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Re: Separate /home directories etc?

On Sat 07 Jul 2018 at 08:04:16 (-0400), cyaiplexys wrote:
> On 07/06/2018 07:40 PM, ntrfug wrote:
> >The home directory contains not only "personal data" but configuration
> >directories for all your apps.
> >
> >I long ago settled on a middle-of-the-road solution--I have a partition
> >mounted on /home/ntrfug/files which contains all my "data" such as
> >email, photos, documents, non-distribution software, bank statements,
> >etc. I've been doing this for ~20 years and I still like it. I can
> >reinstall nuking the home directory to take advantage of updated
> >configurations but still keep my word processing documents, email, and
> >general umm, stuff.
> >
> New here. But not new to Linux. Been using Linux for a over 5 years
> as my main OS (and a good many years before that as dual-boot).
> I too have went to a different solution than having a separate /home
> directory.
> I used to have a separate /home directory back in the day. But I
> realized that anytime I wanted to reinstall or redo my system
> (upgrade major version seems to work better on a fresh install on my
> systems), I would have problems with some apps due to old and
> outdated configurations in my /home directory. So every time I went
> to do a (re)install, I ended up wiping the /home directory anyway
> (after backing up my data which I never had much of).

I can't see any of my files under /home that are affected by the
Debian version except dotfiles and directories (and some of the
dotty stuff is only cache files anyway). So I can't see a reason to
wipe /home entirely.

> I really don't have a lot of data either. My /home directory is only
> me and only around 66 GB. The majority of that is configuration
> files though. My actual personal data is around 2GB total.

Can this be right? 64GB of configuration?

I just copied my dot stuff on this laptop. Usage is 136MB, plus
423MB under .cache/ of which 388MB under .cache/mozilla/

> In addition, I've written a python script to auto-install all my
> data so putting everything back on doesn't take long or much effort.

My typical desktop will have approaching 400GB under /home (they have
500GB drives). My laptops have considerably smaller drives, but there's
still much more data than I care to copy.

> Frequent backups ensure I'll always have my data no matter what. And
> so this kinda removed my need for a separate /home directory.

I backup all my systems, but not by backing up the installation
itself—I always have two installations on each machine, frequently
different generations because the production system flip flops
between the two as new Debian versions are released.

Sharing /home obviously makes sense for supporting this and it's
fairly trivial to share dotfiles between versions. As mentioned
in the recent long-running thread on release numbers, I use symlinks
named for the Debian codename where different files are required
(eg audacious, mc). I use the same method using hostname symlinks
to support shared configurations across my different machines.
To avoid any problems with Debian policies, I have always placed
the codename myself in sources.list, which seems a logical place
to me.

One complication: I've not seen a safe method of installing a
Debian system with the inclusion of an encrypted /home partition.
Since starting to use encryption, I've always installed into a
simple root partition and then set up /etc/crypttab and /etc/fstab
after booting into the new system. (I login as root, but some
people may need to boot into single user to do this.)