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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:
As a new system administrator
of a Unix machine with limited space I thought I was doing myself a
favor by keeping things neat and clean. One day as I was 'cleaning up'
I removed a file called 'bzero'. Strange things started to happen like
vi didn't work then the compliants started coming in. Mail didn't work.
The compilers didn't work. About this time the REAL system administrator
poked his head in and asked what I had
done. Further examination showed that bzero is the zeroed memory without which the OS had no operating space so anything using temporary memory was non-functional. The repair? Well things are tough to do when most of the utilities don't work. Eventually the REAL system administrator took the system to single user and rebuilt the system including full restores from a tape system. The Moral is don't be to anal about things you don't understand. Take the time learn what those strange files are before removeing them and screwing yourself.
My most interesting in the reguard was when I deleted "/dev/null". Of course it was soon recreated as a "regular file", then permission problems started to show up.
I was new at the game at the time and couldn't figure out what happened!
It look good to me. I didn't know about "special files" and "mknod"
and major and minor device codes. A friend finally helped out
and started laughing and put me on the right track. That one episode
taught me a lot about my system.
(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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