Re: Help! Accidentally started deleting /usr
On Sun, 8 Apr 2001, Mark Phillips wrote:
> > Good lord, please NO. Having an "undelete," IMHO, leads to very
> > sloppy practices - better to learn to make backups of important
> > data - and to use the root account with care.
> That kind of argument is like saying you shouldn't bring life-jackets
> when you go sailing, because that encourages bad sailing practices!
Wrong - to use a tired cliche, you're mixing apples and oranges.
People have been using *nix systems for years, and not one *nix
variant has a system undelete feature. Has that crossed your mind?
> Of course it's good to be careful (and generally I am), but
> occasionally everyone slips up and if a feature could be added which
> would save the day under that kind of circumstance ___and___ if it
> doesn't cause any problems or inefficiencies itself, then why not add
The thing is, a system undelete would likely cause problems or
> You are right that it's good not to be sloppy. Even when you're not
> root it's good not to be sloppy. If we __really__ wanted to encourage
> users not to be sloppy we would make people run as root all the time
> (much like MS Windows)! Because then people would know that any
> mistake would have serious consequences which would be good motivation
> to be less sloppy. The point is, that sloppiness is related to risk
> factor. The more risk, the more care you need to take. By itself, I
> don't think it is a good argument to say we should not reduce the risk
> because people may take less care. If the risk is lowered, less care
> is needed!
My main concern here is: where does the hand-holding end? If we
decide that the average user is too stupid to make backups and
protect their own data, then why not have a double-confirm for
deletion like some inane operating systems? How about having to
type the root password every time you want to delete a file? Or
having a big flashing red screen appear that tells you "DANGER
DELETING A FILE MAKES IT UNUSABLE!"
Let's be serious here - you've had one minor incident with deleting
something, and instead of learning from the experience you're saying
that the Debian team should whip up an undelete to protect you from
yourself, instead of being responsible for your own backups.
> The only way I can see your argument might work is as
> follows. An undelete function would not work in the case of a nearly
> full drive. If people became sloppy, relying on the ability to
> undelete, they could be burned when the drive becomes nearly full.
> But I don't see this as really being any worse a danger than the
> current situation. And besides, as well as adding an undelete
> feature, it would be possible, when the disk gets near to full, to
> have rm warn not to rely on undelete and ask for a confirmation of
What if the undelete doesn't work properly? The more complex a system
is, the more danger or failure. Then when you've stopped making backups,
and your undelete doesn't work - what will you do then?
Unfortunately, I have enough experience with Windows and MS-DOS to
know that undelete features do not always work.
Also, what about the occasion where you delete a file without realizing
it? Or when you have a total system crash and, since you have
this wonderful undelete feature, you've never bothered to make backups?
> As for backups --- yes they're a good idea, but my practice is to only
> backup /home stuff and /etc stuff. If I lose the rest, it can always
> be recovered with a reinstall. Having an undelete feature would
> reduce the number of cases where a reinstall was necessary.
I could be snippy, and say that knowing what you're doing as root
would almost completely get rid of cases of having to reinstall...
But seriously, backups aren't just "a good idea," they're absolutely
critical if your data is at all important.
> It's not just stupidity, we all slip occasionally. I had been working
> on the computer all day and my brain was a bit tired when it made me
> mistakenly type "usr" when I meant to type "tmp".
Yes, most people do make mistakes. I still think it's infinitely
more productive to learn to make backups than rely on more complex
systems to protect me from myself.
> > There were some good suggestions, though - make an alias from
> > rm to 'rm -i' so that you always get prompted against making
> > massive mistakes.
> I have done that in the past. But it is a pain to work with ---
> having to confirm everything! Sometimes with this set, you get into
> the habit of confirming everything automatically so it may not always
> help. An undelete function would be much less of a pain to work with,
> and would do a better job.
Now you're just whining. Sorry to be blunt, but you're basically
refusing to learn from your own mistakes.
> I don't have the luxury of a CD burner. I backup to the hard drive of
> another machine. I don't have room to do a full backup, but a backup
> of the important bits should be enough to recover --- just that it
> might take a little longer. An undelete feature would mean a
> reduction in the number of circumstances where this "longer
> restoration effort" was required.
If your data is important, then a CD burner or tape drive isn't
a luxury - it's a requirement. And I wouldn't trust my files to
an undelete feature - and neither should you!
And, you seem to be arguing from the position that you're going
to be screwing up a lot - how many times in the next year do you
intend to delete important files accidentally? Every other week?
Seriously, it may be "a pain" but you'd be better off learning
how to use the system instead of trying to argue that it should
be changed to meet your habits.
Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier
"It's true what they say...you can never go home again, but I guess
you can shop there." -- Martin Blank "Grosse Point Blank"