remind me ... (file undelete on FreeBSD 5.4)

Bill Vermillion bv at
Sat Nov 26 18:34:05 GMT 2005

While stranded on the shoulder of the Information Superhiway
and trying to flag down some passing bytes Oliver Fromme
said "Bits don't fail me now", and continued with:

> user <user at> wrote:
>  > ln -s /some/dir/somewhere local
>  > 
>  > (used the symlink named local for a while)

>  > rm -rf local

>  > local still exists in my current working directory, but now
>  > /some/dir/somewhere is gone.

>  > So I rm -rf'd a symlink.  I just wanted to delete the link, and of course,

> Then why did you specify the -rf options in the first place?
> UNIX usually does exactly what you tell it to do.  That's
> not a bug, it's a feature.

> I know poeple who always type "rm -rf", no matter what they
> want to delete.  It's kind of a finger alias:  Whenever they
> type "rm", their fingers automatically add "-rf".  I don't
> know what the cause of that behaviour is (maybe they're too
> lazy to think about it), but it definitely is dangerous, as
> the above example shows.  It's better to think first before
> using the -rf options, especially when there's no backup.

Slight topic drift - but related.

When your fingers automatically do certain things after a certain
pattern it's basically an autonomic reflex.  It's one finger
following another why players of musical instruments repeat hard
passages until they get them correct.  After enough practice they
don't have to work at the fingering - such as in a very complex
keyboard piece - as the finger have been trained to do certain
sequences automatically.

You've probably noticed this if you are a fast touch typist when
you go to type a word you don't use often but it starts with the
same pattern as a word you quite often.

That's part of being a human :-)


Bill Vermillion - bv @ wjv . com

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