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Old 09-07-2005, 03:47 PM   #1
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Best Distro - Snapshots, restoring, and upgrades

Greetings all,

I am a relative n00b to Linux, but I'll tried virtually all the major distros and many offshoots. I would like to spend more time in Linux at home and at work, but I have two last hurdles to overcome. Namely, I need to figure out if there is a specific distro or package which will allow me to restore quickly if I break something during an upgrade. I use Mepis and other Debian-based distros, and I am about to try PCLinuxOS, but I am afraid that I will continue to break things as I do now, because it takes too long to recover. If I try to take Mepis from KDE 3.2 to 3.4, for example, I risk hosing my system (I know some have done it, but this is just an example).

Is there a system that helps protect against "failed" upgrades? I mean, something beyond apt's dependency-checking?

As a sidenote, my other hurdle would be to find a gui-based snapshot capability like rsync which would allow me to backup a PC and create incrementals which could be selected for quick restore later.

Old 09-07-2005, 03:58 PM   #2
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in my experience, the system has always been restorable(maybe with a rm -fr / it might not be) . You would just use the boot disk to repair,copy, etc. I deleted the kernel a long time ago by i just used the one off of the orig cd to boot up the system.

Upgrading kde shouldn't hose the computer regardless.

I know this doesn't answer ur question, but people are only too ready to reinstall when you don't have to.

I also think quite a few distros have rollbacks available after upgrades. Take a look here.

Last edited by bosewicht; 09-07-2005 at 04:02 PM.
Old 09-07-2005, 04:20 PM   #3
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Maybe just use PartImage?
Old 09-07-2005, 11:36 PM   #4
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If you break the system you get to keep all the pieces.

No, there isn't really an idiot proof Linux, but the more times you break your system the more you learn from it. Backup, backup, and backup.

Upgrades are always a tad risky, but the more you do it the easier it becomes and you'll learm how to avoid the "dumb" mistakes that break the system.

Did I mention backups?

I've never cared for distros that automatically make config changes as those changes are the biggest source of problems during upgrades. When doing any upgrade, be vary stingy about allowing any changes to your config files.
Old 09-08-2005, 10:39 AM   #5
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I know this isn't exactly the "fastest way" ... imaging software is much faster, but I use a simple archive file. Basically it works and that's all that matters.

Restored my whole system last night in about an hour, including every installed applicaiton.

cd /
tar cvpzf backup.tgz / --exclude=/proc --exclude=/lost+found --exclude=/backup.tgz --exclude=/mnt --exclude=/sys
That creates the backup file in a nice compressed format. (If you get an error at the end, you can safely ignore it).


Reinstall the OS from CD/Download/Whatever. Then copy the backup.tgz file into root ( / ).

cd /

 tar xvpfz backup.tgz -C /
Wait patiently. When done, reboot and poof! back to normal.
Old 09-08-2005, 04:20 PM   #6
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These are all great solutions, thanks. They definitely help out in the backup/image department, and the transactional rollback looks like it is close to what I need. I hope they've improved the process and auto deleted the rollback packages after a rollback, though. I must admit, the "System Restore" feature in XP is very handy when you install/uninstall as much as I do!


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