Unix Horrors

Posted in General at 12 pm

Cam at Camworld posted a link to http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Vista/8009/unix.admin.horror..html which collects a bunch of horrid stories, the sort of things that when they happen to you (And they will!) they give make a huge pit open up in your stomach and cause your throat to plummet well into the nether regions of the earth.

It reminds me of the time when I was cleaning out a particular directory on one of the Sun boxes at Exact Interactive. Every time a Mac that was connected to the network deleted a file that actually resided on the Sun server, a temp file was created. These temp files never got cleaned up so I went in every few weeks and deleted them. Well what’s done by hand on a regular basis is sure to fail at some point.

It just so happened that one day my fingers slipped and I didn’t actually get the ‘ch’ change directory command to take, and I was still at the root when I ended up typing “rm -r *” Oh yes. Oh no. I just typed in a command that would progressively delete every singe file and sub directory on the server.

Not good.

My one saving grace was the Steve had *just* inserted a CD-ROM into the machine and it ended up mounting it’s un-writable self on the machine just after my command had finished wiping out the /bin directory. Suddenly my runaway command tried to delete each file on /cdrom and ended up stopping dead in its tracks.

The day was saved by shear luck as Steve was able to transfer the /bin from Server-B to Server-A and no one was the wiser. Steve even kept it quiet to this day.

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