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Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:14 pm
by Pangolin
Hi all.
I've just installed LM 19 and now I would like to properly configure Timeshift.
I am no expert so I can't figure out how the following settings can affect the chance of a succesful restoration of my system should it go bananas:
TS-exclude-patterns.png
Can you please give me advice?
And what's the difference between /root/*** and /root/** ?

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:34 pm
by AZgl1500
stay with the defaults,

until you get a lot of practice, stay with the defaults.

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:29 pm
by Pierre
the TimeShift program is typically used to backup the System Files AKA in /root

the Mint Backup Tool is typically used to backup the User Files AKA in /home

so, that's Two Program, that are used for Two Different Area.

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:10 am
by Pangolin
Thanks guys.
So I should check all of the radio buttons in the "plus" column, right?
Why do I have 2 /root/ paths in the list?

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:37 am
by azalea4va
It appears nobody has answers the OP's original question (except to say your question is unimportant, just stick with the defaults). I am responding for tw reasons. First, what is the answer to the question, if anybody knows? Second, how can such a prominent program in this release be provided without ANY documentation?

Does anyone no the difference between /dir/* /dir/** and /dir/*** in a Timeshift pattern? Are there other symbols with special meanings, such as things like '?' (commonly used to mean match any single character) and '[0-9]' (commonly used to mean matches a specific set of characters)?

I have looked for documentation on my system, lokking for "help" within the Timeshift program, usng 'man', and using 'info'. Nothing. I have searched the internet trying to find some documentation on timeshift, but have found none (other than general explanations provided by non-authors). To distribute a program with NO documentation is just NOT acceptable. For Mint to do so, especially to make a program a highlight of what a new distribution has ot offer, yet have no documentation for that software, well that is inexcusable.

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:07 am
by HaveaMint
As AG stated, the Original purpose of Timeshift is to backup the system files and not your personal files. This way if you need to restore the system you do not mess with any personal files. The /home directory or partition depending on how you setup the partitioning scheme is therefore NOT backed up. If you look at the directory structure /home is in it so it needs to be excluded.
As to your question on * and **, one * is wildcard for one level only and ** two is recursive meaning everything in all sub-directories.
Clear as mud now?
As to the documentation part Idonno I didn't write it :D
Never Never use *** three because it will remove your little toe. :lol:

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:14 am
by smurphos
Timeshift documentation - https://github.com/teejee2008/timeshift

Unfortunately, it doesn't shed much light on the filters syntax, but HaveaMint's explanation makes sense.

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:38 am
by slipstick
I don't use encryption as the OP apparently does, but I use TS to back up system files, including /root and the hidden files (configuration files) in my /home directory. I back up /root because it will not be backed up by my data backup program (back-in-time), so would not otherwise be backed up. Also, I back up the hidden configuration files in my /home because if I have to restore the system, I want all my applications to be configured the way I have set them up (I also back these files up with back-in-time as part of my data backup). There has been some controversy on this last point - some say that you shouldn't back up the config. files in home with TS, because if you have made recent changes to them, after your last TS snapshot and then have to use TS to restore the system, you will lose your recent changes. My view is that in that case, you can exclude these files from the restore operation.

As for the /dir/*, /dir/**, /dir/***, I assume this comes from rsync which is the foundation of TS. Open a terminal and type "man rsync", then scroll down to somewhere in the last half of the very long document to the section titled "INCLUDE/EXCLUDE PATTERN RULES". Have fun trying to interpret all that. :D

EDIT to add:
Tony George, the creator of TS used to have a manual which he would e-mail you if you made a small donation to him. He seems to have removed that manual for donation bit from his home page, or at least I can't find it any more. The closest thing to a manual I can find now is here:
https://github.com/teejee2008/timeshift

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:24 am
by smurphos
slipstick wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:38 am
As for the /dir/*, /dir/**, /dir/***, I assume this comes from rsync which is the foundation of TS. Open a terminal and type "man rsync", then scroll down to somewhere in the last half of the very long document to the section titled "INCLUDE/EXCLUDE PATTERN RULES". Have fun trying to interpret all that. :D
Tip for easier reading on long man pages...

yelp man:rsync

Ctrl-F to search the document....

