[sf-lug] Backups are important

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Nov 21 12:38:40 PST 2007

Quoting Jason Turner (jturner at nonzerosums.org):

> *There* you go.  

Yr. very welcome.

> As for reading things and conducting your own research and all... well
> rest assured I'm a big fan of that ancient method.  No really, that
> *was* sarcasm.  However, in the *context* of this thread you'd have to
> go waaaay back to my first message in which I said, among other
> things,
> "I'd love to hear from more people about the solution(s) they use."

A reasonable hope, and it can work in a pinch.  ;->  My own economic
situation was so dire during the technical economic collapse that I
couldn't afford to replace broken tape drives, and made due with what I
had, which wasn't much.  (As I said, rsync over networks is really cool.  
See also:  "Copying Directory Trees" on http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Admin/ .)

I really need to get around to fixing that, as my current backup
situation, after multiple rounds of sundry craziness and moving of 
my residence, has become woeful -- and I'll just leave it at that.  The
old line about the "cobbler's children going barefoot" can only go so
far, as an excuse.

One is often not in a place to give useful answers to the "What solution
do you use?" question, but that doesn't mean one cannot offer useful
information of a more-general nature.  In fact, please consider -- if you
will -- the surrounding problem of how to most effectively give back
to the body of technical lore from which one has benefited, earlier.
How do you help _many_ people understand what they're doing with this
technology -- as opposed to just assisting one stranger at a time
arriving with his/her distinctive one-off problem, for free?

My own general approach to that problem was to start writing and
accumulating catalogues of things and miscellaneous documentation of 
_general_ solutions, HTMLising them, and eventually parking them in my
PerlHoo-driven knowledgebase, http://linuxmafia.com/kb/ .

(If you don't mind occasional sharp-edged humour, that also spills over
into my personal space:  Some people enjoy
http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/faq/ and
http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/lexicon.html .)

Anyway, because my aim is not to do free-of-charge helpdesk support to
the greatest possible number of total strangers within my lifetime, but
rather to help build and rebuild a community's mastery of technology and
its ability to pass on that understanding to others in their turn, I put
higher priority on helping people who seem likely to _also_ participate
in that technical community -- those who at least show willingness to
properly understand rather than just slurp down and use canned solutions
from others.

I have nothing against anyone else being willing to spend his/her
rapidly diminishing lifetimes being an unpaid personal servant to
strangers possesing "mere user mindsets" (Riley's phrase) -- but it's
just not my kink.

Incidentally, just as a possibly amusing tidbit:  I've long had a
running gag with customers of using the phrase "restore system" instead
of "backup system".  It's perhaps somewhat silly, but the underlying
serious point is that a "backup system" that's not proven to reliably
restore useful, uncorrupted, complete data is arguably _worse_ than
useless:  Before implementing it, you knew you were exposed to risk.
After, you have the same risk but are falsely convinced it's been

More information about the sf-lug mailing list