Subject: Re: /var/cron -> /etc/cron
To: Gandhi woulda smacked you <>
From: Curt Sampson <>
List: current-users
Date: 04/08/1999 17:12:35
On Wed, 7 Apr 1999, Gandhi woulda smacked you wrote:

> If I understand that the trend is toward not having to back up /var,
> then mailers will be required to offload mail from /var/mail.

That argument makes no sense to me; crontabs and mailboxes just
aren't the same kind of files.

Crontabs change infrequently. (If you've got a crontab changing
that frequently, at jobs better suit your purpose.) Therefore if
you back up your crontabs and then lose them, it's very likely that
you have an exactly copy backed up somewhere, and can restore it
with no loss.

Mailboxes, on the other hand, change constantly. Even if you back
them up once per day, you are basically *guaranteed* to lose data
should you lose the mailbox directory. 

As well, your system will continue to function normally if you lose
all the mail that's arrived up to some particular point in time.
Losing crontabs, on the other hand can range from a minor inconvenience
(you don't get daily security reports) to disaster (your news server
explodes or shuts down within 24 hours of the loss).

So there's really no point in getting as worried abou the backup
of mail as you would about your crontabs.

> .../var/named?  Unless you put your named configuration someplace else.
> I moved it out of /etc because I didn't think it belonged there.

Ah, I'm beginning to see that you work on different principles than
hier. If you're already having to move stuff out of /etc and into
/var, what's the problem with adding cron to the list, aside from
slightly more inconvenience? It seems worthwhile given that it
makes the system more consistent for those who don't or shouldn't
use /var for configuration information.

> Alternately, maybe we should just make /etc its own filesystem...

What do you mean, `we'? That's something any sysadmin can do, just
as he can make /usr its own filesystem.

Curt Sampson  <>   604 801 5335   De gustibus, aut bene aut nihil.
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