrospect for several major releases), then it is a great advance—and possibly an industry first.  DovidBenAvraham would love to mention that, but he can’t do it without a reference that says it—to do so would be considered the Wikipedia no-no Original Research.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
P.P.S. DBA fears adding 3 new KB articles as sources would cause permanent tagging of "Retrospect" article as "relies too much ... primary sources"; P.P.P.S make U.G. moves&additions unrelated to Web Console _now_; P.P.P.P.S. articles marketing-deficient

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Today Retrospect Inc. has replaced the contents of the downloadable "Retrospect 15 User's Guides" with documents that actually say "Retrospect 15  xxxxxxx User's Guide" on the title page.  However these are IMHO a step backward.  The "What's New" chapters in both UGs have been replaced with single paragraphs that duplicate the content of the light-gray page near the start of this sales document, without even the links to the additional detail in other new sales documents—much less the contents of those documents.  In the process, following the custom for the preceding two major versions of Retrospect, the previous version's contents of the "What's New" chapters has been overlaid without being moved anyplace else

The creation of these new UGs must IMHO represent about 15 minutes work by a senior Retrospect Inc. manager.  Needless to say, they are totally useless for Wikipedia article references by DovidBenAvraham.

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There is one item in the Retrospect Windows 15 User's Guide that is a useful reference for DovidBenAvraham, but it may not be the item that Retrospect Inc. management would like to be mentioned in the Wikipedia "Retrospect (software)" article.  That item is the "spring surprise" (a macabre joke by Monty Python)  in the Release Notes.  It reads, with the word "Note" in never-before-used yellow, "Note: In a future update, Linux clients running on server-level Linux distributions will be treated as server clients".

That means—in DBA's opinion and mine—that, in a future Retrospect update, administrators whose only server clients run Linux  will no longer be able to get away with licensing the Desktop Edition.  Instead they will have to license a Server Edition, at a substantially-higher price.  Given that Retrospect Inc. considered this Note important enough to include it in the Release Notes, even though it reflects a planned rather than current feature/fix, DBA has amended the parenthesized phrase in the second sentence of this section of the article.

DBA didn't even have to add a new reference to the article.  He was already using the Release Notes as the reference for the Retrospect Windows Dashboard in the last sentence of this section of the article, and the Release Notes are a separate cumulative document on the Retrospect Inc. website.  Therefore all he had to do was to add the Retrospect versions—including embedded decimal points—as "page numbers", and the contents of the new release note as an additional quotation.  For the information of those readers who might be interested in writing their own Wikipedia software articles or in editing this one, DBA discovered in September 2017 that Wikipedia allows you to use any string beginning with a digit—even one followed by alphabetic/period/space characters—as a comma-delimited "page number" in the "pages=" parameter of a reference—with an explanation of the "page number" following it in parentheses before the comma.

P.S.: JohnInDC insisted on taking out the amendment of the parenthesized phrase mentioned in the last sentence of this post's second paragraph, saying "wait until it happens".  However in place of the amendment DBA snuck in a reference to the Release Notes; the reference actually quotes the Note that warns of the future Edition upgrade requirement for administrators backing up server-level Linux distributions.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
P.S. recounting JohnInDC's refusing to allow mention of future change in WP article, along with DBA's riposte

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17 hours ago, DavidHertzberg said:

"Note: In a future update, Linux clients running on server-level Linux distributions will be treated as server clients".

It'll be interesting to see how they will define what are 'server-level Linux distributions'.

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A sneaky way around this future Retrospect Inc. pricing change would be to define the disk(s) of a Linux  server as network share(s) to the "backup server", and then back them up that way—not as a Linux client.  The rest of the time the Linux server could be doing its server duties. 

I realize that I don't know much about network shares or Windows, as is evidenced by my failing to catch haggis999's error that Scillonian caught in this post.  And I also realize from this dittberner@dbr3.de post that anyone using the workaround would have to supplement the frequent backup of the Linux server disk(s) as shares with some other form of occasional backup, in order to copy file metadata like ACLs and file flags correctly.  But IMHO that might be worthwhile in order to save a substantial amount of money on Retrospect licensing.

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The venerable TidBits.com Mac website has now enabled DovidBenAvraham to update the Wikipedia article "Retrospect (software)".  It did so by publishing a short article by Agen Schmitz entitled "Retrospect 15.0" on 19 March.  Although it omits any technical details, the Schmitz article provides the necessary overview of two out of the three new features that DBA felt he could put into the Wikipedia article.  The new feature Schmitz's article leaves out is "Remote Backup", but the Knowledge Base article itself supplies the fact that the feature cannot be used for scheduled Backup (as opposed to Proactive) scripts—so that DBA decided he could let that KB article stand alone as a reference.

The other thing that made this feasible was DBA's discovery that, extending the trick described in the last sentence of the last paragraph of this post, Wikipedia allows using a string beginning with the '#' character—e.g. "#Top Articles " without the quotes—as a comma-delimited "page number" in the "pages=" parameter of a reference.  The trick allowed him to have a single reference to the Knowledge Base, used repeatedly, with an explanation of the "page number" following it in parentheses—e.g. "(BackupBot – Deep Dive into ProactiveAI, How to Set Up Remote Backup)"  without the quotes—before the comma.  This meant that DBA was actually able to reduce the number of primary sources by one.  The current count is 12 primary sources and 11 secondary sources.

However calling the Schmitz article on Retrospect 15.0 a secondary source is a bit of a stretch; Tidbits calls it a "watchlist" item, and it is obviously pretty much a copy of the Retrospect Inc. press release.  And not too accurate a copy either.  Schmitz mentions the BackupBot feature—which is a UI detail that DBA omitted—without mentioning the Proactive "AI" feature (although his article links to the rather-technical  Knowledge Base article explaining it) that is much more fundamental.  Schmitz also leaves out any mention of the fact that the new Solo Edition can backup and restore up to two e-mail accounts, so DBA had to leave that fact out of the article.  Let's hope that, when Schmitz finally does some testing of Retrospect Mac 15, he writes a more comprehensive review that DBA can substitute as a reference.

DBA will update the Wikipedia "Backup" article's "Enterprise client-server backup" section in the next couple of days.  The problem there is that in his opinion only one of the three new applicable Retrospect 15 features qualifies as an "enterprise" feature: "Remote Backup".  And even putting that in is going to be tricky, because it appears neither of the other two applications referenced in that section has the feature.

P.S.: Put in a parenthetical note in third paragraph: Schmitz links to the KB article explaining the Proactive AI algorithm, but his article doesn't say that the algorithm and BackupBot only apply to Proactive scripts.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Added P.S.: Schmitz links to KB article about Proactive AI algorithm, but doesn't use the word "Proactive" in the article.

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