It is possible to get taper to do unattended backups. This can be used to run taper regularly through, say, cron. Three additional preferences become important:
If a taper archive exists on the tape, then if --append-on, the files will be appended to the archive. If --append-off, then the existing archive will be overwritten.
If unrecognized data exists on the tape, then if --erase-tape-on, the unrecognized data will be overwritten. If --erase-tape-off, the data will not be overwritten and the backup session will be aborted.
If this option is not -1, then taper will only append the to this archive if it is archive "id". If some other archive's tape is in the drive, the backup will not be made and the user will be mailed about it.
It is important that these preferences are correctly set, since taper is running in unattended mode, you will not be prompted for any confirmation, rather the action will just happen.
To specify the files/directories for backup, use the -U (or --unattended-file) command line options. If the filename begins with a @, then taper interprets this to mean that a filename is a fileset and reads in the appropriate fileset.
The files/directories are backed up either as full backups or as incremental backups - it depends on what you have set via command line options, or preference files. If you haven't specified anything, then by default, incremental backups are used.
With unattended backups, it is not possible to have multi-tape backups because taper can't prompt you to insert the next tape. If the end of the tape is encountered, taper will stop the backup and send you a message.
Mail is sent to the root (can be changed in defaults.h) via the mail (can be changed in defaults.h) program about what happened during the backup.
You can use cron to automate your backup process. A line like this:
10 20 * * * taper -U @set
will cause taper to run at 20:10 (8.10pm) every day, using the fileset named set.