I have written about how I use one of my slugs to backup my internal files via rsync over ssh. Well it turns out I made a pretty silly mistake in my rsync options. I thought I’d been careful in specifying the files I specifically wanted excluded from the backup (ephemeral stuff, thumbnail images, some caches such as my browser cache etc.) but I missed one crucial directory and it bit me – and sent the slug’s load average through the roof.
GNOME 2.22 introduced GVFS, a new network-transparent virtual filesystem layer. GVFS is a userspace virtual file system with backends for protocols like SFTP and FTP. GVFS creates a (hidden) directory called .gvfs in your home directory and uses this as a mount point when you open a connection via SSH, FTP, SMB, WebDAV etc from the “Places -> Connect to Server” menu option. So if you open an SFTP connection to a server called “slug”, it will mount that connection in .gvfs. Try it yourself.
Now guess what I had mounted on my desktop at the time my rsync cron job ran. The slug spent some frantic time copying itself to itself until I noticed that it seemed to be inordinately busy, diagnosed the problem and managed to kill the rsync and clear up the mess.