[sf-lug] My final comment on "Does anyone have a good backup strategy for Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty)?"

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Sep 10 12:55:37 PDT 2007

Quoting RBV (GoodWriter2548 at earthlink.net):

> Whatever Ghost's liabilities as a paid product, the program's ability to
> image a complete, multi-partition, dual-boot *disk* apparently has no
> counterpart in Linux.

I don't do MS-Windows if I don't have to, and avoid dual-boot like...
cliches... but have you looked at Partimage?  

NTFS support is apparently reliable if NTFS system files aren't very
fragmented (e.g., you defrag before backing up) and you aren't using the
compressed filesystem option.  (You'd know, if you were doing that.)
Moreover, the author's error-trapping is good enough that, if there _is_
a problem backing up an NTFS filesystem, e.g., because you forgot to
defrag and your "C: drive" is messed up, then Partimage shows an error
message and doesn't let you proceed.


> That is to say that Linux's file-based backup strategy may be most
> useful for Linux-only computers.

It's smarter.  Saves much time, saves much space.  But that's not
"Linux's" strategy.

> Having said that, I'll note that all of the various discussions about
> Linux backup I've located -- including the one I started on this
> mailing list -- immediately acquire discussions if not disagreements
> about what files, exactly, can and cannot be safely incorporated into
> the list of backed up files.

"Safely"?  I doubt that.

By that word, it's possible that you mean "with reasonable assurance
that -- taking into account the files you include and the one you
exclude -- you've captured everything that you wouldn't miss".  That's
definitely a concern.  However, if you don't know where the files are on
your system that you'd miss if, e.g., the hard drive fails, then you
actually have bigger problems than just backup, and need to fix that as
a high-priority item, anyway.

And it's not like it's difficult to know what matters:  Unless you've
severely screwed up your system, as a _desktop_ user your non-root login
has files only under your home directory, _maybe_ /opt, _maybe_
/var/mail or /var/spool/mail.  Your root login (or sudo-augmented
regular user) has files under /root, /opt (if any), /usr/local (if any),
and maybe some subdirectories of /var/lib and /usr/{lib|share} in very
rare cases.

As a server user, your root login has those directories plus maybe
/var/www (or wherever your Web server document root is).

All such systems have local system configuration in /etc, so make a
tarball snapshot of that for reference.  (It'll be tiny.)

> As such, my research has convinced me that Linux could very much benefit
> from a user-friendly, robust tool or mechanism for backing up and restoring
> ("cloning") disks.

Sounds like Partimage.

I personally have no use for it, but you might like it.

And there are others.  I note also: 

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