A Webmaster Accidentally Erased His Entire Company With A Keystroke

Senior Contributor
04.14.16 11 Comments


Everybody has bad days at work. You screw up the presentation, you get the numbers wrong, you don’t file the forms on time, and not even Jeopardy! bloopers will make you feel better about yourself. But when it happens, you can take solace in this: At least you’re not Marco Marsala.

Marsala is, or rather was, a hosting provider who was writing some code for the sites he runs, and he made the mistake of using “rm -rf.” While the IT guys on here put their heads between their knees and either laugh or weep with horror, let me explain: “rm” is short for “remove,” “r” means “this directory” and “f” means “force,” which in this context means “Do not open any dialogue boxes or trigger any warnings.” This is more or less the nuclear weapon of the command line interface, and you need to be very specific about where you’re using it.

From there, you can probably put together what Marsala did. Yes, everything he has ever built is wiped away. It not only wiped the sites, it deleted all his backups. It even wiped the computers connected to his servers clean. Short of taking all his drives to a data recovery operation, his company has effectively ceased to exist.

So, the next time you spill coffee on yourself, or get cornered by the jerk coworker who wants to gloat about his sports team, just look at them and think “rm -rf.” It’ll remind you just how much worse it can get, at least until somebody at your company makes the same stupid mistake.

(Via The Independent)

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