[lug] fork from network drives as backup

Bear Giles bgiles at coyotesong.com
Fri Jul 28 16:39:26 MDT 2006

Lee Woodworth wrote:

>What are you defining as fixed and variable? I assume this distinction
>is related to package upgrades and preserving config settings.
"Fixed" is anything that should never be touched by anything other than 
the package manager.  Executables, libraries, man pages, etc.

"Variable" is anything that can be touched by the sysadmin or users.  
Configuration files (/etc), spools (/var/spool), per-app data 
(/var/postgres), etc.

Sometimes it's a judgement call, but it's usually fairly clear-cut.  
It's easy to require unpackaged software go under '/opt'.  But what 
about unpackaged fonts?

I think my prototype required wel under a dozen entries below the top 
level directories to fully characterize my system.

There's also /var/cache, which contains data that can be (presumably) 
retrieved or regenerated at will, so there's no need to back it up.  (It 
usually is, of course.)  Debian stores the installed package information 
in /var/lib, but the cached packages downloaded from repositories in 

Spools, incidently, are a real can of worms.  If you back them up, you 
risk re-sending/re-printing sensitive or embarassing information.  If 
you don't back them up, you risk losing information.

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