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Thread: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

  1. #11
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    Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    From the manpage:

    Code:
           --exclude-special-files
                  Exclude all device files, fifo files, socket  files,  and  sym‐
                  bolic links.
    If that isn't clear, then you are lacking some basic knowledge. It is extremely clear to administrators.

    What manual are you using if not the manpage on your system, for the exact version of rdiff-backup being used? The local manpage should be the primary source of information for every command.

    I've already said to exclude everything and include what you want backed up. For some reason you've decided to reject that idea. Good luck.
    Your'e correct, I'm not a Linux server expert, my server is mainly for storing large amounts of data (which would otherwise be too large to fit on a laptop), in addition to a Plex Media Server and Nextcloud. I've also implemented other things such as SSH with keys and remote desktop with NoMachine. The only other thing I would like to add is backups.

    I have no idea what fifo and socket files are and when I looked into symlinks I got confused by soft and hard symlinks (I'm used to Windows shortcuts or Mac aliases).

    I didnt reject your idea about excluding everything and including what I want backed up, its simply the fact that I had already created the exclude list and was trying to understand how it worked. It also meant I didn't have the extra work of having to negate the list I had already created.

    I am more than happy to try your idea, but if I can't make sense of the exclude list then what's to say I will be able to make sense of the include list !?

    It would be more useful if you could explain the issues Im having with the exclude list so that I can then implement your suggestion to exclude everything and include what I want backed up

    I've already taken your useful advice about a) pulling backups rather than pushing and b) using rdiff-backup rather than rsync.

    I was hoping for a little support to understand these exclude and include lists as thats the final hurdle thats blocking me.

    The manual I have been using is on the rdiff-backup website....

    https://rdiff-backup.net/docs/rdiff-backup.1.html

    The server is running version 2.0.0 and the Mac is running 2.0.5

    I do get a warning about the different versions, but again, not being a linux expert I don't know how to upgrade the server version or downgrade the Mac version
    Last edited by freeflyjohn; August 4th, 2021 at 08:28 PM.

  2. #12
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    Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    I don't have any interest in figuring out how to make exclude lists work on a Mac or even on Linux. I don't use them. Never tried using specific file lists for either include or exclude purposes. I fall into the practical solution group, not the it must work this way based on my reading of the manual group. Sorry.

    Understanding what special files are isn't too important for backups except that those really should never be included, ever, in a backup. Just add the option not to include them. Trust me.

    For fun, run this command: cat /dev/urandom That is a special file. What happens? How long does it take? The other special files bring similar issues for backup programs. They can be located anywhere on a file system, not just in /dev/. Running programs will sometimes create FIFOs as a way to communicate between multiple processes. I'd done that in a few of my solutions. A backup tool wouldn't like that much at all. It would choke and never end. A 5 minute backup would become a 45day backup - the reboot would end it.

    I have both plex and nextcloud servers. I don't trust either to manage any data and generally provide just read-only access to the files they access.

    Don't use website man pages. Use the manpages on your system. Those aren't likely to be for the version that you have installed. BTW, 20.04 and later rdiff-backup changed to python3. It is incompatible with a python2 client. Just be aware. The incompatibility is purely in the python versions, not the rdiff-backup code. Because I run older servers, I ended up porting the python2 and rdiff-backup dependencies to 20.04 for compatibility. I'll need to keep that until all my systems are to 20.04 or later, which is probably at least a year away.

  3. #13
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    Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    I don't have any interest in figuring out how to make exclude lists work on a Mac or even on Linux. I don't use them. Never tried using specific file lists for either include or exclude purposes. I fall into the practical solution group, not the it must work this way based on my reading of the manual group. Sorry.

    Understanding what special files are isn't too important for backups except that those really should never be included, ever, in a backup. Just add the option not to include them. Trust me.

    For fun, run this command: cat /dev/urandom That is a special file. What happens? How long does it take? The other special files bring similar issues for backup programs. They can be located anywhere on a file system, not just in /dev/. Running programs will sometimes create FIFOs as a way to communicate between multiple processes. I'd done that in a few of my solutions. A backup tool wouldn't like that much at all. It would choke and never end. A 5 minute backup would become a 45day backup - the reboot would end it.

