[clug] Debian Sarge or Ubuntu for a server?

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Wed Jun 15 04:52:07 GMT 2005

On 15 Jun 2005, at 14:03, Stephen Granger wrote:

> Do a full system backup of the live system. Use a rescue CD to boot  
> and
> build partition, add boot loader, restore entire system

I have a mixture of options here - I have a CD that I build using the  
bootcd package in Debian. This allows me to boot a system using our  
tweaked kernel (to support nVidia nForce 2 chipset that wasn't  
supported by Debian installers at the time). This will bring up the  
machine sans /home (it's NFS mounted on most machines).

The /home and /var/spool/... directories are backed up using rsync  
(actually SnapBack2) to various other machines. So we have up-to-date  
copies of mail spool, users' home directories, /etc and so forth.  
Note that I do not advocate replacing the installed /etc/ - it's best  
to make the (hundred? thousand?) changes by hand so you don't go  
clobbering important new configuration parameters or comments that  
have arrived since you last installed the host system.

The recovery process then becomes:
1) Find candidate host hardware
2) Boot from bootcd (which has every known IDE chipset compiled in,  
and is compiled for 386)
3) Use bootcdwrite to install to the target system
4) Once target system is booting from its own hard drive, recover  
data (/home, /var/spool/...)
5) Make changes/additions to /etc/ as required
6) Compile new kernel specific to this hardware

I have not yet found a reliable way to maintain my own configuration  
along with the updates (more comments, new config options) that  
suddenly appear in the files installed by the Debian packages during  
upgrades. If anyone knows of a better method than spending a few  
hours reading all the /etc/.../*.dpkg-new for necessary changes, I'd  
love to hear it!

I use bootcd because:
1) It is non-interactive (start it up, run bootcdwrite and leave, no  
selecting language/keyboard/yadda yadda)
2) It is stand-alone (don't need to have the machine connected to the  
3) Can be used as a "live CD"


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