[TUHS] was turmoil, moving to rm -rf /

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Tue Apr 25 09:59:30 AEST 2017


This is gonna seem like I'm tooting my own horn, and I am a little, but 
here's an rm -rf / story.

Clem will be amused because I was a junior or senior in college and a sys
admin for a Masscomp with a 40MB disk with 20 users.  And I did some version
of rm -rf /, realized part way through that I screwed up, and killed it.
But /bin and /dev were gone so putting things back together was hard.

But I did it and wrote up this little note for the people who came after
me, if I was stupid enough to do this someone else would, was my thinking.
You can get a sense of how scared I was in it if you read it carefully.
It was a very long night.

For an undergrad, I think it's not bad?  Maybe?  I dunno, I look at how 
much I needed to have understood to get the system back up, that's a lot
of reading, playing, experience.  Love that Geophysics department, they
pushed me.

And it was during my (brief) foray into the *roff -me macros (I went
-ms and never looked back).  Roff source on request to anyone who is
twisted enough to want it.

http://mcvoy.com/lm/masscomp-restore.pdf

Complete with all the typos.

--lm


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