    I have both plex and nextcloud servers. I don't trust either to manage any data and generally provide just read-only access to the files they access.

    Don't use website man pages. Use the manpages on your system. Those aren't likely to be for the version that you have installed. BTW, 20.04 and later rdiff-backup changed to python3. It is incompatible with a python2 client. Just be aware. The incompatibility is purely in the python versions, not the rdiff-backup code. Because I run older servers, I ended up porting the python2 and rdiff-backup dependencies to 20.04 for compatibility. I'll need to keep that until all my systems are to 20.04 or later, which is probably at least a year away.
    OK I'll try with include lists instead of exclude lists

    Maybe I'm being naive, but I would have though exclude lists work the same way as include lists, only they are negated ?

    Are you saying I should use the --exclude-special-files option as well then ? So I just need to add this to the command line ? i.e.

    Code:
    rdiff-backup -v5 --exclude-special-files --exclude-globbing-filelist ~/.rdiff-backup/exclude_list.txt myname@macbookpro.fritz.box::/Users/myname /media/storage/Backup/Mac/rdiff-backup/myname
    Like I said, I just want to bakcup my personal data at this stage, I'm less interested in backing up system files at the moment.

    I can always re-install an OS if system files are lost, but I will never be able to restore personal data if that is lost.

    PS. the principle of rdiff-backup seems similar to the tool SVN which I have used extensively in my job over the last 10 years for version control.

    PPS. I tried the command cat /dev/urandom and it just spat out lots of garbage in the terminal window which I had to CTRL-C to stop ! As an embedded software and controls engineer, I understand FIFO being first in first out. But when it comes to Linux I've only just scratched the surface, hence the reason for posting on this forum for help
    Last edited by freeflyjohn; August 4th, 2021 at 09:46 PM.

  4. #14
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    Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    I'm suggesting that you not use any list of files at all and use --exclude and include as shown in post #3 above, in the order shown.

    A pattern to exclude dot files/directories is
    Code:
    --exclude ignorecase:'**/.[a-z0-9]*'
    If you only want a single HOME directory, then list that in the --includes.
    Code:
    rdiff-backup
           --exclude-special-files \
           --exclude '**/.[a-Z0-9]*'  \
           --include /Users/myname/rdiff_test  \
           --exclude '**'   backup3288@${remote-machine}::/ \ 
           /Backups/${remote-machine}
    That seems much easier to me.

    If you only want to include:
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Documents
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Downloads
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Movies
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Music
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Pictures
    and nothing else,
    Code:
    rdiff-backup
           --exclude-special-files \
           --exclude '**/.[a-Z0-9]*'  \
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Documents  \
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Downloads  \ 
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Movies  \
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Music  \
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Pictures \ 
           --exclude '**'   backup3288@${remote-machine}::/ \ 
           /Backups/${remote-machine}
    Does that not work?

  5. #15
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    Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    I'm suggesting that you not use any list of files at all and use --exclude and include as shown in post #3 above, in the order shown.

    A pattern to exclude dot files/directories is
    Code:
    --exclude ignorecase:'**/.[a-z0-9]*'
    If you only want a single HOME directory, then list that in the --includes.
    Code:
    rdiff-backup
           --exclude-special-files \
           --exclude '**/.[a-Z0-9]*'  \
           --include /Users/myname/rdiff_test  \
           --exclude '**'   backup3288@${remote-machine}::/ \ 
           /Backups/${remote-machine}
    That seems much easier to me.

    If you only want to include:
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Documents
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Downloads
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Movies
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Music
    + /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Pictures
    and nothing else,
    Code:
    rdiff-backup
           --exclude-special-files \
           --exclude '**/.[a-Z0-9]*'  \
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Documents  \
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Downloads  \ 
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Movies  \
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Music  \
           --include  /Users/myname/rdiff_test/source/Pictures \ 
           --exclude '**'   backup3288@${remote-machine}::/ \ 
           /Backups/${remote-machine}
    Does that not work?
    Thanks TheFu, I see what you are saying now and will try your suggestion.

    The original reason for using a file list was to avoid having a long string for the command line and to make the excludes and includes easier to work with and more readable.

    I used rsycn with a file list and it worked without any problems, so its strange that rdiff-backup doesn't seem to work the same way with a separate file list ?

