Defying Murphy's Laws
|Revision 1.0||2001-06-12||Revised by:|
|Initial release using docbook sgml.|
You have just completed installing your own Linux system. You have just made an upgrade to your existing Linux system. You are happy with the first few checkouts and usage experience. You want to make sure you will enjoy this system in spite of any damage which may occur later because of any unexpected "faux pas".
It is a good idea to keep a snapshot of the new system, so that you can be assured that in the event of any misfortune with your Linux installation, you can always recover without any permanent damage. This checklist will help you with precautionary steps you must take, as soon as you complete installation of Linux. It is a sequel to the GNU/Linux pre-installation checklist, and a companion to the official Linux Installation HOWTO. This checklist also contains a Section 3 which will automate the process of making a snapshot of your system.
This document is copyrighted (c) 2001 Algologic Research & Solutions and is distributed under the terms of the Linux Documentation Project (LDP) license, stated below.
Unless otherwise stated, Linux HOWTO documents are copyrighted by their respective authors. Linux HOWTO documents may be reproduced and distributed in whole or in part, in any medium physical or electronic, as long as this copyright notice is retained on all copies. Commercial redistribution is allowed and encouraged; however, the author would like to be notified of any such distributions.
All translations, derivative works, or aggregate works incorporating any Linux HOWTO documents must be covered under this copyright notice. That is, you may not produce a derivative work from a HOWTO and impose additional restrictions on its distribution. Exceptions to these rules may be granted under certain conditions; please contact the Linux HOWTO coordinator at the address given below.
In short, we wish to promote dissemination of this information through as many channels as possible. However, we do wish to retain copyright on the HOWTO documents, and would like to be notified of any plans to redistribute the HOWTOs.
No liability for the contents of this documents can be accepted. Use the concepts, examples and other content at your own risk. As this is a new edition of this document, there may be errors and inaccuracies, that may of course be damaging to your system. Proceed with caution, and although this is highly unlikely, the author(s) do not take any responsibility for that.
All copyrights are held by their respective owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.
Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.
You are strongly recommended to make a backup of your system before major installation and continue to do so at regular intervals.
To enjoy your new Linux installation forever without any worries, it is important to take a few simple precautions. You must do these as soon as you complete installing Linux on your machine for the first time.
Create a boot diskette and a rescue diskette. Utilities for creating these diskettes are available along with your Linux distribution.
If you are the paranoid type (like me), you can make two copies of each of these diskettes. Diskettes are notorious for failing when they are most needed.
Test out your boot diskette. Make sure you can boot into Linux using the boot diskette. Remember Murphy's Laws may strike at you just when you least expect.
Checkout thoroughly your new system. Try all major packages.
Try out the X windows system, and the desktop, and the windows manager, if you have installed these.
Try out the connection to your LAN, and to the Internet.
Create at least one "non-root" account, for testing and debugging your installation. Perform ALL the above checkouts once again, using the non-root account you created.
Join a local Linux Users Group (LUG). You must find out if there is a LUG close by. If there is none, start an informal LUG yourself, in your neighbourhood, your campus, your city, or your town.
Join one or more mailing lists for Linux updates and news. There are literally hundreds of them.
Register yourself and your machine in the worldwide Linux Users Counter.
And finally...Download the Section 3 and run it. Make a safe copy (on a removable medium) of the directory: /root/postinfo which the script will create. You may also like to make a printout of the summary report /root/postinfo/summary created by the shell script.
You must run this shell script: as soon as you have installed Linux for the first time, and after every major revision or upgrade to your Linux system. You can also set up the script as a cron job, so that it runs itself periodically and automatically. This will avoid you a lost of hassles later, in case something gets messed up later.
The shell script (shivalik Ver. 1.0) is a convenient way to make backups of essential files and information. After downloading the script:
Make sure that you have logged in as "root"
Save the script in a directory with "root" permissions, say /root/myscript
Change to that directory i.e. cd /root/myscript use gunzip to unzip the script i.e gunzip ./shivalik.gz
IMPORTANT: You must read the warning given at the end of the script. Proceed with the next steps, only if you agree to the conditions specified in the warning...
To execute the script: You must make the script executable (by root only) chmod 700 ./shivalik
Verify that the paths of the various files which are to be saved, are correct and conform to your installation.
You can execute the script correctly only if you are "root" (many of the files being saved need root permissions).
Now you can execute (run) the above script (remember you must be "root", to do this) -- type ./shivalik
Remember, the shivalik script is not a tool for complete backup and recovery. Ideally, the best thing to do would be to make a verbatim copy of your entire Linux installation along with all files and directories. This is not always possible, necessary, or advisable. The next best thing would be to take a backup of the most essential information and files. The shivalik script achieves this for you. The script creates a directory called /root/postinfo/, and stores all essential information (and files) there. To be absolutely prepared for any eventuality, you must copy the entire /root/postinfo/ on a removable medium, as soon as the script is executed.
Recovery and Repair: In the event of any problems later, you can reconstruct the damaged files by copying the files you have backed up in the /root/postinfo/ directory. It is as simple as that.
The structure of the /root/postinfo/ directory, and files found within, will be as follows:
Contains a summary report of the status of your system (memory, partitions, mount points, disk usage). This file also has the list of files which have been saved. It also contains admin info like date and time of backup, shivalik version number etc.
Contains a copy of the earlier postinfo (if any). This is a fall back to a fall back!
Contains a gzipped structured listing of ALL files and directories of your Linux system (the directories "tree"). You can unzip this file and use any plain text editor to know the location of any file. Of course, you cannot retrieve the contents of that file unless you had saved it explicitly elsewhere.
This is a copy of the shivalik script which was used for making the post install backup. At the time of recovery after an incident, you can always examine this script to know how the backup was done earlier. You will always have a consistent copy of the script and the files created by the script.
This subdirectory contains a copy of many essential files from the /etc/ directory of your Linux installation. It also contains copies of the various configuration files stored in the /etc/ directory.
This subdirectory contains a copy of some essential files (those which are not in the /etc/ directory) of your Linux installation. If you want, you can add any other files here, and get it saved automatically with others.