Tuesday Mar 17, 2009

Time-slider saves the day (or at least a lot of frustration)

As I was tidying up my Live Upgrade boot environments yesterday, I did something that I thought was terribly clever but had some pretty wicked side effects. While linking up all of my application configuration directories (firefox, mozilla, thunderbird, [g]xine, staroffice) I got blindsided by the GNOME message client: pidgin, or more specifically one of our migration assistants from GAIM to pidgin.

As a quick background, Solaris, Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE), and OpenSolaris all have different versions of the GNOME desktop. Since some of the configuration settings are incompatible across releases the easy solution is to keep separate home directories for each version of GNOME you might use. Which is fine until you grow weary of setting your message filters for Thunderbird again or forget which Firefox has that cached password for the local recreation center that you only use once a year. Pretty quickly you come up with the idea of a common directory for all shared configuration files (dot directories, collections of pictures, video, audio, presentations, scripts).

For one boot environment you do something like
$ mkdir /export/home/me
$ for dotdir in .thunderbird .purple .mozilla .firefox .gxine .xine .staroffice .wine .staroffice\* .openoffice\* .VirtualBox .evolution bin lib misc presentations 
> do
> mv $dotdir /export/home/me
> ln -s /export/home/me/$dotdir   $dotdir
> done
And for the other GNOME home directories you do something like
$ for dotdir in .thunderbird .purple .mozilla .firefox .gxine .xine .staroffice .wine .staroffice\* .openoffice\* .VirtualBox .evolution bin lib misc presentations 
> do
> mv $dotdir ${dotdir}.old
> ln -s /export/home/me/$dotdir   $dotdir
> done
And all is well. Until......

Booted into Solaris 10 and fired up pidgin thinking I would get all of my accounts activated and the default chatrooms started. Instead I was met by this rather nasty note that I had incompatible GAIM entries and it would try to convert them for me. What it did was wipe out all of my pidgin settings. And sure enough when I look into the shared directory, .purple contained all new and quite empty configuration settings.

This is where I am hoping to get some sympathy, since we have all done things like this. But then I remembered I had started time-slider earlier in the day (from the OpenSolaris side of things).
$ time-slider-setup
And there were my .purple files from 15 minutes ago, right before the GAIM conversion tools made a mess of them.
$ cd /export/home/.zfs/snapshot
$ ls
zfs-auto-snap:daily-2009-03-16-22:47
zfs-auto-snap:daily-2009-03-17-00:00
zfs-auto-snap:frequent-2009-03-17-11:45
zfs-auto-snap:frequent-2009-03-17-12:00
zfs-auto-snap:frequent-2009-03-17-12:15
zfs-auto-snap:frequent-2009-03-17-12:30
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-16-22:47
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-16-23:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-00:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-01:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-02:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-03:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-04:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-05:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-06:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-07:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-08:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-09:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-10:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-11:00
zfs-auto-snap:hourly-2009-03-17-12:00
zfs-auto-snap:monthly-2009-03-16-11:38
zfs-auto-snap:weekly-2009-03-16-22:47

$ cd zfs-auto-snap:frequent-2009-03-17-12:15/me/.purple
$ rm -rf /export/home/me/.purple/\*
$ cp -r \* /export/home/me/.purple

(and this is is really really important)
$ mv $HOME/.gaim $HOME/.gaim-never-to-be-heard-from-again

Log out and back in to refresh the GNOME configuration settings and everything is as it should be. OpenSolaris time-slider is just one more reason that I'm glad that it is my daily driver.

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About

Bob Netherton is a Principal Sales Consultant for the North American Commercial Hardware group, specializing in Solaris, Virtualization and Engineered Systems. Bob is also a contributing author of Solaris 10 Virtualization Essentials.

This blog will contain information about all three, but primarily focused on topics for Solaris system administrators.

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