dir/file previous versions

Daniel Pittman daniel at rimspace.net
Mon Feb 12 01:48:28 UTC 2007

"Michael W. Holdeman" <lists at ptfd.org> writes:


> Anyway, At one of my part-time jobs we have a couple of win2003
> servers and the administrator can right click on a folder and then
> restore previous versions of the folders or files. As far as I know
> this is on teh individual servers and not being mirrored off. Is there
> a simple way to do this in linux? 

Relatively speaking, yes.  The UI is different but the underlying
technologies are the same.

The "previous versions" you see above are actually volume snapshots at
the appropriate point in time.  The UI is just that, an polite way of
browsing them.

So, to achieve the same results on Linux you need two things -- an
ability to take snapshots of the volume and a mechanism to access them.

Snapshots are done through the LVM (Logical Volume Management) system;
access to them is most easily achieved by mounting the appropriate
volume into the Unix tree.

This does require some cooperation from the file system, to ensure that
it is in a consistent state when the snapshot happens; on Windows this
is available on NTFS but not, AFAIK, with FAT. :)

On Linux most of the common file systems should be fine; I know that
ext2, ext3 and XFS all support snapshots in some fashion -- even if I
had not made use of them.

> svn? a way to even do this on a desktop?  Anyone else doing this? I
> realize it does not take the place of a complete backup but it would
> be handy sometimes, like whan I accidently corrupt my foxbase files on
> my samba share with vmware etc...

Your best bet is to take a real backup. ;)

I would recommend, if possible, that you consider a solution like
"BackupPC" (which is packaged in Universe) for this job.

Anyhow, if you want snapshots you should learn LVM.  It does the job you
want.  Putting a friendly front end on it is certainly possible, but I
don't know if anyone has done so already.

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