May 22, 2009

Linux Backup & Reinstall

Filed under: iotal,linux — SiKing @ 3:38 pm

Last week I spent some time playing with DreamLinux (again), trying to get it onto a thumb-drive / memory-stick / whatever-you-call-those-things (again). Dream hosed my system (again). This time I lost my swap?!?! I’m sorry guys, but that installer sucks! It’s just as well, there were a few changes that I had been wanting to do to my system anyways which would require a complete reinstall.

The procedure that I basically follow is:

  1. Backup home. You have to do this as root, so that hoses the ownership of all the files. I know there is a way to do it correctly and preserve the ownership, but it actually does not matter that much – see further below.
  2. Install the system wiping the drive(s) clean.
  3. Install critical updates. In the case of Mint I do only levels 1 and 2. I am running Mint 5, which is based on Ubuntu 8.04, so at this point I also install the top bugs from Ubuntu 8.04.2.
  4. Clean the system – remove things that you definitely do not want. Install restricted drivers.
  5. Create a second “administrator” account, log in to populate the home.
  6. Crete all other users, log in to each to populate their home. I have an (apparently) weird habit of putting all my users into the group “users” as opposed to the default group == username, and giving their home 700 permissions.
  7. Log in as the “administrator” and restore backups. Can’t restore (or backup for that matter) my own home when I am using it. I used to get around this by running a live-CD, but this seems like so much less work. Change owner and group of all the user’s files to themselves.
  8. Install all apps.
  9. Get my kids to install all games. 😆

There is one app that, IMHO, should get special attention: Eclipse. Eclipse has it’s own package management built in. I normally install Eclipse along with any plugins that I want through Synaptic, and then I “pin” them – lock that version – so that Synaptic or Mint Update will not try to update these. I then go into Eclipse – have to run it as root in this case – and update the whole thing from within Eclipse.


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