Advice on filesystems

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Time4Tea
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Joined: 07/16/2017

I have a desktop PC that I want to convert to Trisquel. It's currently running Ubuntu and I've been meaning to convert to Trisquel for some time. However, I also have a laptop, so I'm thinking of setting up the Home partition on the desktop as a Network File System, so I can access it with the laptop when I am at home. Is that a good idea? And/or I was thinking of setting up an SSH server on the Desktop, so I can log in from anywhere, even if I am 'on the road'. Is that a good idea, or is it too much of a security vulnerability? I assume Trisquel has support for an ssh server?

Second question I have is that I also want to re-partition the laptop HDD, to create a couple of new partitions that I can use for testing out Trisquel 8 (to help with development). However, on one of the existing partitions, I currently have a Linux From Scratch installation, which I want to back up first. What is the best way to back up a whole partition/filesystem (say, to a USB drive)? dd, or just using cp? Or some sort of tar archive or disk image?

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

If the one of the two systems is offline, then I am not sure what will happen when you will try to open a laptop session. And I am not sure how hard it is to setup an NFS home. Although that means two separate home folders (preferences to be in set in both systems and so on), I would simply install an SSH server on the desktop (install the "ssh" package on the desktop), connect to it from the file manager on the laptop and add that as a "bookmark".

In Nautilus: "Connect to server..." (in the menu with the "gear" icon), type "sftp://" followed by the IP address of the desktop and drag-drop the icon that appeared on the left into the "Bookmarks" section. Well, I wrote "the IP address of the desktop" but it probably is a private IP address. If so, you actually need to type the IP address of the router it is behind and configure this router so that it redirects incoming connections on the port 22 (or another port if you do not want to keep the default SSH port or if you already use it for something else) to the desktop system.

You can use whatever you want to backup. And you should frequently backup! You can also try to resize/move the partitions from a live system. If there is enough free space on the partitions, the backup would only be a safety measure (in particular, blackouts happen!). The main difficulty you may face is that XFS (Trisquel's default for /home) cannot be shrunk. I would use GParted, which is user-friendly. Since you installed LFS, I imagine you know how to edit /etc/fstab if necessary.

Time4Tea
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Joined: 07/16/2017

Thanks for your advice, Magic Banana. I'm actually using PCManFM though on the laptop (LXDE). I'm ok with having different Home directories on the two machines, as I'll need the laptop to have its own one anyway for when I'm travelling and may be without internet. Maybe I'll try the SSH method first then and see how that goes. All I really want to do is be able to transfer files back and forth easily, when I am at home.

About the backup, whichever I do I'll need to ensure I also copy all of the hidden files for the LFS system. I assume it is possible to make sure hidden files are included, when doing a tar archive? It would be quite a big file - the LFS system right now is at 4.3 GB.

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

All I really want to do is be able to transfer files back and forth easily, when I am at home.

SFTP is all you want: your remote files will be one click away since PCManFM has:
Full gvfs support with seamless access to remote filesystems (Able to handle sftp://, webdav://, smb://, ...etc when related backends of gvfs are installed.)
Bookmarks - saved places. You can see them in the left panel of PCManFM. Visible from other Gtk+ applications.
https://wiki.lxde.org/en/PCManFM

Time4Tea
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Joined: 07/16/2017

Ok, thanks, I hadn't considered SFTP, but it sounds like a good option to try.

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

It is an FTP-like protocol over SSH, what I suggest you from my first post.