Archive for March 27th, 2006

We’re back!!!

Just in case you didn’t notice, we disappeared for a week or so here. And it’s all due to bad luck with sbackup. I set up sbackup after spending 9 months thinking that I needed to take the time to get a regular backup going on my system. During configuration of sbackup, I noticed that it warned me that it didn’t have write access to the path that I gave it to use as the backup location. I figured this was just a glitch (I had just created the destination directory and set up permissions to it). So I told sbackup to run the custom job I had just created.

The effect was devastating and immediate. My entire filesystem went into read-only mode, which of course meant that most applications and services failed. I was not at the machine, and could not log in via ssh because the system couldn’t change to my home directory, nor could it launch a shell. I wasn’t able to do anything at all until I got home later that evening.

I still haven’t the faintest idea what happened. I could log in if I started the system up in single-user mode. But the second that I tried to launch in multi-user mode, nothing worked. I continued to receive, “Failure, could not launch shell” when trying to connect, either locally or remotely. From single-user mode, I noticed that 95% of /var was gone.

I do not know whether sbackup corrupted the drive when it tried writing a large amount of data to a path it didn’t have access to (which doesn’t sound possible to me), or if there was a hard drive problem that manifested itself right when I kicked off the backup (such coincidences are not uncommon). Either way, it took me a few days to scrape the data I could off this hard drive, then re-partition the drive, reinstall Ubuntu, then restore all of my data. (On the plus side, I was able to take the time to set up a better paritioning scheme for my system. I now have separate /, /home and /usr/local partitions.)

So now I am mostly back up. Every now and then I find an app or utility I forgot to reinstall, but that’s what aptitude is for. :)

Profile picI am a 40-ish uber-geek, Daoist and family man. Blessed to have one incredible wife and three wonderful kiddos. Dao has been kind to me.

March 2006
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