    I have recently created a bash .sh script for the rdiff-backup command, so a long command string will not be an issue now.

    And the way you have shown how to add each include on separate lines (by terminating with the \ character) makes it much more readable and maintainable than a long command string.

    So just for my understanding, these first two lines exclude EVERYTHING and the lines after explicitly include the folders to backup ?

    Code:
           --exclude-special-files \
           --exclude '**/.[a-Z0-9]*'  \

  6. #16
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    Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    Hmmmm.... I cant seem to get that to work either.

    And this time I'm testing it on the server (rather than the Mac)

    When I run the script below:

    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    rdiff-backup -v5 --print-statistics \
            --exclude-special-files \
            --exclude '**/.[a-Z0-9]*'  \
            --include  /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Desktop \
            --include  /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Documents \
            --include  /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Downloads \
            --include  /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Movies \
            --include  /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Music \
            --include  /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Pictures \
            /home/myname/rdiff-test/source \
            /home/myname/rdiff-test/backup
    I get a whole load of errors:

    Code:
    Using rdiff-backup version 2.0.0
        with cpython /usr/bin/python3 version 3.8.10
        on Linux-5.4.0-80-generic-x86_64-with-glibc2.29, fs encoding utf-8
    Found interrupted initial backup. Removing...
    Unable to import win32security module. Windows ACLs
    not supported by filesystem at /home/myname/rdiff-test/source
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Detected abilities for source (read only) file system:
      Access control lists                         On
      Extended attributes                          On
      Windows access control lists                 Off
      Case sensitivity                             On
      Escape DOS devices                           Off
      Escape trailing spaces                       Off
      Mac OS X style resource forks                Off
      Mac OS X Finder information                  Off
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Unable to import win32security module. Windows ACLs
    not supported by filesystem at /home/myname/rdiff-test/backup/rdiff-backup-data/rdiff-backup.tmp.0
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Detected abilities for destination (read/write) file system:
      Ownership changing                           Off
      Hard linking                                 On
      fsync() directories                          On
      Directory inc permissions                    On
      High-bit permissions                         On
      Symlink permissions                          Off
      Extended filenames                           On
      Windows reserved filenames                   Off
      Access control lists                         On
      Extended attributes                          On
      Windows access control lists                 Off
      Case sensitivity                             On
      Escape DOS devices                           Off
      Escape trailing spaces                       Off
      Mac OS X style resource forks                Off
      Mac OS X Finder information                  Off
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Backup: escape_dos_devices = 0
    Backup: escape_trailing_spaces = 0
    Exception 'bad character range a-Z at position 7' raised of class '<class 're.error'>':
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 390, in error_check_Main
        Main(arglist)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 412, in Main
        take_action(rps)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 348, in take_action
        Backup(rps[0], rps[1])
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 429, in Backup
        backup_set_select(rpin)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 456, in backup_set_select
        rpin.conn.backup.SourceStruct.set_source_select(rpin, select_opts,
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/backup.py", line 76, in set_source_select
        sel.ParseArgs(tuplelist, filelists)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/selection.py", line 255, in ParseArgs
        self.add_selection_func(self.glob_get_sf(arg, 0))
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/selection.py", line 612, in glob_get_sf
        sel_func = self.glob_get_normal_sf(glob_str, include)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/selection.py", line 679, in glob_get_normal_sf
        glob_comp_re = re_comp(b"^%b($|/)" % self.glob_to_re(glob_str))
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/selection.py", line 676, in re_comp
        return re.compile(r, re.S)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/re.py", line 252, in compile
        return _compile(pattern, flags)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/re.py", line 304, in _compile
        p = sre_compile.compile(pattern, flags)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/sre_compile.py", line 764, in compile
        p = sre_parse.parse(p, flags)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/sre_parse.py", line 948, in parse
        p = _parse_sub(source, state, flags & SRE_FLAG_VERBOSE, 0)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/sre_parse.py", line 443, in _parse_sub
        itemsappend(_parse(source, state, verbose, nested + 1,
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/sre_parse.py", line 598, in _parse
        raise source.error(msg, len(this) + 1 + len(that))
    
