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BackupPC seems like an ideal solution to invisibly backing up multiple laptops, but it's not that straightforward to install.

I decided to install it on my shiny new CentOS 5.0 box.  As far as I can remember (well, it was nearly a month ago), I downloaded the source RPM from CentOS 4.0 testing and rebuilt it thus:

  • Installed build prerequisites, e.g. perl-XML-RSS from rpmforge
  • Rebuilt and relabeled as .el5, using "rpmbuild --rebuild --define 'dist .el5' backuppc-3.0.0-1.el4.centos.src.rpm"
  • Installed along with dependencies from rpmforge: perl-Time-ParseDate, I think.

Configuration was a little tricky, mostly because there's so much to potentially configure.  I eventually opted to just change as little as possible in /etc/BackupPC/

$Conf{ServerInitdPath} = '/etc/init.d/backuppc';
$Conf{ServerInitdStartCmd} = '$serverInitdPath start < /dev/null >& /dev/null';
$Conf{FullKeepCnt} = [1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1];
$Conf{XferMethod} = 'rsync';
$Conf{RsyncArgs} = [ ... '--one-file-system',
$Conf{SendmailPath} = '/usr/sbin/sendmail';
$Conf{CgiAdminUsers} = 'admin';

On top of that, I added a couple of per-host config files under /etc/BackupPC/pc/{|} with the RSync directories on each host I wanted to backup (note that I added --one-file-system to the RSyncArgs abobe).  Then I figured out the whole ssh key sharing thing.  The trickiest bit of that was figuring out how to do stuff as the 'backuppc' user, as there's no shell set.  Simple method is: 'su -s /bin/bash backuppc'

Finally, the cgi-bin setup is a bit of a nightmare, as it's just a pain to get things running using the backuppc user.  In the end, I modified the /etc/httpd/conf.d/backuppc.conf file, swapping SetHandler perl-script to use cgi-script and then chmod'ed u+s /usr/share/backuppc/cgi-bin/BackupPCAdmin.

Now things seem to be running a treat.  It's all very impressive.

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