Backup Woes

[This post is a combination of activity over the past year. –Z]

I’ve been using Mondo Rescue to back up Hoover, my main PC running RedHat 9. It took me a while to get comfortable with how it worked during restore, but I finally figured it all out. But Mondo is a combination of programs and this is what caused my problem.

I upgraded Hoover to Fedora Core 4 and ran into a trap that I had laid for myself two years ago. At that time, I had installed a new 200 GB drive and reloaded RedHat 9 and my older RH 7.0 and 7.3 partitions on it. That kernel version (<2.4.19) didn't support drives larger than 137 GB and the partition table got a bit bent. After figuring out the problem, I upgraded the kernel, but didn't wipe the disk clean. Parted and fdisk had some complaints with the partition table, but things worked.

When I put FC4 on, I decided I didn’t need the old RH7 anymore. I mounted it and started deleting files I knew I didn’t need just to go through it all and make sure I didn’t miss anything. During this process all hell broke loose. X garbled and crashed, then I got a kernel panic. My guess is that the bent partition table or the RedHat 7 inodes were crosslinked. Deleting things from the RH7 file system caused files in my RH9 file system to go kablooey.

So I started from scratch and loaded FC4. Then I used the Mondo Rescue disks to restore the older partitions. This all worked fine until I went to backup from FC4. The disks didn’t get written. I traced it down to incorrect options being passed to mkisofs. Here’s the error message in the log:

Executing 'mkisofs -J -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -b isolinux.bin --boot-info-table -c boot.cat -boot-load-size 4 -r -p MondoRescue -P www.mondorescue.org -A Mondo_Rescue_GPL_Version -V 1 -v . | builtin_dd of=/dev/dvd obs=32k seek=0'
mkisofs: The option '-P' is reserved by POSIX.1-2001.
mkisofs: The option '-P' means 'do not follow symbolic links'.
mkisofs: Mkisofs-2.02 will introduce POSIX semantics for '-P'.
mkisofs: Use -publisher in future to get old mkisofs behavior.

I couldn’t find anything about this on the Mondo site or with Google. This forced me to start looking for other backup solutions. My primary criteria was that the program support backup to DVD. (Did I mention all the failed restores I had with Travan TR-4 tapes?)

One candidate was RAB. This program hasn’t been updated in almost three years. Not an option. Then I looked at Bacula. DVD backup is supported in the beta version, but the program seems to have a large user community. Although I was unable to get the DVD backup to work, I did create a full backup to file, then split the file into smaller chunks and copied those to DVD with growisofs.