undo rm -rf * (Patrick O'Callaghan)

Patrick O'Callaghan pocallaghan at gmail.com
Sat Mar 30 05:28:16 UTC 2013

On Fri, 2013-03-29 at 21:32 -0700, Rick Walker wrote:
> "nrm -s" keeps a fine-grained horde of every deleted file - even
> multiple deletes of the same file!  The strategy works so well, that
> I'd seriously propose the .gone strategy as a kernel option.  Then all
> "unlink" calls would use the same sequencing system even if the file
> was removed by a program without "anyone typing anything". 

That's true as long as the damage was done via unlink. However a file
being overwritten is another story. That's why regular backups are
essential, as you say.

> Backups are a highly recommended and mostly orthogonal safety
> net.

I agree that the two are orthogonal. My concern about nrm and similar
tools is that they can instil a false sense of security in naive users.
Maybe I'm just paranoid, but paranoia in a sysadmin is no bad thing.

> The nrm approach also diverts lots of support requests from the
> department backup guru, and lets most users fix their own problems
> without any need for help. 

That depends somewhat on how restores are handled. On many systems the
backup appears as a mounted read-only filesystem mirroring the live
system, in which case restoring is as simple as the "cp .gone/..."
example you give. That's how I do it at least.


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