There’s a really interesting thread here sparked by a discussion of a recent Linux-related utility/modification that, when it works, allows use of special video hardware on a particular Linux distribution. What didn’t work this time was that someone slipped a really ill-placed space in an install script and while the bug existed, the install deleted the entirety of /usr, which is a vital partition on the server. For windows folks, deleting /usr is like deleting C:\Program Files\.
The thread I linked above talks about not only failures but self-rescues, which I think are really interesting. Also a few of the contributing geeks talk about how it feels, which I think is an aspect that often gets lost in geek narrative. For my part I’ve also had a few failures and successes. The one I remember best was where I was rescued by my geek friends. I had been bragging that I had customized my shell with .alias and .tsch configurations and offered to help a friend out with same, but I managed in my klutziness to delete my friend’s path settings. Had to pack up and go to a geek lab to ask real geeks how to get out of that one.
I’ve certainly also deleted things I didn’t have backups for. I hate that! And I almost hate more when I go out of my way to ask a user 3 or more times if they’re sure I should delete something for them and then they decide it would be a fine joke to wait for me to say I’ve done it and say “Oh wait!”
The Metafilter link is here.