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513 comments

heehee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709087)

:P

...vs Magnet vs Tossage (4, Funny)

molywi (136881) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709091)

I prefer the magnet or throwing the disk out the window.

The medium tech solution (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709284)

Microwave the drive... works everytime. If the room is dark, you're in for watching some serious fireworks!

openbsd rm (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709095)

openbsd has rm -P which will overwrite the bytes of the 3 times

Re:openbsd rm (5, Informative)

Ice_Balrog (612682) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709221)

Linux and other *NIXes also have shred, which can do that and a bunch of other things.

For instance, 'shred -u -z file' will overwrite that file 25 times with random bits, overwrite it with all zeros to hide the shreading, then remove the file.

'info shred' (or 'man shred' for less detail) for more info on how to use shred.

An interesting topic, at last!! (2, Interesting)

faragon (789704) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709097)

Well, without the verbose/interactive flag, it's quite more dangerous the 'rm' approach, still the word 'format' itself it is, subjectively, less musical than 'remove'.

Re:An interesting topic, at last!! (3, Interesting)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709244)

Whatever the issue is it does prove one thing... Windows' System File Restore doesn't actually work too well. I mean you can easily delete NTLDR.dll and XP won't replace it. And this test shows that windows won't replace dlls if you start deleting things en masse. I know it sounds like common knowledge but some people honestly believe that system restore on Windows is the greatest thing ever and cannot be defeated. Go figure.

rm -fr / (0, Offtopic)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709098)

Yeah, that's pretty much how I felt when I saw this mornings election results. :-(

Re:rm -fr / (1, Funny)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709112)

For a second I read that as

rm .fr

as in "remove france"

Re:rm -fr / (2, Funny)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709135)

You never know - he might do it. This time he has popular support.

Re:rm -fr / (2, Funny)

Jogar the Barbarian (5830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709163)

He's got my vote!

Now pass the freedom fries!

Re:rm -fr / (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709238)

Perhaps if you had listened to them you wouldnt be in the shithole that you are now. Oh well, you cant keep an American away from oil, can you.

Re:rm -fr / (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709280)

Where are my mod pts when I need them... "Quatre ans! Putain!"

Ok (-1, Redundant)

mpost4 (115369) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709099)

There is a guy that has to much time, but hay were would we be if people did not have to much time (read no linux) But it is nice to know what happens, I do not have the guts to try it myself I am glad some one else did and reported what happend.

BUSH SUCKS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709100)

If you voted for bush, you deserve to be shot in the head

4 more years (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709114)

that all I say 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years 4 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years 4 more years more years 4 more years, you danm libs are going ot be exicuted now. good by, your only chance is to flee to france or canadia

Re:4 more years (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709141)

the only executions going on are your GI's dying in Iraq, the rest of the world is still laughing

Re:4 more years (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709146)

When we drop the nukes on your heads who will be laughing???? mahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

Re:4 more years (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709210)

Will there be anyone left to do the laughing?

Re:4 more years (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709216)

ME!! I will be left to laugh at your dead ass

Re:4 more years (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709267)

Dick Cheeny.

Re:BUSH SUCKS (-1, Offtopic)

Deusy (455433) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709227)

If you voted for bush, you deserve to be shot in the head

If only they had a syrum containing knowledge, then this would be a viable stance.

(Shot... get it?)

Re:BUSH SUCKS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709294)

Move to France.

nigarity ensues (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709102)

fizzark to the izark

A more appropriate shootout (5, Insightful)

cyborch (524661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709103)

would be 'mkfs /dev/hda1' vs 'format c:'

Re:A more appropriate shootout (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709136)

actually, I think they should have replaced the "format c:" with "Deltree /y c:\*", because even the most inept tend to know that "format" will hose their drives.

deltree (2, Informative)

cbr2702 (750255) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709173)

I'm pretty sure they removed deltree from winXP.

Re:deltree (4, Informative)

another_henry (570767) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709185)

They did, but you can replicate the behaviour with
RD /S
Also,
DEL /S
has a similar but not identical effect.

Re:A more appropriate shootout (1)

DarkSarin (651985) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709223)

I was thinking the exact same thing--trouble is, most people don't really know about either (of course the ones who don't probably don't know about rm -rf either).

Stupid clueless users.

