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Like most of us, I have several machines: at home, at work, for travelling... etc. I mainly write papers or books while I code. But I'm tired of svn'ing, rsync'ing and so on, so I've decided to carry a pendrive with me, with my Ubuntu customizations (bash, emacs, ...) and at the end of the day, do a rsnapshot. My question is: how do I minimally run my home directory from a pendrive? What should I put in there?

Thanks for any input.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The answer is pretty simple :-) You should put in there your documents you are working on and the dotfiles of the applications you use.

Theres no such thing like a minimal set of files you need. If an application is missing its configuration file, it will usually create a new one like at the first start.

Which files you will need depends on the applications you use, so you are the only one who can answer this. If you are unable to trace some config files, keep an eye on the subdirectories of ~/.gnome2 or ~/.kde.

To tell the system, where the location of your new home directory is, you should just automount your pendrive to /home/username or simply change the location of your users home directory in /etc/passwd to your pendrives mountpoint.

If this doesn't fit your question, please be more specific. :-)

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I have played around with similar issues and while I have reverted back to a bunch of different got repos for configuration and the stuff I work on I have found that porting too much can also be a burden: My machines are somewhat different, some run Gentoo, at work I have to use Ubuntu, they have some hardware differences that make porting some settings actually contraproductive. Let me give an example: I have a different Wallpaper on every machine just so I know where I am. Why? Cause some things are different on each distro and I don't want to run into problems. – tante Sep 21 '10 at 20:23

Just use dropbox on Ubuntu, it's a no brainer.

Pendrives are notorious for dying at the most inopportune times, holding a home directory on one is foolhardy to say the least.

Who can be bothered doing all that file shuffling when a free tool is available. If you have concerns about security for a small number of documents, put your sensitive files in a truecrypt container within your dropbox folder.

Both tools mentioned are cross platform mac, pc, linux. I use 4 different machines/laptops at home and work and it syncs seamlessly between the lot.

To your specific point about running your home directory:

Simply create a "linux_config" type directory in dropbox. Then simply softlink your config files to the files in the dropbox.

ln -s ~/Dropbox/linux_app_config/bash_aliases ~/.bash_aliases

Repeat for any and all .profile, .bashrc etc etc..

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Have you considered using Ubuntu One to synchronize your stuff? I'd be afraid to keep my home directory on a single pendrive, I've lost too many of those.

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