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Re: Does anyone use ZIP disks to backup/restore their system? How?


   I do not understand everything in the MSPLIT description, but
I am certainly willing to play around with it.  I'm surprised at
the few responses I got about my question.  I assumed lots of people
would be using ZIP disks for a backups/restores.

   This leads me to ask if most people just backup their important
files on linux, and if they lose their system, they reinstall from
scratch, then restore just their important (user modified) files?

   This is how I always worked on Windows 95.  If I had a builtin
CDROM, and linux was easier to install I might opt for this, but
on my Thinkpad 560, it took me 4-5 hours to get everything back.

   I still don't understand why I trashed my hard disk areas outside
of the /dev/hda5 partition, when trying to use cpio directly to try
to restore from the KBackup-Arc.arc files on my ZIP disks, that
multibuf and afio had problems with.

From: "E.L. Meijer \(Eric\)" <tgakem@sg10.chem.tue.nl>
To: debian <debian-user@lists.debian.org>
Subject: Re: Does anyone use ZIP disks to backup/restore their system? How?
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 13:29:38 +0100

On Tue, Nov 02, 1999 at 11:56:05AM +0100, Wouter Hanegraaff wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 02, 1999 at 02:11:09AM -0800, John Miskinis wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > I'm hoping to find a set of tools that will allow a linux system
> > to be backed up, and restored, using ZIP disks.  I would really
> > appreciate any advise on this subject, from anyone who has
> > successfully restored a system from a multi-volume set.
> I've heard taper can work with zipdisks.
> However, if you have enough disk space you can just use tar and split to
> make a splitted (and gzip'd) tarfile in /tmp, and then just copy the splits
> to your zipdisk.
[... description ...]

I wrote a little program that can do this without intermediate storage:

MSPLIT(1)     Dividing output over multiple volumes.    MSPLIT(1)

       msplit  -  a  utility to divide output over multiple flop­
       pies, zip disks, etc

       <command> | msplit <mount dir> <output>

       This manual page describes version 0.2 of msplit.

       Msplit reads data  from  the  standard  input  (usually  a
       pipe),  and  writes  it to files named <output>.num, where
       num is an increasing number, in a  directory  on  which  a
       removable  medium can be mounted.  Typical uses will be to
       distribute data over multiple floppies or zip disks.   You
       should  not  mount  anything  before  running the command.
       Msplit will ask the user to insert the  removable  volume,
       and  try to mount it with the command `mount <mount dir>'.
       Then it will open a file named <output>.0, and write until
       there is no more input or the volume is full.  If the lat­
       ter case applies, msplit will umount  the  directory,  ask
       for  another  volume (usually a disk), mount it, and start
       writing <output>.1.  This process continues until there is
       no  more  input.  Note that msplit does not erase any data
       found on the disks, it only adds to them.  This  makes  it
       more flexible than using regular split(1).  Another advan­
       tage above split is that no intermediary  files  are  cre­

The current version also lists the contents of the mounted volume, and
offers the possibility to erase everything.  Restoring without intermediate
files could also be done with a procedure like this (and this applies
also to archives made with regular split):

Open an xterm, and do

$ mkfifo tarfile
$ tar xvf tarfile

Open another xterm, and supposing you have used msplit and generated
files named backup.0 .. backup.2 on different zip disks, do something
like (this assumes you use bash)

$ exec 3>tarfile
insert first zip disk
$ mount /zip; cat /zip/backup.0 1>&3; umount /zip
insert second zip disk
$ mount /zip; cat /zip/backup.1 1>&3; umount /zip
insert third zip disk
$ mount /zip; cat /zip/backup.2 1>&3; umount /zip
$ exec 3>&1

Be sure to do this from the right directory.  In between the cat
commands you can give any commands you like, but make sure to cat the
backup files to file descriptor 3 in the right order!  If I get around
it, one day I will write `mcat' which automates this procedure and
complements msplit.  Personally I use msplit mostly for floppies, so it
is in general not impossible to store the intermediate files.

If anyone is interested in `msplit' I can email it to them.  If anyone
feels like putting it in a debian package I'll tack on a GPL licence and
you can go ahead.  Of course there are no warranties ...

 E.L. Meijer (tgakem@chem.tue.nl)
 Eindhoven Univ. of Technology
 Lab. for Catalysis and Inorg. Chem. (SKA)

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