Re:A more appropriate shootout (3, Funny)

Mjlner (609829) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709233)

If you would've bothered to RTFM:
"I know that "format c:" and "rm -Rf /" aren't equivalent, but they usually are interchangeable punchlines to jokes, which is why they were chosen."

This comparison is mostly to check how well you can get a n00b to screw up his system, which is notoriously done with format and rm.

Re:A more appropriate shootout (1)

goober1473 (714415) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709254)

I agree, the rm -fr option would (if root) delete all data on all mounted filesystems on how many disks? format c:, well it effects 1 disk.

This election thingy seems to be making me suffer a slow news day.

Before they got slashdotted.. (4, Funny)

pigeon (909) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709106)

they apparently did a rm -rf / on their webserver..

text (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709140)

format c:

There's a nerdy idea floating around that you can tell an uninformed Windows user to type "format c:" in the Run dialog to solve their problems. This is perpetuated in office jokes and comics among other places, but how many people have actually tried to destroy their using "format c:".

I made a goal for myself to find out what would happen if I ran "format c:" on a freshly installed Windows system and decided to compare it to the equally notorious "rm -Rf /" in Linux. Besides noting how effectively I could trash the system, I wanted to see how the operating system responded, and what it took to be able to destroy the system. I know that "format c:" and "rm -Rf /" aren't equivalent, but they usually are interchangeable punchlines to jokes, which is why they were chosen.

Read more for the destruction of two perfectly good operating system installations.

My target OSes were Windows XP Pro and Ubuntu Linux, both with all the latest and greatest updates. The installs were both fresh and no additional security settings had been set. Ubuntu asked me for a password during installation, Windows did not, which we will see makes a difference later down the line.

First I established a baseline for my environment: a virtual shell parked at the root of the file system (C:\ for Windows, / for Linux).
Windows Linux

Larger Image Larger Image

Well, that was simple enough. Getting to each file system's root was a nearly identical process. Now is where things will change, however. In Windows, I am going to attempt to format the drive, a low level operation which usually occurs on drives not being used and in Linux I am going to attempt to remove all of the files from the filesystem. Both should give me an empty file tree when I'm done, but come at it from different angles. In Windows, I use the "format c: /FS:NTFS" command, in Linux "rm -Rf *".
Windows Linux

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Thankfully, and as I expected, neither of these commands wiped out my filesystem. To my shock, Windows looked as if it was going to comply with my wishes. It asked me if I would like to proceed and I confirmed that indeed I would. Ah, but as I expected, the drive was mounted and could not be formatted until it was unmounted; so I told it to try to forcefully unmount the drive. Finally it told me that it could not gain sole access to the drive and would not continue. So, straight away "format c:" will not erase your hard drive! Now how did Linux fare? Also, as I expected, almost nothing was deleted by my "rm -Rf *". My personal home directory (~/jonathanhohle) might have been erased, I didn't think to check it before I moved on. All in all, however, both systems were still up, stable, and in need of more abuse!
Windows Linux

Larger Image Larger Image

Larger Image

Larger Image

My goal was to mass erase these disks from the command line and so far I hadn't had much luck. With Windows I knew I was going to have to take a different approach, with Linux, I knew exactly what I had to do to kill this system.

I decided to attack Windows from the same attack point as I was hitting Linux. Instead of trying to do a low level erasure of my files I was just going to recursively delete them. So after a little mucking around at the command prompt, I came up with "del /F /S /Q *". Linux was a no brainer. All I had to do was escalate my permissions with sudo, "sudo rm -Rf *" to be exact.
Windows Linux

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Well, that did the trick on both systems with one caveat. As the first Linux screenshot under this paragraph shows, Linux would not continue with the command until the root password was entered. Windows, on the other hand had no problems going to town unlinking files after the [Enter] key was struck.
Windows Linux

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After about a minute, Linux had finished removing files. Several messages were printed for the virtual files and directories that could not be removed. Windows, however, took quite a while (probably close to 20 minutes) to delete all the files on the drive, all the while printing a status message for every file it encountered. As it neared the end and had removed large number of system files, I began to get dialog boxes which popped up informing me, not that files were missing, but that files had been replaced with unrecognized versions. I find this to be a very misleading message considering files had not been replaced, but removed from the system entirely. At least 20 of these dialog boxes appeared, some noting which file was missing, others not, like the one pictured.
Windows Linux

