After many years (4 or 5 I think) my trusty old ThinkPad T400s died. The heat at Akademy 1 was just too much for its old heart it seems.

FSFE – my employer – was kind enough to get me a new work laptop ASAP, for which I thank them; especially Matthias Kirschner, who jumped through hoops to make sure I get it within days! MK, you're a swell guy :]

I got a ThinkPad x230 and I'm quite happy with it. The only thing that bothers me 2 is that the keyboard is silly expensive. I know the keys light up, if you chose so, but come on 70 €? The old keyboard was nicer to type on, more sturdy and cost only 15 or 20 €!

The downside of getting a new laptop meant reinstalling the system and restoring backups.

As I was in hurry I had to resort to a binary distro, so I chose Mageia 3. Its community is very welcomming and nice, and it seems like a nice cross-over between noobie-friendlieness and respecting the experts' decisions on their own systems.

While waiting for the backups to restore, I did something that I wanted to do for a while already -- I tried running NixOS 4 in a VM and liked it very very much. So much that I've decided to tweak that set up in the VM until it includes all the (handful) packages I am missing in it and that all the features are set to my liking. Then I'll just replicate that config on my laptop and install it. I'm not going to go into NixOS's details here, so if you haven't yet, do read up on Nix and NixOS – that's the future of GNU/Linux! It's a bit hard to grasp at first, but brilliant!

Oh, and don't worry, I'm still running Gentoo on my ARM server and intend to continue so for some time :D

As a unwanted side-effect, this was the moment of truth of my backups! I'm happy the recovery worked very well! :]

After many solutions I tried so far, I settled down for the following two:

  • Duplicity, through the Duply wrapper and FCron for scheduling -- it encrypts the tarballs with GPG before uploading them to whereever you wish over whichever protocol (in my case my server over SSH). I found this to be a very good solution for my laptop, as it is a push system (so you don't have to rely on your laptop to be up at specific hours). If you're more of a GUI person, don't worry, Déjà Dup 5 is a nice GUI frontend for Duplicity.
  • RSnapshot and FCron -- it's a RSync-based pull system (so you have fixed times) that's very easy to recover.

hook out → sipping Ahmad Ceylon tea before bed


  1. Akademy was amazing, BTW! I thoroughly enjoyed the community, location and talks! I plan to return often! :D 

  2. I'm planning to make a Slovenian ergonomic keyboard layout, based on Neo. 

  3. Mageia is the very popular community fork of Mandriva, which is the successor of the formerlly very well known Mandrake. RPM based. 

  4. Thanks to the Nix community for the help, especially Garbas and iElectric. 

  5. In Ubuntu simply called Backup. 

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