Shortening the rope (around RH's neck)
Posted Apr 24, 2009 18:40 UTC (Fri) by Max.Hyre
In reply to: Shortening the rope (around RH's neck)
Parent article: Shortening the rope
All you are doing is teaching people to assume and rely on the fact that "rm" will ask them before removing a file... so when they drop over to someone else's account, where this alias is not present, the potential for utter disaster is real and constant.
Would that that were the only danger. The assumption and
reliance mean that when they ``rm -r *'' and are asked
for confirmation, they'll type in `y' without
thinking—it becomes no protection at all.
Ages ago (25 years?) I worked on Datapoint systems, early
versions of microcomputers. At the time, the only
non-volatile storage was floppy disks, so we formatted and
rewrote them continually.
Their format protection was of the form (sequence of
answers real, questions forgotten, and so made up):
- Are you sure? y
- Do you really want to wipe this disk? y
- Would you like to stop now, for safety? n
- This is your last chance, do you want to continue? y
My fingers were so used to this rigmarole that
typing ``yyny'' was controlled by my
hindbrain—absolutely no thought involved. If I'd
made a mistake, I had no more chance of catching it than
if I'd typed ``# rm -rf /''.
Such mechanisms are a snare and a delusion.
FWIW: When I'm setting up some potentially disastrous
command, I always start the line with `#'. That way, if my
finger accidentally hits the <CR> key, Bash will
just say ``Ho, hum—another comment.'' When I've
built up the command to my satisfaction,
I remove the hash and send the command on its way.
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