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Backup scripts

From: Joel J. Adamson
Subject: Backup scripts
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 12:26:47 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)


I'm using Slackware GNU/Linux 12.0 and would like to back up certain
files in my home directory: these are just data and configuration files,
not system files of any kind.  Reading the `tar' manual I came across
the backup scripts, on my system in /usr/bin/backup.  I created a
backup-specs file, and have gotten a bunch of errors that don't seem to
jive with the documentation.  Here's my backup-specs file:

# backups for joel


#     /home/joel/ado
#     /home/joel/data
#     /home/joel/docs
#     /home/joel/svn_repo
#     /home/joel/Mail
#     /home/joel/News
#     /home/joel/lisp"
The directories are commented out for testing purposes (to avoid doing
the whole thing).

When I run backup I get:

/home/joel/etc/backup Super-User > backup -f --time=now
backup -f --time=now
/dev/sdb1: Invalid argument
Backing up -f at Thu Nov 29 12:22:28 EST 2007
tar: -f: Cannot chdir: No such file or directory
tar: Error is not recoverable: exiting now
/dev/sdb1: Invalid argument
sleeping 60 seconds
  C-c C-c
/home/joel/etc/backup Super-User >

Observations and questions:
1. are the options are being accepted as arguments?
2. whatever I put for TAPE_FILE I get invalid argument, except when I
   get "invalid ioctl for device" --- does this only work with actual tapes?
3. everything I find on the internet is about how to clone a system,
   backup system files or a bunch of other stuff that would be useless
   to me: does anyone use /usr/bin/backup?  It sounds like it's designed
   for the purpose I want, so I'd really like it to work.

Thanks for any help you can offer,

Joel J. Adamson
Pediatric Psychopharmacology Research Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA  02114
(617) 643-1432
(303) 880-3109

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