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Novice sysadmins usually do not realize that '.*' also matches '..' often with disastrous consequences if commands like chmod, chown, rm are used recursively or in find command.
From: robjohn@ocdis01.UUCP (Contractor Bob Johnson)
Organization: Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma
Another horror story (mine this time)...
Cleaning out an old directory, I did 'rm *', then noticed several files
that began with dot (.profile, etc) still there. So, in a fit of obtuse
brilliance, I typed...
rm -rf .* &
By the time I got it stopped, it had chewed through 3 filesystems which
all had to be restored from tape (.* expands to ../*, and the -r makes
it keep walking up the directory tree). Live and learn...
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob J. Nauta)
email@example.com (Marc Fraioli) writes:
>Well, here's a good one for you:
> I was happily churning along developing something on a Sun workstation,
>and was getting a number of annoying permission denieds from trying to
>write into a directory heirarchy that I didn't own. Getting tired of
>that, I decided to set the permissions on that subtree to 777 while I
>was working, so I wouldn't have to worry about it.
At my previous employer, the sysadmin would create new user accounts by
hand by editing the passwd file, create a home dir, put some files in
it, and chown '*' and '.*' to that new user. Thus, /home/machine
was also chowned ('.*' also matches '..'). It was quite handy to see
who was added last, but after a while i slipped him the hint to
chown '.Ua-z~*' which works much better of course.
But the stories told now are more folklore than real horror. Having read
2 Stephen Kings this weekend I beg everyone to tell more interesting
stories, about demons, the system clock running backwards, old files
reappearing etc !
My mistake on SunOS (with OpenWindows) was to try and clean up all the
'.*' directories in /tmp. Obviously "rm -rf /tmp/*" missed these, so I
was very careful and made sure I was in /tmp and then executed
"rm -rf ./.*".
I will never do this again. If I am in any doubt as to how a wildcard
will expand I will echo it first.
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