as we have a discussion ongoing about setting up a new PC, I thought I could jump in with my current issue : I have retired my laptop and bought a desktop PC. Gone through the fresh installation process (once every 12 years is OK to declutter a bit), and rsync'ed my home directory (parts of it, mostlyskipped ~/.local and~/.config where I found some 10-20 years old files from programs I used once but never since).
Now I still want to use my laptop when I'm on the road, which happens rather seldomly (once every 2 weeks), i.e. have my files, my bookmarks etc available on my laptop. Also not only have to sync my /home/$USER but also /root and some more mountpoints (source code, website stuff, audio, video, pictures), totaling around 1.5TB of data
I've been playing around with rsync and adding many many exclude rules to
a) limit the amount of files being transferred (eg exclude ~/.cache, browser's cache, thunderbird's imap cache etc) so I can keep an overview if something is getting overwritten that I don't want
b) keep certain files (especially XFCE config etc) distinct as eg I have 2 monitors on my PC vs only 1 on the laptop -> different menus, window settings etc
Now this is pretty tedious, initial rsync's dry-run showed ~700k files that would be sync'ed, which I brought down to 1k after several iterations and adjustment of exclude settings, and this is so far my first run - currently using my laptop and will sync back when I'm home again... let's see how many files will differ then !
So I'm looking for more easy-to-use alternatives. Most important thing : I want dry-run functionality to prevent unwanted data loss, which means automatic sync tools are not the way to go ! I think synthing is such a candidate, unless I missed the dry-run option somewhere. Have used unison many many years ago, but I think it was also not perfect and had issues handling thousands/millions of files. Heard of some new systemd homesync (?), but didn't have a look at it now, sounds also like it automatically syncs.
Any thoughts / recommendations / advices ?