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I purchased a server for the sole purpose of familiarizing myself with the CLI so I don't get royally screwed when I enter a real development environment. However, I have some questions.

I've managed to SSH into my server, all is fine and dandy, installed LAMP too which went flawlessly. Now I'm wondering, the more changes I do, the more cluttered my server will become. Can I revert changes? I don't want to keep customizing things and installing things and just having a cluttered server overall. Where can I track changes to my system?

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A couple of suggestions. I do the first for my home computers and another for a server I help out with. All but the first and last numbered item below are related to taking backups or snapshots of where you are at a particular point in time.

  1. Whenever I install a new release I keep notes in the cloud about what I did and what packages I installed (and obviously look at the last set of notes).

  2. The server uses remarkably little disk space so I make more frequent backups when I'm busy making changes. This link has an approach similar to what I use. The basic approach has the advantage that it only uses disk space for changed files in the backups.

  3. A general approach to take. You can, and should, use a revision control system like bazaar or git with directory trees of your own that you are updating. I don't think this would work with /etc or other system directory trees, however.

Some ideas I haven't tried, the first two for taking snapshots of changes from all sources for your system:

  1. The LVM storage approach allows you to take live snapshots of disk storage at appropriate times.

  2. Linux and Ubuntu support some change-on-write file systems that can also be used as a snapshot approach. In particular you can run virtualized servers against image files that support taking snapshots.

  3. On a server you may be able to simplify the installation of services so there is less to remember or note by using Juju and Juju charms to install services.

I assume that you know from your work so far that you can uninstall packages as easily as you can install them with apt-get, and that the purge option of apt-get can be used to remove those packages' configuration files. This askubuntu question contains a way to keep a list of the packages that are installed.

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