[lug] software engineering

Sean Reifschneider jafo at tummy.com
Wed Nov 15 00:26:50 MST 2006

On Mon, Nov 13, 2006 at 04:39:08PM -0700, Evelyn Mitchell wrote:
>An example of this that we've all encountered is using the phonetic
>alphabet to read back a word that needs to be entered exactly as typed over
>the phone. "aBcd" = "lower case a as in alpha, upper case b as in bob,
>lower case charley, lower case d as in delta".

I've trained myself to notice when I'm running particularly sensitive
commands or in production environments and behave slightly differently in
certain contexts.  For example, if I'm doing a "rm -rf" or "rm *", I will
almost always give the full path to the entity I'm trying to remove.  "rm
-rf /home/jafo/Maildir-spam/*".

For example of why, years ago I ran a production-test system that
suddenly lost part of it's database files.  I spent 36 hours, because of
a snow-storm that blocked access to the necessary tapes from across town,
recovering this system.  The end result was that a user had typed
"cd / home/username/test" followed by "rm -rf *".  Note the space after the
first slash after "cd"...

I often, when running on production systems, will stop myself where I'd
normally hit enter on a command, and re-read it and really think about the
consequences of running it, before hitting enter.  This sort of "slowing
down" of the process can really prevent errors.

 Q:  What kind of dog goes "BOFH!  BOFH!"?
 A:  A rootweiler
Sean Reifschneider, Member of Technical Staff <jafo at tummy.com>
tummy.com, ltd. - Linux Consulting since 1995: Ask me about High Availability

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