How I Saved a Mac Using Ubuntu: Page 2

Strange but true: a Mac meltdown was prevented using a Linux desktop.
Posted September 25, 2012

Matt Hartley

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Now I must confess that I was very tempted to simply install Ubuntu instead. Even on the LiveCD, Ubuntu out-performed her now dated OS X release. But alas, it’s not my computer. So I obeyed her wishes and began the OS X reinstall process. First I re-prepped her hard drive using the Snow Leopard CD.

Recovery is only half the battle

With my wife's Mac back up and running, I then began the process of moving select directories back into her new home directory. The files I chose to restore were very general and had nothing to do with software or other data from the previous OS X install. No, I wanted this to be a clean restore, so I kept it simple – images, docs, music, and application specific files only.

Once again, I opted to use the terminal to restore this data. Using the same command as I used above, but in reverse, I was able to use the OS X terminal to restore my wife's data back to her Mac. After I re-installed her Adobe software, plus a few other titles, my wife was back in business, as if no serious errors had ever occurred.

Overall, I consider the entire experience to be a lesson learned. For the time being, we're using local drag and drop backups in conjunction with Time Machine. This way if something happens to Time Machine again, no harm is done. There is another backup ready to go. However, this has gotten me to thinking that it may be time to look into something like rsync for OS X, to ensure that everything is backed up properly. Not being a big OS X guy, I did some digging and was disappointed with what I found.

Time Machine is helpful in the way that say, System Restore on Windows is helpful. But I have concerns with trusting it after it failed last time. Not knocking it at all, rather saying that I'd like to add another layer of protection in our backup routine. I finally decided on doing an old fashion rsync backup to a NAS server here in my home. Yes, I will keep using Time Machine on the system, as it's a great tool.

I think that by adding rsync to the mix, this will provide a good solution that meets my wife's needs for her Mac, while ensuring her data is safe. Plus, it'll also mean I can refrain from dealing with OS X again in the near future. It's a fine OS, but it's not for me.

Closing thoughts

As I ponder back to that fateful evening, I was fortunate on a number of levels. First, Macs and Ubuntu play well together, thanks to their *Nix roots. Second, it has served as a reminder that no one method of backup for any OS should be trusted completely. If the data is important, have a plan B in place ahead of time.

The last thing I want to leave you with is this thought. There has been talk about Ubuntu putting a stop to their LiveCD.

And while there are certainly other distributions out there that offer LiveCD solutions, it would mean that Ubuntu would no longer be a viable option for data rescue. To some of you, this may not sound like a big deal. However, stop to consider how many people encounter Linux for the first time from an Ubuntu LiveCD. Sure, a LiveUSB or DVD option is still available, however for those folks with older computers, this will have a huge impact.

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Tags: Linux, Ubuntu, Apple, Mac

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