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Re: Return a Debian system to a pristine state

On Sun 31 May 2020 at 18:43:46 (+0100), Michael Howard wrote:
> On 31/05/2020 15:59, Thomas Schmitt wrote:
> > Michael Howard wrote:
> > > With linux (debian) you could just create an image (using dd for example) of
> > > the drive in order to restore it at a later date.
> > If a backup shall have a chance to be absolutely safe it must be done
> > while the backuped filesystems are unmounted or mounted read-only.
> Obviously.
> > This implies that it must be done by an operating system that it not
> > using these to-be-backuped filesystems for its own needs. Debian Live
> > comes to my mind.
> As good a choice as any.
> > Do we have a feature to get a list of installed packages and to later
> > use it for re-installation ?
> > 
> > I normally need weeks to get everything installed on my next machine.
> > In the beginning it is easy to choose the big chunks. But the previous
> > machine is then old as stone and can hardly serve for the fine tuning.
> > So i need to find out what's still missing and install on demand.
> > 
> Well then it's not pristine, which is what the OP wanted.

That begs the question of what pristine means, because it has never
been defined even by the OP. Their closest attempt at a definition
was the "first boot experience" but, unless you install a system as
soon as a release is released, you can't return to that configuration
without downgrading packages. That would make no sense at all,
especially for someone with a serious concern about scanning for

And why would one decide that the only systems that could be
considered as "pristine" are those where the "privileged" list of
installed packages corresponds to one of the arbitrary selections
chosen by the installer's developers.

In addition, when the "privileged" packages are reverted to their
original configuration at first boot, it's potentially undoing a great
deal of the sysadmin's work, which then has to be re-done. Where's the
sense in that. And if you *don't* revert the configuration, you could
end up with a non-functional system, because the final production
configuration might depend on the "unprivileged" packages that have
just been uninstalled.


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