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:27 am
by HaveaMint
a '*' matches any path component, but it stops at slashes.

use '**' to match anything, including slashes.

Much of what I stated

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:48 am
by AZgl1500
slipstick wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:38 am
"INCLUDE/EXCLUDE PATTERN RULES". Have fun trying to interpret all that. :D

EDIT to add:
Tony George, the creator of TS used to have a manual which he would e-mail you if you made a small donation to him. He seems to have removed that manual for donation bit from his home page, or at least I can't find it any more. The closest thing to a manual I can find now is here:
https://github.com/teejee2008/timeshift

Oh, but he still does, I sent him PayPal$$$ and he emailed me the manual for Timeshift, just this past week.


Image

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:24 am
by smurphos
AZgl1500 wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:48 am
Oh, but he still does, I sent him PayPal$$$ and he emailed me the manual for Timeshift, just this past week.
Hey everyone - all Timeshift queries directly to AZgl1500 from now on! :D

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:39 am
by JerryF
Pangolin wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:14 pm
Hi all.
I've just installed LM 19 and now I would like to properly configure Timeshift.
I am no expert so I can't figure out how the following settings can affect the chance of a succesful restoration of my system should it go bananas:
TS-exclude-patterns.png
Can you please give me advice?
And what's the difference between /root/*** and /root/** ?
Did you enter these filters yourself or were they already there?

As for the wildcards, I don't know. :?:

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:50 am
by AZgl1500
smurphos wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:24 am
AZgl1500 wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:48 am
Oh, but he still does, I sent him PayPal$$$ and he emailed me the manual for Timeshift, just this past week.
Hey everyone - all Timeshift queries directly to AZgl1500 from now on! :D
Oh, I would love to, but part of the agreement he requests is that no one pass that manual around,
he doesn't specify how expensive that Cup of Coffee should be.... but I bought him the Large Size :mrgreen:

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:45 pm
by azalea4va
I assume this comes from rsync
Great guidance. Provides the following explantion.
  1. /dir/ Backups up just the directory but not its contents.
  2. /dir/* Backups up the directory's contents but only one-level deep.
  3. /dir/** Backups up the direcory's contents, descending through all sub-directories.
  4. /dir/*** A combination of 1 and 3.

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:24 pm
by Halbarad
I installed Mint 19.1 Tessa two weeks ago, in dual boot with Lubuntu. I have been using several Linux distributions for some 20 years and I am very happy with Mint, especially because it is solid and all the subsequent installing went incredibly smooth (HP network printer, Virtualbox, Dropbox etc.). The only thing I am unhappy with is Timeshift. Why, I was unhappy before reading the posts in this thread, now I am also a bit shocked. I can't believe that a Linux program included in a major distribution and flaunted as a crown jewel comes without a help file or a manual -- worse, much worse, that you get the manual if you send some little money to the author. This is as puny a strategy as it could be and I just can't believe it. It would be much more honest and decent if the program were on sale. Every Linux distribution I know about always encouraged users' attempts to learn and to understand software and commands.

My solution is: go back to Clonezilla. To be effective, this solution requires that I keep most of my sizeable data (say, photos, music, ebooks, movies) in a separate partition and mainly use the home partition for configuration files and little data. Once a month I clone my EFI partition, root and home. -- By the way, since the previous posts mention it, the root is one thing: "/", and "/root" is another; it is a directory within the root. -- I back up my "big data" making copies on another external HDD and normally use rsync for that. I fortunately had a Clonezilla clone made also after installing and configuring Mint. I tried Timeshift too: but one week after installing Mint the booting became very slow, some 90 seconds instead of the usual 8 seconds, while Lubuntu kept booting in 6 seconds. I restored a snapshot from Timeshift, but the system now took 120 seconds to start. I felt quite unhappy because I didn't know what Timeshift had precisely restored; I checked some system files then I got fed up and turned to good old Clonezilla, which restored the whole Mint partition and everything was fine.

