Backup Directories and Subdirectories Preserving File Structure

I needed a quick way to backup my small music collection on my laptop and preserve the complete file structure and permissions.  There are a few ways to do this of course…for example, you can just copy the files using whatever file manager you happen to be using in your Linux distribution.  In some cases though, you might want your backup to take up less space than the full monty.  Especially true if you are backing up to thumb drives!

You can use the tar command to make this a snap.

Tar combines multiple files into an archive and you can use it to preserve permissions and file structure and then you can compress the archive to save space.

tar -c --recursion -p --file=backup.tar directory

The -c flag creates an archive for us.  –recursion goes through all subdirectories.  The -p flag preserves permissions on all the files.  This is handy if you have certain folders or files that you need to sticky with individual users or groups.  The –file flag is the option for outputting to a file name.  You can also add multiple directories that you’re zipping up like the following:

tar -c --recursion -p --file=backup.tar directory1 directory2 directory3

After you have the file output as backup.tar it’s time to compress it.  The most standard way to do this is to use the gzip command:

gzip backup.tar

This command will output backup.tar.gz to the current directory which will take up less space than that of a standard 1-to-1 copy.  There are many other flags and options that you can use with the tar command.  For an in depth look at those flags and options, check the tar man page by typing ‘man tar’ in a terminal or view it online here.


Commenter ‘jack’ has offered a few extra flags to combine the archiving and zipping into one command:

tar -c -z --recursion -p --file=backup.tar directory1 directory2 directory3

The -z flag will gzip the archive after you’ve used tar to create it.  Substituting -j in for -z above will bzip the archive.  Thanks for the tips jack!

Install the Latest Kernel in PCLinuxOS

Do you run PCLinuxOS 2007 or Minime 2008 and would you like to take advantage of the latest kernel for PCLinuxOS?  You can do this by enabling the ‘testing’ portion of the repository.

Read about Repository Control in PCLinuxOS

You’ll be looking for the ‘sections’ blank when viewing repository details and you’ll just need to add ‘testing’ to the end of the line (don’t replace the entires there already).  Once that is done, click the reload button in Synaptic and allow it to refresh your local rpm cache.

Click the ‘search’ button and search for the keyword ‘kernel’.  Look for the highest number of kernel that is returned.  At the time of this writing, the kernel was the newest kernel for PCLinuxOS (it has .27 patches all over in it…so it’s quite a nice kernel).  Click and install that kernel and allow it to select any packages it needs to install.  Once installed, you can remove the word testing from the repository (this is recommended to prevent your system from downloading ALL testing packages/updates) and click the reload button for Synaptic.

Reboot and choose the new kernel on your grub menu.  Test things to see how they work.  If everything is good to go, congratulations!  You’ve just installed the latest kernel in PCLinuxOS.

To make this kernel the default one, you can use the PCLinuxOS Control Center and Change the Way the System Boots.  I’ll cover this in a later post.  Hope this helps a few of you out there.  I know it is often asked on IRC.

Customizing PCLinuxOS 2008 Minime

So, HowtoForge has a perfect desktop for PCLinuxOS 2007…how about something similar for 2008 MiniMe? I won’t go into near as much detail as they do there but I’ll go over how I get my desktop up and rolling after a fresh install of PCLinuxOS Minime 2008.

Putting it Together
Build Your Own PCLOS

So, HowtoForge has a perfect desktop for PCLinuxOS 2007…how about something similar for 2008 MiniMe? I won’t go into near as much detail as they do there but I’ll go over how I get my desktop up and rolling after a fresh install of PCLinuxOS Minime 2008.

MiniMe is the lesser known offspring of PCLinuxOS 2007 that ships with a kernel and is a minimalistic installation of the KDE desktop 3.5.9. Texstar provides this distribution for those wanting to remaster their installations…it’s a base for other remastered projects like PCLinuxOS Gnome. Remastering and the Make LiveCD wizard enable users to customize their distribution and make a bootable backup CD with all their customizations OR release their own customized distribution. You can also use the Make LiveUSB wizard to create your very own thumbdrive PCLinuxOS.

I found it strange that no one had written anything about MimiMe-to on getting PCLinuxOS 2008 MiniMe up and running as a desktop replacement so I decided to give it a go. The aim of this article isn’t to copy Howtoforge’s great series on perfect installations…but to show how I get PCLinuxOS 2008 Minime up to a perfect installation for me. This means all web video, audio, fonts, and tools I need are installed. So let’s get at it.

