This article describes how to create a Time Capsule replacement for Apple Time Machine Backups using any Ubuntu 20.04 running computer. We use Ubuntu server distro for this but you should be able do this on your desktop as well.

We assume you have your Ubuntu in a working condition. We also recommend you to use one drive for the boot and another for the backup data.

Let’s get going:

First install Netatalk and Avahi:

sudo apt install netatalk avahi-daemon

Netatalk is a Open Source AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) fileserver. Avahi enables you to use service discovery on a local network via the mDNS/DNS-SD protocol suite. It is compatible with Apple MacOS X Bonjour / Zeroconf.

Now edit netatalk config:

sudo vi /etc/netatalk/afp.conf

Add this (you may change the path to your liking):

  path = /mnt/timemachine
  time machine = yes

Save the file and exit (:w and :q)

Create the directory (please, match the path in the last step; if you need to mount a partition do it after the first row)

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/timemachine

sudo chown nobody:nogroup /mnt/timemachine

sudo chmod 777 /mnt/timemachine

The final step is to restart the netatalk service:

sudo service netatalk restart

Now, you should be able to use this network share with your Mac. Open the Time Machine settings in System Preferences and use “Select Disk…” to pick your newly created Time Machine backup share.