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Premature or misguided optimization (including cleanup of the system)

News Sysadmin Horror Stories Recommended Links Creative uses of rm Mistakes made because of the differences between various Unix/Linux flavors Missing backup horror stories Lack of testing complex, potentially destructive, commands before execution of production box Pure stupidity
Locking yourself out Premature or misguided optimization Reboot Blunders  Performing the operation on a wrong server Executing command in a wrong directory Side effects of performing operations on home or application directories Typos in the commands with disastrous consequences Side effects of patching
Multiple sysadmin working on the same box Side effects of patching of the customized server Ownership changing blunders Dot-star-errors and regular expressions blunders Excessive zeal in improving security of the system Unintended consequences of automatic system maintenance scripts LVM mishaps Abuse of privileges
Safe-rm Workaholism and Burnout Coping with the toxic stress in IT environment The Unix Haterís Handbook Tips Horror stories History Humor Etc

Changing settings without full understanding consequences of such changes. Misguided attempts to get rid of unwanted file or directories (cleaning the system).  Here are two examples of this type of horror stories:

(4) I heard this from a fellow sysadmin friend.  My friend was forced to work with some sysadmins who didn't have their act together.  One day, one of them was "cleaning" the filesytem and saw a file called "vmunix" in /. "Hmm, this is taking up a lot of space - let's delete it".  "rm /vmunix".

My friend had to reinstall the entire OS on that machine after his coworker did this "cleanup".  Ahh, the hazards of working with sysadmins who really shouldn't be sysadmins in the first place.

Moral of all these stories:  if I had to hire a Unix sysadmin, the first thing I'd look for is experience.  NOTHING can substitute for down-to-earth, real-life grungy experience in this field.


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The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D


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Last modified: March 12, 2019