Sunday, March 21, 2010

Watch Your Back Up

My preferred backup solution is rdiff-backup. Today I discovered a quirk which is a reminder to check the backups more often. Due to a scripting error on my part, the backup filesystem became full. Unfortunately rdiff-backup refuses to start with a full backup filesystem because it insists on creating a temporary file, probably to test if it has write access to the filesystem. Since you cannot run the rdiff-backup commands to cleanup the stale incremental backups, you must resort to more traditional brute force methods (rm ^^) to free some space on the filesystem.

Here's the quirk. Someone patched rdiff-backup to not create the file when running the cleanup commands. He discovered that rdiff-backup's cleanup command works perfectly without the temporary file, which is kind of a head scratcher. I understand why rdiff-backup creates the temporary file, but a flag to override the behaviour would be useful for cases where the user knows the filesystem is writable but is full.

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