What Do We Need?

First and foremost, do a complete upgrade of your fresh installed system. Open Synaptic >> Reload >> Mark all Upgrades >> Apply. It’s going to take a while to get all the updates you’ll need. Do NOT enable the testing repository until after you install your graphics driver at the end of this article…just perform a straight update from main.

Now let’s start installing stuff that is needed on a daily basis. I’m more of a lightweight type of guy so I don’t need robust office applications so my tastes may not line up with yours. Please substitute applications where you see fit…the repositories most likely have them.

To give a brief, high level overview of my daily use applications:

  • firefox3
  • Opera
  • K3B
  • konversation
  • pidgin
  • skype_static
  • koffice
  • gimp
  • Amarok
  • claws-mail
  • kdeaddons-kate
  • kdeaddons-ark
  • kdegraphics-ksnapshot (for taking screenshots)

Those are the high level applications I use on a daily basis to get things done. Whenever you are prompted to mark other packages for install, go ahead and and choose “mark”. Click apply and let the your daily use applications install.

Continue reading “Customizing PCLinuxOS 2008 Minime”

Install GCC on ClarkConnect

Install GCC on ClarkConnect

This is a pretty easy thing to do, but it seems many people come to Yet Another Linux Blog searching for exactly how to do this. ClarkConnect does not come with GCC installed by default. If you download software and attempt to compile it (using ./configure, make, make install) it will complain:

configure: error: no acceptable C compiler found in $PATH
See `config.log' for more details.

So, SSH into your ClarkConnect server and install cc-devel to install all the tools you need. Please be advised, it’s a rather large package weighing in at 87.5 MB when I installed it today.

apt-get update
apt-get install cc-devel

After this package is installed, you should be able to compile software from source. Hopefully, this makes your life easier and is easier to find on the web.

Microblogging, Status, and Blogging 2.0

In my previous post, I asked readers how they plugged their blog and/or microblogged, web 2.0 style. Some microblogging readers recommended that I check out It was exactly the service that I needed; the ability to simultaneously post status updates on twitter, pownce, facebook. I specifically look for services that don’t require that I install anything on my desktop (I like IM much more).

The only problem with this is that is in beta stage…and a closed beta at that. So, I began to read various different blogs to try and find any other service that might do the same thing as

During my search, I cam across, which is a central aggregate place similar to The interesting part about profilactic is that it plugs into and every single user can be part of the closed beta for!

This means that you can microblog/status message bebo, blogger, brightkite, facebook, hi5, Jaiku, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Mashable, Myspace, Plaxo Pulse, Plurk, Pownce, Tumblr, Twitter, and Xanga through one single interface OR through Instant message (there is a bot).

Here’s the kicker… supports 186 sites as well as the ability to create a custom site. There are too many to list. Check out their supported sites.

So, you can utilize to instant message status updates or microblog and instantaneously have it sent out to close to 200 different sites all at once. This is handy for me since I like to use pownce a bit more than twitter but my coworkers use twitter more. My status updates are still broadcast (on 60 second delay) on twitter through my instant message to the bot. also supports the iPhone and has the ability to have custom triggers.

To take advantage of these great services, head over to profilactic and signup. When you’re setting up your sites, you’ll be able to plug into (it will require that you signup using the profilactic beta password that profilactic will provide for you during setup). Don’t forget to visit my lifestream and add me as a friend 🙂 Happy micro/status/blogging!

KDE and Xorg, Fonts and DPI

Today, I’d like to share a tip I found out while working with a beta release for a distirbution of Linux with KDE’s 3.5.7 version. As many readers of this blog know, I use PCLinuxOS 2007 as my main desktop and have done so since about 2005. The font configuration in PCLinuxOS is quite nice. I have a 19 inch LCD Monitor at home with 1280×1024 resolution. I notice no problems with the font on that monitor.

Working on a separate 20 inch monitor with a distribution in development however is another story. The fonts didn’t look beautiful at all. After some installation of custom fonts, things looked better, but the resolution is a bit higher on this LCD at 1400×1050. Easy to fix right? Just increase the DPI in the KDE Control Center to 120 right? Not so fast…even when it’s set to 96×96 there, it isn’t always set to 96×96. So let’s take a look at how you can force KDE to run at the correct DPI for your monitor which will, in turn, make your fonts look MUCH better. For those of you who are satisfied with your fonts, you might want to check out the commands below to see if you’re running at the DPI you think you are.

Continue reading “KDE and Xorg, Fonts and DPI”