Backup utility in linux

Charles Mauch cmauch at
Sat Jul 9 07:39:08 UTC 2005

This one time, in band camp, Sam Hiser said:

>3rd-party backup tools have typically been viewed from a Unix context
>with mild derision.  That's because it would be fairly easy to search
>the web and find a few answers to using tar and cron, among other
>commands, to do backups to various remote machines, folders or different
>I know it's the command line, but once you wade in, you'll see that it's
>not so unfriendly -- and backup is a great way to get started.

I created a bash script about 5 years ago that I still use to backup my
important configuration files and Documents nightly.  Then I use rsync to
copy anything that's changed to one of my servers.


tar -vc ~/.ssh ~/.smime ~/Documents/thawte.cert.p12 | gpg --encrypt -r \
${KEYID} > ~/backup/certsandkeys.tar.gpg
tar -vc ~/scripts | gpg --encrypt -r ${KEYID} > ~/backup/scripts.tar.gpg
tar -vc ~/Documents | gpg --encrypt -r ${KEYID} > ~/backup/Documents.tar.gpg
tar -vc ~/.email | gpg --encrypt -r ${KEYID} > ~/backup/email.tar.gpg
tar -vc ~/.muttrc ~/.muttngrc ~/.mutt ~/.abook ~/.fetchmailrc ~/.gaim \
~/.irssi ~/.silc ~/.vim | gpg --encrypt -r ${KEYID} > ~/backup/dotfiles.tar.gpg

rsync --cvs-exclude --progress -rltvz -e ssh ~/backup/* cmauch at gnu:~/backup

It's helped me survive the death throes of a hard disk, and a badly setup
gentoo system.  And because everything is encrypted, I'd feel safe placing
these backups on a public server somewhere.

Another backup solution I've seen VERY sucessfully implemented was to keep
an archive of your home directory stored in CVS.  If you do it right, you
can use CVS to keep similiar configs and documents in sync on entirely
different platforms.

I used this solution long ago, which was great until I ran out of diskspace
on my server.  :)

Take it easy, [cmauch at]

Charles Mauch, FSF Apologist, Debian/Ubuntu/Gentoo user, etc.
Every message PGP or S/MIME signed to verify authenticity.

Playing "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead (OK Computer)
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