Re: scripts for portable, incremental backups to external disk (or DVD)

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M. Fioretti wrote:

I have started to rethink from scratch my backup procedures
and would like your suggestion on how to do what follows.

I want to write a script that makes total or incremental backups
(depending on a command line switch) of selected directories
of my computer on an external USB drive so that the drive
content looks like, for example:

20070809_complete            (complete backup of all selected

20070810_incr                 (hard links to save space to the
                               files in the last _complete folder
                               plus copies of all files on the
                               PC created or changed since previous

20070812_incr                  same structure as 20070810_incr


Personally, I like backuppc running over the network from some other machine to do this grunge work automatically, but if you only have one machine I'd looke at rdiff-backup.

(a complete backup would be 8+ GB of stuff)

These days you can get USB drives based on laptop hard drives that go up to 250 gigs and don't need external power.

I know, or can figure out by myself, how to put together the basis of this
with rsync. What I would like feedback on is about the best, that is
fastest and most reliable, Fedora-compatible ways to:

create something that is completely readable with any operating system
(including hidden files, links, long file names...): what if I need to
recover files from there from a friend's Mac or Windows laptop? This is
a filesystem question, so how would I format/ (re) create it?

With backuppc this happens automatically because you can access it through a web interface to browse and download files - but you need network access to the server. With portable drives it will be hard to both maintain all attributes and be able to read it on anything. FAT-formatted USB drives are the only thing that will work across linux/windows/mac and like CD/DVD filesystems, it won't maintain all the attributes unless you write tar archives that will make it harder to access and keep rsync from working.

check periodically, as quickly as possible, that everything is still
intact, that is that no single files or links etc... have been damaged.

Rsync will do this, if the disk format lets you use it.

Now a couple of OT question, answers to these are much better sent off list.

1) What about reliability of hard disk versus DVD based backups?
   Links to relevant reading are welcome.

Keep several copies, regardless. Maybe your best solution is to use an ext3 USB drive as the main backup, preserving attributes and do separate DVDs or VFAT disks for the files you might want to use elsewhere. Or if you have internet access to a remote machine, rsync over ssh works nicely, with or without backuppc driving it.

2) Any positive or negative feedback about Lacie external USB 2.0 drives?
   (the store at the corner has an offer on the 300968E model...)

The worst thing about portable drives is the power connector for the ones that need external power. If you plan to move it around, I'd recommend one of the new laptop-drive based versions that run off USB power, or a flash based version if you only need 8 gigs.

  Les Mikesell

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