[sf-lug] Backups are important

Asheesh Laroia asheesh at asheesh.org
Wed Nov 21 01:10:56 PST 2007

On Tue, 20 Nov 2007, Rick Moen wrote:

> Quoting Kristian Erik Hermansen (kristian.hermansen at gmail.com):
>> However, the problem comes when someone's Xorg config breaks, for
>> instance, and they have no way of restoring it (because the GUI is all
>> they know).  So, maybe someone could hack a boot-kernel dedicated to
>> when your machine gets b0rked, which possibly relies on TimeVault
>> snapshots.
> Bingo.  This is why "I need my backup software to be 100% graphical" is
> the sure sign of someone who hasn't bothered to think through the
> restore process.

Rick, with all due respect, I don't agree.

It's easy enough to have backup software that says:

"In case of emergency on your main drive, where you think your backup 
drive still works, do these steps:

1. Plug your backup drive into someone else's computer
2. Run our graphical backup tool to browse your bacukps' content

If you're satisfied with them, here's how to restore:

(If you're not satisfied with the backups you made, then you didn't back 
up everything you wanted.  How tragic.)

1. Install Ubuntu on your computer (or new drive)
2. Run our graphical backup tool that includes a restore option
3. If you want a total restore, click here and we'll handle that
    [e.g., by running a script at next reboot that restores /, and by
    restoring /home right now]; otherwise browse your files and
    drag-and-drop the files or folders you want to restore

That's easy for GUI users and it's just as effective, if more long-winded 
and time-consuming, than an analogous command-line restore operation.

So Rick, tell me what's wrong with GUIs, then?  Just that they're a waste 
of time?  Lots of people seem to prefer to spend their time clicking a 
mouse to typing commands in faster, and it seems reasonable enough to let 
them spend their time that way if it makes them happier.

>> And in terms of backup software...
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_backup_software
> Tape backup software for Linux:
> http://linuxmafia.com/pub/linux/backup/  (Note amusingly retro index
> file "00index.txt".)

Nice file.  I'll mention that you mention Amanda, a commercial fork of 
which gave a talk at BALUG recently!

> (I've heard all the standard objections to tape, so, people, please don't
> post them for my benefit.  Also, please peruse
> http://baheyeldin.com/technology/why-tapes-are-still-the-most-efficient-backup-method.html .)

I'm happy to explain why I'm happy with my remote hard disk + rsync backup 
setup from other people on the list who are interested in such setups; as 
Rick isn't one and it's his message I'm replying to, I'll leave it to 
others to ask.

-- Asheesh.

The nice thing about egotists is that they don't talk about other people.
 		-- Lucille S. Harper

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