Backup now Backup often

This article ( at linux haxor net ) has a neat cartoon ( always a plus ) and seems to be a good reference to using a command line to implement a backup. I have been considering how to make a backup for a customer and this really is timely. If I encounter ( or my customer encounters ) any problem I will report back here and update this. I find it hard to believe that I could find a problem with just tarring with the excludes that they specify. I will probably look into tarring it to one of my new external drives that I got specifically for backups. I think that it should easily handle this as the partition I am testing has 20G and the external has 300G. I think I will write a few scripts of my own to go with this that calculate the size of tar before starting, find out how many files are involved, and see if I can't do a little grep and sed magic to get rid of some junk in the process of the restore, or tar it and untar it on the external and clean it there, then reinstall clean on a new partition.

I am dreaming now I know, but maybe I can do some virus protection by making a mirror of my /sbin, /usr/bin, /boot/ config, cron, etc to compare with on CD boot to identify if anything has changed that I should be aware of. It seems a good time to make a safe stable system image and I can do it from a single click and make a neat XPM for it with SVG. I am dreaming of dancing sugar plum scripts now. Or maybe I will just tar it on the external and see if I run into somebody else who has already done the shiny backup. I think there is a GUI for it, but I don't like to use a program for something like this until I have gone through the source. If I decide anything else about backup I will add it here.

tar options description
Option Alternate Action performed Long Description of usage or example
-c --create create the archive use this option to create the backup archive
-x --extract extract the archive to a location Use this option when restoring the archive
-u --update add any changes
-r --append add to an existing archive
-v --verbose be very talkative about problems or actions This is self explanatory
-p --same-permissions keep the same attributes to be restored If the file is owned by root with executable attribute then keep that as well as any other flags
-z --gzip --gunzip --ungzip what type of compression to use
-f --file <file name> the file name will be specified
--help get help just help and also man tar can be used to view all the possible options
-C --directory change to this directory and perform action Use this when restoring to specify what directory for the base of the tree
--exclude= path to exclude from the archive These directories won't be included when making the archive and it would commonly be used to exclude temporary mount points, devices, previous backups in a directory, mounted volumes.

This link comes from "man tar" and has a great deal more discussion of the process and usage from the fine people at the Free Software Foundation. GNU. FSF. The documentation there was recently updated and has numerous formats to view and download full copies of the usage descriptions.

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