38.3. Make Your Own Backups
NOTE: If you have data that is important to you, you should have a known backup.
Accidents and oversights happen. Tapes can be damaged, lost, or mislabeled. Assume that your system administrator is top-notch. The best administrator can recover your lost data 99 percent of the time. There is still a small chance that the files you need might not be recovered. Can you afford to duplicate months of effort 1 percent of the time? No.
An experienced user learns to be pessimistic. Typically, this important perspective is learned the hard way. Perhaps a few hours are lost. Perhaps days. Sometimes months are lost.
Here are some common situations:
Gulp! I scared myself. Excuse me for a few minutes while I load a tape...
Ah! I feel better now. As I was saying, being pessimistic has its advantages.
Making a backup is easy. Get a blank tape and put a label on it. Learn how to load it into the tape drive. Then do the following:
% cd % tar c .
Take the tape out. Write-protect the tape (usually, just slide the tab). That's all.
[Well, okay, not exactly. That would back up only your home directory to the default tape device (usually something like /dev/rmt0). You may want to back up more than just your home directory, the tape drive may not be at the default device, and you may not have permission to write to the tape drive by default. The rest of the chapter talks about variations on the theme. -- DJPH]
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