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Re: Confusion about including and excluding files in tarsnap.conf versus the command line

On Thu, Nov 08, 2018 at 05:20:12PM -0800, Craig Hartnett wrote:
> Just signed up


> (e.g., tarsnap --dry-run --print-stats --humanize-numbers
> -c /media/USER/PATH
> --exclude /media/USER/PATH/.Trash-1000 /media/USER/PATH/lost

Careful there!  "--exclude" only accepts a single value.  If you want to
exclude multiple values on the command-line (which is not recommended;
I would definitely put them in your config file), you would need:
  --exclude /media/USER/PATH/.Trash-1000
  --exclude /media/USER/PATH/lost+found

> So here I am today and now wanting to run my first real back-up and I'm
> stuck on the same problem. The information in step 1A at
> http://www.tarsnap.com/simple-usage.html still seems to require me to
> put my list of included and excluded paths on the command line. Why is
> this? Why doesn't tarsnap just get the list from tarsnap.conf?

Hmm, I'll tweak simple-usage.html somewhat.  tarsnap does indeed get the values
from tarsnap.conf, with three exceptions:
  -c: tarsnap doesn't know which mode (create/extract/test/etc.), so we need to
      give this on the command-line
  -f "$(uname -n)-$(date +%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S)": since the archive name changes
      every day, we need to give it here.
  /MY/DATADIR: we need to give the "root" directory to include (running
      "tarsnap -c -f foo" doesn't work, even if we have an "include bar"
      in the config file).

> exclude /media/USER/PATH/.Trash-1000
> exclude /media/USER/PATH/lost+found
> exclude /media/USER/PATH/_hold
> include /media/USER/PATH
> include /home/USER
> include /etc
> include /opt

Please delete the "include" lines, then use this command-line:
  /usr/local/bin/tarsnap -c \
 	-f "$(uname -n)-$(date +%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S)" \
        /media/USER/PATH		\
        /home/USER			\
        /etc				\

(apologies for the confusing name of "--include"... it should really be
"--include-only".  Unfortunately the name came from the 1980s-era tar(1)
program, is still in use nowadays, and we don't want to break backwards
compatibility with the expected behaviour of tar(1).)

For more information, please see:
including the warnings about trying it with --dry-run before doing a real
backup.  I think that in your case, you don't need "include" at all.

- Graham

PS: I almost recommended that you kept the "include" lines and tried:
  /usr/local/bin/tarsnap -c \
 	-f "$(uname -n)-$(date +%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S)" \

However, when I was just about to send the email, I noticed:
  - The process of recursing into subdirectories is also affected. Adding this
    to the config file:
       include /home
    and then attempting to back up / results in nothing being backed up.

So clearly I already made that mistake a few years ago when I was writing that

- Graham