Gavin W. Burris on 21 Apr 2011 06:21:13 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Merging home directories

This might be helpful:

On 04/21/2011 01:38 AM, JP Vossen wrote:
>> Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 20:04:20 -0400
>> From: Gordon Dexter<>
>> I have the unenviable task of merging 5 different home directories from
>> three different computers, spanning 5 years, and I was wondering if there
>> was any tool that might simplify things.  My eventual goal is to have one
>> unified, well organized home directory that is versioned (e.g. via
>> Git) and
>> synced between multiple computers.  The last few times I've moved or
>> upgraded I just put the previous home directory as a subfolder of the
>> newer
>> one, so on one computer I have /home/gdexter/old_gdexter/older_gdexter
>> and I
>> haven't even gotten around to doing that on my newest computer.  This is
>> compounded by bad habits such as putting things on the desktop if I don't
>> know what to do with them.
>> I'd rather not lose anything, of course, but I'd also rather not go
>> through
>> each homedir item by item and manually copy or merge things.  Are there
>> tools that help you with this sort of thing?  Any suggestions to save my
>> sanity?
> Ouch.
> First, MAKE A BACKUP!!!
> Then, go through and nuke or move anything obvious.
> My next thought is to recursively md5sum all the files, then pick out
> and remove the dups, to trim it down.  (Yeah, I know md5 is old and
> broken but it's good enough for this and reasonably fast.)  That'll be
> ugly to impossible without some command line and script knowledge though.
> After that, there are some GUI tools.  Meld will help compare dirs.
> Unison will probably do that too, though it is really intended for
> merging a local to a remote dir.
> meld - graphical tool to diff and merge files
> unison-gtk - A file-synchronization tool for Unix and Windows with GTK+
> interface
> xsel - command-line tool to access X clipboard and selection buffers
> I've also used spreadsheets to do stuff like that.  You can paste file
> names into columns, and match things up.  'ls -1 | xsel -bi', flip to a
> spreadsheet and paste.
> Once I have a spreadsheet, I sometimes use formulas to create commands
> (like rm or mv) then paste those into a script to run all at once.  That
> also gives me an audit of what I did, or it lets me do something similar
> when I mess up, restore the backup, fix my mistake, and try again.
> Watch out for hidden "dot" files that may fly under the radar of some
> tools.
> Good luck,
> JP
> ----------------------------|:::======|-------------------------------
> JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|
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Gavin W. Burris
Senior Systems Programmer
Information Security and Unix Systems
School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pennsylvania
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