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[semi-OT] Data archiving (was Re: Query on adding a USB hdd)

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On 05/23/07 20:17, Douglas Allan Tutty wrote:
> On Wed, May 23, 2007 at 07:05:23PM -0500, Ron Johnson wrote:
>>> It would be very nice if there was a universal cross-platform rw +
>>> encrypt filesystem for archives.  Something that you could be confident
>>> that you could decrypt and access in 10 years using whatever OS was
>>> current then.
>> tar is cross-platform, as is ASCII CSV.  PGP/GPG is also cross-platform.
>> Problem solved?
> Perhaps.
> I don't know if a generic tarball I make today will be readable by
> whatever OS in 10 years, which is why I store a current install cd.  In
> 10 years, hopefully I can find a computer that will boot it.

You've got bigger problems if you think that a CD-R will keep it's
integrity for 10 years.

Tape (using tar, and a media used by "large data processing shops",
since they are supported for a LONG LONG LONG time, unlike that gee
whiz specialized crap that NASA seems to love) or SCSI hard drives
(in external enclosures so you can spin them up annually) formatted
ext2 or FAT32 are what I would choose.

FAT has been around for 26+ years, and ext2 is 14 years old.

> If I gpg a tarball today with whatever algorithm is current, in 10 years
> that algorithm may be long cracked.  Will the gpg authors keep support
> for it?  Perhaps.

This is FLOSS.  Save the source on a separate disk with SHA512 hash

> I one relies on legacy hardware obscurity for off-site backup, what
> happens in a disaster and all the legacy hardware is toast?  What if you


Two days after 9/11, they rolled in a truck to our Westchester[0]
data center and rolled out a lot of kit.  In a week, that site was
back up and running.

[0] http://members.cox.net/ron.l.johnson/ACS_Government_Services.kmz

> can't buy replacement ancient hardware to read those backups?   When I
> was using OS/2, my backups were on QIC-80 IBM tape.  That drive is not
> supported under Debian.  Luckily, OS/2 was useable enough to allow me to
> transfer that tape data to a spare hard drive and OS/2 and Linux had
> support for a few filesystems in common.

Perfect example of what I was talking about above.

And text is *the* guaranteed data format.  Database backups should
be text format extracts and "Office" documents should be in ODF
format which is just zipped text.

> Taking archiving to the limit, what would a time-capsule for electronic
> data look like?  If you assumed that the software to extract the archive
> would be unavailabe, you could include the source but what about the
> compiler?  How would you get the source off if the filesystem is not
> accessible?  Perhaps the time capsule would have to include a whole
> computer and not just the archive media.

Yes.  If by computer you also mean "the whole schmeer, including
many tape drives" since it's common on Big Systems to backup a
single database in parallel to multiple tape drive.

> I guess this is why banks still save paper.
> Anyway, this has gone well off the origional topic.

Not really, if OP's purpose was partly to save data.

- --
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson LA  USA

Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day.
Hit him with a fish, and he goes away for good!

Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)


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