The only thing with Clonezilla is that it doesn't allow for incremental backups, but I can live with it. It would surely be more convenient if I could start my backup utility from within the system and have an incremental backup made while I keep working, but a utility that actively hides information about its options unless you give them a dime is outrageous in any OS. Removing and purging.

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:27 pm
by mchandler
This is really helpful--thanks.

How difficult is it to restore a cloned image using Clonezilla if I've borked my system and just want to return to a known, working state?

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:45 pm
by smurphos
Halbarad wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:24 pm
without a help file or a manual.
Do you really need much more than the pretty extensive readme?

https://github.com/teejee2008/timeshift ... /README.md

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:49 pm
by Halbarad
@mchandler
How difficult is it to restore a cloned image using Clonezilla if I've borked my system and just want to return to a known, working state?
This is actually Clonezilla's main use. You install Clonezilla to a flash card or a DVD then you power off and reboot from Clonezilla's medium. Clonezilla's website has extensive directions for installing to USB card or to DVD. You must know which partitions you have in your HDD and what you want to clone. You can find that out with the command blkid in the Terminal (CTRL-ALT-T) or have a look at your Disks utility (Accessories in the Menu): mounted partitions are marked with a star.
I normally clone my EFI partition (in my system it's in /dev/sda1) and my Mint partition (/dev/sda3 in my system; I also have a Lubuntu in /dev/sda2). I save the backups to an external USB HDD but you can also save them to another partition of your internal HDD, just hope you don't have a hard disk failure... I normally add something to the filename Clonezilla suggests for the backup: say, Clonezilla proposes "2018-12-30-14-img" and I change it into "SSD-sda1-2018-12-30-14-img". It's better to make a directory called "ClonezillaBackups" or something in the backup disk in advance, because Clonezilla only looks for existing directories. I normally prefer to make separate backups for each partition.
To restore, just boot Clonezilla again -- it runs on a slim Linux -- and follow its directions. It asks you to insert the USB HDD and to locate the backup directory, then you have to choose what you want to restore, this is when extensive naming helps.
I'd say it's quite easy and of course it gets easier in time :wink: Just read the options carefully the first time you use it for saving and restoring a backup. It might look a bit boring, it in fact is, but it's also so safe, because it restores the partition to exactly the same state in which it was when you made the backup.
I'm sorry if I have over-answered... I don't know how familiar you are with partition names etc. Please feel free to ask more if you wish. And -- no, I am not in cahoots with the Clonezilla guy... :lol:

@smurphos
Do you really need much more than the pretty extensive readme?
Yes! This is precisely what I need :wink: Plain and patient explanations on the meaning of *, ** and *** with no mention of toes; on how to include and exclude directories etc. -- At any rate, since a manual already exists, why not to provide it together with the software? But now that I have purged TS, I confess that I prefer my monthly cloning to the double backup procedure (home and system). You know, I am an old Linux guy and I have spent some time on man(uals) and explanations. I just love that feeling when you know what is happening. And I love this Mint, a pity I didn't try it before.

Re: Timeshift: should these patterns be excluded in snapshots?

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:19 pm
by mchandler
That was perfect--thank you.

On my system blkid shows:
/dev/sda1: UUID="639C-3488" TYPE="vfat" PARTUUID="4e9c8e05-e23f-41a4-a29e-8dc9bb0e0cc1"
/dev/sda2: UUID="78b35f52-b118-447f-9000-91b69d3f6d41" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="9efdd136-8ab6-420c-be18-d2a8119fe800"


With Disks showing:
Screenshot from 2019-02-05 19-32-25.png
Screenshot from 2019-02-05 19-32-09.png
Screenshot from 2019-02-05 19-31-42.png

So does that mean I would clone both sda1 and sda2?

It's time to get a USB drive large enough to hold everything (no optical disc on my MintBox Mini).