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    Creative Commons License
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    Mon, 25 Jun 2012


    /Admin/backups/unison: IT infrastructure for us little guys:

    I usually buy a newer used laptop once every year or so, alternating between the big one and the little one. I budget about $300 (thankyou, Linux!) for each increment, with each being a little faster then the last, and get a very satisfying sense of progress.

    When run, Unison will by default copy files that have changed only on one machine to the other machine, and present a list of files that[1] have changed on both machines for resolution (this list can be very, very short if you only use one machine between syncs, which I recommend). For my stuff (in Unix lingo, my "home" directory) a sync usually takes less then five minutes. Sometimes a lot less.

    Unison runs on pretty much all Unix/Linux flavors, Windows, and Macs, so it is also very easy to move from one TYPE of machine to another. (I used to move between Linux and NetBSD, for instance.)

    Results:

    [1] http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/

    posted at: 05:12 | path: /Admin/backups/unison | permanent link to this entry

    Wed, 24 Sep 2008


    /Admin/backups/unison: Unison: Easy File Synchronization

    Any discussion of backup strategies would be remiss without mentioning unison[1]. Unison synchronizes the files in two different directories, on the same machine or on different machines, so that they are exactly the same. It will copy the most recent version of any file in either direction, and will prompt for user input if a file has been changed on both ends since the last sync (best to try to avoid this, obviously....) Unison also runs on almost anything: various flavors of *nix, Mac OSX, Windows....

    Unison can be run from the command-line or in a GTK GUI ("unison-gtk", on Debian Linux). One caveat though, if you frequently experience conflicts (files changed on both ends) you really need to have the GUI available at the machine where you are sitting. Resolving a lot of conflicts from the command-line is a PITA.

    After initial setup of a configuration file, this one for example to synchronize my desktop to my server for this blog:

    x24:~/.unison$ cat techblogISP.prf
    root = /home/user/public_html/techblog/
    root = ssh://user_techblog@ssh.phx.nearlyfreespeech.net//home/public
    ignore = Path {.unison}

    unison is very easy and fast to use (length of time depending, of course, on the number of MB to transfer and the network speed). Frequent ad-hoc backups become easy and normal.

    [1] http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/

    posted at: 00:44 | path: /Admin/backups/unison | permanent link to this entry