    
    Traceback (most recent call last):
      File "/usr/bin/rdiff-backup", line 32, in <module>
        rdiff_backup.Main.error_check_Main(sys.argv[1:])
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 390, in error_check_Main
        Main(arglist)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 412, in Main
        take_action(rps)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 348, in take_action
        Backup(rps[0], rps[1])
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 429, in Backup
        backup_set_select(rpin)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/Main.py", line 456, in backup_set_select
        rpin.conn.backup.SourceStruct.set_source_select(rpin, select_opts,
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/backup.py", line 76, in set_source_select
        sel.ParseArgs(tuplelist, filelists)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/selection.py", line 255, in ParseArgs
        self.add_selection_func(self.glob_get_sf(arg, 0))
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/selection.py", line 612, in glob_get_sf
        sel_func = self.glob_get_normal_sf(glob_str, include)
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/selection.py", line 679, in glob_get_normal_sf
        glob_comp_re = re_comp(b"^%b($|/)" % self.glob_to_re(glob_str))
      File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/rdiff_backup/selection.py", line 676, in re_comp
        return re.compile(r, re.S)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/re.py", line 252, in compile
        return _compile(pattern, flags)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/re.py", line 304, in _compile
        p = sre_compile.compile(pattern, flags)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/sre_compile.py", line 764, in compile
        p = sre_parse.parse(p, flags)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/sre_parse.py", line 948, in parse
        p = _parse_sub(source, state, flags & SRE_FLAG_VERBOSE, 0)
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/sre_parse.py", line 443, in _parse_sub
        itemsappend(_parse(source, state, verbose, nested + 1,
      File "/usr/lib/python3.8/sre_parse.py", line 598, in _parse
        raise source.error(msg, len(this) + 1 + len(that))
    re.error: bad character range a-Z at position 7
    I removed the lines from the script file and added them back one by one and found the issue is with this line, it must be a syntax error somewhere ?

    Code:
            --exclude '**/.[a-Z0-9]*'  \
    The error appears to state:

    Code:
    Exception 'bad character range a-Z at position 7' raised of class '<class 're.error'>':
    Last edited by freeflyjohn; August 5th, 2021 at 10:14 AM.

  7. #17
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    Question Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    OK, I seem to have fixed the syntax error by changing:

    Code:
    --exclude '**/.[a-Z0-9]*'  \
    to:

    Code:
     --exclude ignorecase:'**/.[a-z0-9]*' \


    So the script file is now:

    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    rdiff-backup -v5 --print-statistics \
            --exclude-special-files \
            --exclude ignorecase:'**/.[a-z0-9]*' \
            --include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Desktop \
            --include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Documents \
            --include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Downloads \
            --include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Movies \
            --include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Music \
            --include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Pictures \
            /home/myname/rdiff-test/source \
            /home/myname/rdiff-test/backup
    However, for some reason none of the include folders specified are in the backup.

    The backup is empty, other than the rdiff-backup-data folder.

    So why aren't the include folders being, included ?

    This is the error...

    Code:
    ./rdiff_test_local.sh 
    Using rdiff-backup version 2.0.0
    	with cpython /usr/bin/python3 version 3.8.10
    	on Linux-5.4.0-80-generic-x86_64-with-glibc2.29, fs encoding utf-8
    Found interrupted initial backup. Removing...
    Unable to import win32security module. Windows ACLs
    not supported by filesystem at /home/myname/rdiff-test/source
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Detected abilities for source (read only) file system:
      Access control lists                         On
      Extended attributes                          On
      Windows access control lists                 Off
      Case sensitivity                             On
      Escape DOS devices                           Off
      Escape trailing spaces                       Off
      Mac OS X style resource forks                Off
      Mac OS X Finder information                  Off
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Unable to import win32security module. Windows ACLs
    not supported by filesystem at /home/myname/rdiff-test/backup/rdiff-backup-data/rdiff-backup.tmp.0
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Detected abilities for destination (read/write) file system:
      Ownership changing                           Off
      Hard linking                                 On
      fsync() directories                          On
      Directory inc permissions                    On
      High-bit permissions                         On
      Symlink permissions                          Off
      Extended filenames                           On
      Windows reserved filenames                   Off
      Access control lists                         On
      Extended attributes                          On
      Windows access control lists                 Off
      Case sensitivity                             On
      Escape DOS devices                           Off
      Escape trailing spaces                       Off
      Mac OS X style resource forks                Off
      Mac OS X Finder information                  Off
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Backup: escape_dos_devices = 0
    Backup: escape_trailing_spaces = 0
    Fatal Error: Last selection expression:
        Command-line include glob: b'/home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Pictures'
    only specifies that files be included.  Because the default is to
    include all files, the expression is redundant.  Exiting because this
    probably isn't what you meant.

