Over the last couple days I’ve briefly talked about revisioning configs and making your home directory portable. It seems to have stirred up a bit of discussion over at Matt Simmons Standalone Sysadmin, and Hugh Browns mentioned he uses mercurial for this task.. As I noted in the post about managing /etc with version control I do revision my home directory, or at least pieces of it.

I consider this to be a different problem than making my environment portable. For example I want my configs to have a full revision history, even things like my ssh config or my private keys. I want that history as a backup, I do not want to distribute all of that information to other machines. gibak is a great wrapper for git to help with this.

Installation is not hard but you will need to install a few dependencies.

aptitude install ocaml omake git-core
git clone http://eigenclass.org/repos/git/gibak/.git/
cd gibak
cp find-git-files ~/bin
cp find-git-repos ~/bin
cp gibak ~/bin
cp ometastore ~/bin

Now that its installed you just need to initialize your git repo, make adjustments to your .gitignore (you probably don’t want _everything_ in your repo).

gibak init
vim ~/.gitignore
gibak commit

I don’t have everything in my home directory revisioned. Mainly I revision configuration files and my Documents. Here is what my .gitignore looks like.

# I am selective about what I want to revision, you may not want this.
# You probably want to ignore all the "dot" files in your home
# directory, since they mostly contain local application state data.
# but... some dot files you probably do *not* want ignored are
# listed here:

Now depending on what files you want in your repo and if they change frequently or not you may want to have a cron job to automatically commit changes to your repo. I would suggest an entry similar to this.

0 0 * * * gibak commit  "Automatic Commit - $(date +%m.%d.%Y)"

To manually commit changes just run gibak commit after making changes.

Now you can deal with your revisioned files just like any other git repo. You can clone it to a remote location to back it up, revert commits or whatever else suits your fancy.