Showing posts from January, 2013

IT stories from the trenches #1

I thought it might be interesting to tell some stories/vignettes that capture various lessons I learned throughout my career in IT. I call them 'stories from the trenches' because in general the lessons were acquired the hard way (but maybe that's the best way to acquire lessons...).

Here's the first one.

It was my second day on the job as a Unix system architect.

We weren't using LDAP or NIS to centralize user management so we were copying user entries in /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow from one server and pasting them on other servers that we needed new users created on.

On one of these (production) servers I typed 'ci /etc/passwd' instead of 'vi /etc/passwd'. This had the unfortunate effect of invoking the RCS check-in command line utility ci, which then moved '/etc/passwd' to a file named '/etc/passwd,v'. Instead of trying to get back the passwd file, I panicked and exited the ssh shell. Of course, at this point there was no passwd …