    Last edited by freeflyjohn; August 5th, 2021 at 10:34 AM.

  8. #18
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    Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    Where's the my
    Code:
    --exclude '**'
    ?????
    That's what excludes everything. Order matters. Details matter. I can promise you that the example in post #3 works on a v1.2.x rdiff-backup.

  9. #19
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    Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    Thanks TheFu..... AT LAST ITS WORKING !

    Well... I tested using the empty dummy folders and it worked. I've just started the REAL backup and that will need to run overnight.

    When I was testing I was using local source and local destination paths on the server, rather than using a remote source path via SSH, so this is why I had left your remote line out in addition to the --exclude '**' (not knowing what it meant)...

    [CODE]
    --exclude '**' backup3288@${remote-machine}::/ \
    [\CODE]

    Since correcting this, the local test bash script now looks like this:

    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    rdiff-backup -v5 --print-statistics \
    	--exclude-special-files \
    	--exclude ignorecase:'**/.[a-z0-9]*' \
            --include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Desktop \
    	--include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Documents \
    	--include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Downloads \
    	--include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Movies \
    	--include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Music \
            --include /home/myname/rdiff-test/source/Pictures \
    	--exclude '**' /home/myname/rdiff-test/source \
    	/home/myname/rdiff-test/backup
    And for the real backup using a remote source path via SSH it looks like this:

    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    rdiff-backup -v5 --print-statistics \
    	--exclude-special-files \
    	--exclude ignorecase:'**/.[a-z0-9]*' \
            --exclude /Users/myname/Documents/Microsoft\ User\ Data \
    	--exclude /Users/myname/Documents/Parallels \
            --exclude /Users/myname/Downloads/svn \
            --include /Users/myname/Desktop \
    	--include /Users/myname/Documents \
    	--include /Users/myname/Downloads \
    	--include /Users/myname/Movies \
    	--include /Users/myname/Music \
            --include /Users/myname/Pictures \
    	--exclude '**' myname@macbookpro.fritz.box::/Users/myname \
    	/media/storage/Backup/Mac/rdiff-backup/myname
    One final thing, what does the line --exclude '**' prior to the source path do, I don't understand it ?

    All the excludes are done at the top of the script, followed by the includes.

    But then the source path its preceded by --exclude '**' ?

    PS. I find your implementation of excluding everything then including the paths I want backed up much easier. As well as doing it all in the command line within the bash script, rather than having to handle both the bash script AND the exclude file list which was harder to maintain. So thanks again for explaining this.

  10. #20
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    Re: rdiff-backup: how to exclude hidden files and folders ?

    Plug the command into explainshell.com and learn.

    Remember when I said the order matters?

    The base command is this:
    Code:
    $ rdiff-backup myname@macbookpro.fritz.box::/Users/myname /media/storage/Backup/Mac/rdiff-backup/myname
         command                  {source}                              {target}
    The source is myname@macbookpro.fritz.box::/Users/myname, but you don't want the entire source tree, just specific directories which are in --include parameters.

    The --exclude '**' says to NOT include what the source says. It says exclude everything. Put that before the --includes and nothing will get backed up. The order of the include/exclude options matters. I've not tried this, but the source could be /tmp, perhaps? Maybe that would work? I have doubts. Never tried it. Maybe that would be clearer?

    Then we prepend the --includes so something is included. Without the --exclude '**', everything in the {source} gets included so all the includes, which are below the source, get included. It is redundant and causes an error (see above).

    You said you didn't want **any** dot files or directories. I think this is a bad idea, but it's your system and your recovery. To me, those hold the settings that make a system "mine". I want them in the restore, though I don't want any cache or temporary files and some web 'local storage' files which get used for advertising tracking. But this is your system, not mine.

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