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#1 2019-12-01 06:11:52

LeftyAce
Member
Registered: 2012-08-18
Posts: 149

Backing up system customizations...enough to just back up /etc?

Hi all,

If I back up /etc, will that successfully captur all system customization (boot loader settings, full disk encryption in mkinitcpio.conf, firewall settings, etc)?
Put another way, with a "normal" arch install, are there customizable config files stored anywhere other than under /etc and in my home directory? I can't think of any off the top of my head...


Here's why I'm asking: I back up my system so that 1) I don't lose personal data in the event of hardware (or software update) failure, and 2) I can quickly recover from hardware (or software update) failure.

1) is covered by backing up my home directory. Fortunately the vast majority of the contents of that directory don't change (photos, movies, etc), so differential backups are fast and small.

2) I used to cover by backing up all of /, excluding /proc, /sys, and some other folders. This meant that every system upgrade resulted in a large and slow backup.

I'm starting to think that 2) is better handled by planning to do a reinstall, but keeping all of the config stuff so I don't have to remember how I customized it. Even better would be something that only backs up files that have been modified from their default values, but that I could live without.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

-Lefty

ps, I'm using rdiff-backup for now, but I'm debating whether I should switch to something like git for the /etc portion, to facilitate a more elegant merge with a freshly installed system.

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#2 2019-12-01 06:15:02

jasonwryan
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From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 28,151
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Re: Backing up system customizations...enough to just back up /etc?

boot loader settings are in /boot, not /etc.


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#3 2019-12-01 06:17:57

LeftyAce
Member
Registered: 2012-08-18
Posts: 149

Re: Backing up system customizations...enough to just back up /etc?

Grub settings (in /boot/grub.cfg) are defined by /etc/default/grub, and translated over into /boot by grub-mkconfig, are they not? So capturing /etc/default/grub would fully capture grub customization, wouldn't it?

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#4 2019-12-01 06:44:17

jasonwryan
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From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 28,151
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Re: Backing up system customizations...enough to just back up /etc?

No idea, I don't use grub. Most sane boot loaders use conf files in /boot.

Rod Smith wrote:

GRUB, which is about the most difficult-to-configure boot loader ever devised by human minds.

You can easily check, however, by diffing /etc/default/grub and whatever is in /boot...

Last edited by jasonwryan (2019-12-01 06:44:41)


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#5 2019-12-01 06:57:31

LeftyAce
Member
Registered: 2012-08-18
Posts: 149

Re: Backing up system customizations...enough to just back up /etc?

Touché :-)

I'm sticking with grub for now, for the highly rational reason that I've invested considerable pain figuring how to get it to do what I want.
Incidentally the diff suggestion doesn't work, because grub-mkconfig incorporates the settings in /etc/default/grub into /boot/grub/grub.cfg, but converts syntax in the process. Speaking of difficult-to-configure.

But on the topic of my original question, aside from the bootloader, /etc should cover it?

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#6 2019-12-01 07:09:47

jasonwryan
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From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 28,151
Website

Re: Backing up system customizations...enough to just back up /etc?

That and anything you have put in /usr/local (if there is) should be sufficient.


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#7 2019-12-01 17:38:14

glitsj16
Member
Registered: 2015-04-26
Posts: 58

Re: Backing up system customizations...enough to just back up /etc?

LeftyAce wrote:

2) I used to cover by backing up all of /, excluding /proc, /sys, and some other folders. This meant that every system upgrade resulted in a large and slow backup.

Are you using rsync to produce the backup? That should work incrementally and pretty fast, depending on how you set it up. You might have seen the relevant wiki pages already, but just in case you haven't, see the system backup and rsync entrees.

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