For those of you who (like me) separate the root partition & user data, and don’t bother backing up the former because it’s a standard install & therefore easy to recreate: note that whilst this is in general true, it may not be in the case of
I at least have a tendency to leave a handful of Useful Scripts there, in particular in the case of server machines. It is annoying to realise that the death of Machine X has also resulted in the loss of the Useful Script you had spent some time developing.
Conclusions I have drawn from this:
1. Back up
2. Consider keeping the Useful Scripts more centrally, even if they are machine-specific in a couple of instances (I do this already with everything else I am not sure why I haven’t thought to do it for these. Some peculiar form of blind spot, evidently.)
In a further relevant note: the rescue mode of the Debian etch SPARC CD works fine, albeit quite slowly. The only real issue is that the cursor fails to show up on any of the screens so choosing the correct option is to some extent a matter of guesswork (most irritating when your guess results in hitting the “Reboot now” option rather than the “Choose another root partition” option). Useful Scripts now safely rescued, however; and backed up.