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Once everything was deleted, I wanted to see how functional my shell environment still was. In Windows I used the "dir" command to get a directory listing, in Linux I attempted to call the "ls" program. Because "dir" is a command prompt builtin and not an external program, it had no problems giving me a directory listing (a rather short one at that). ls, however, since it was no longer on the system, could not be run. With few builtin functions in bash, my Linux command line became very useless very quickly. Non-builtin programs in Windows reacted similarly to Linux
Windows Linux

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In both operating systems I was still able to navigate around my graphical environment, and both showed similar signs of desolation, mainly in application menus that no longer contained entries. Both Gnome and Windows seemed to have no problems continuing on. While I wouldn't be able to start new programs (since they weren't availble to the operating system anymore) my only goal was to be able to log out. However, the results of what the two operating systems did was soon apparent. Windows would not delete files which were locked, typically programs or libraries that were currently running or being used. This left a lot of useful applications in the file tree. Linux, however, loads programs into memory and doesn't worry about locking them, so nearly everything was removed, even programs that were currently running when I removed them.

Upon logout, Windows prompted me with my login screen like normal, however Linux seriously geeked out. Notice, however, that the default background used in the Windows login screen is not there.
Windows Linux

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Amazed that Windows hadn't died as awesome a death as Linux, I decided to reboot it, and of course, it didn't come back up.
Windows
Larger Image

So what did I learn? Ubuntu's default file permissions and user accounts are much more mature then Windows XPs, NTFS is much slower then EXT3 (or whatever the default Ubuntu FS is) when it comes to unlinking files (alternatively, it could be the fault of the del command), and Windows file locking, while usually annoying, allowed the system to be shut down normally even after the file system was mostly destroyed

The default install of Windows does not prompt for a password to be created for the primary user. It also is set to auto-logon, even after Service Pack 2 is installed. This means, for a default install of Windows, anyone can walk up, type "del /F /S /Q *", and your system will be hosed. Ubuntu, like most Linux distributions, set up a password for the primary user right away during installation. The primary user's password is required to do anything beyond the single users's environment, so why a user may screw up their own files, they won't destroy the system (which may contain tools which allow them to recover their files).

Deleting files in Windows was a painfully slow process. I sat and watched as every file from every folder was confirmed as deleted, or an error message was printed informing me a file couldn't be deleted. After the thousands of files that were removed, it would have been quite a chore to go back through that output and parse which files could not have been deleted. In Linux, however, deleting files was a snappy process, and the only output I received were the few files that could not be removed.

And finally, I was pleasantly surprised at how Windows handled losing most of its files. While the important ones required for shutting down the system were obviously locked this made the shutdown seem much more graceful (despite the immenent death I knew would come). Linux, however, lost in style points as it simply gave up, spewing a pink mess across the screen. Normally I would be annoyed with file locking, as it makes it difficult to test a program and build a new version to the same file, but in this one extreme situation, it may have had some usefulness.

So there you have it. Stop telling people they should run "format c:" because it won't get you or them anywhere. Same goes for "rm -Rf /" (unless you know they always log in as root). While technically incorrect however, those well known commands are much easier than suggesting they "del /F /S /Q /" or "sudo rm -Rf /".

New URL (1)

Jetson (176002) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709236)

smoking.hohle.net

MAXLLF.exe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709110)

The best low level formatting utility I've ever used

you know (5, Funny)

iamnotacrook (816556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709115)

i read that whole article, and i couldnt find the hilarity.

i'll go back to laughing at the election results. or was it crying, i cant remember now.

sudo password (5, Insightful)

emmavl (202243) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709123)

In the article he mentions sudo asks the root password, while it's actually asking the password of the user performing the sudo ! So I guess he must have set the root password identical to his user password during the installation.

Re:sudo password (4, Informative)

_Hellfire_ (170113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709157)

I run Ubuntu Linux myself. Setting the "root" password to the first user's password is default behavior. Technically, there is no root in a default Ubuntu install, you must create it/turn it on.

I believe that Solaris no longer has a root user either (for security), and that you must sudo everything. Someone feel free to correct me (well this is /. I don't have to ask ;)

Re:sudo password (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709241)

I just switched to Ubuntu and found out I couldn't "su" into root even tho I could access all the config tools by using my password as the root password.

In the end, I opened a root console and did "passwd root" and re-entered my own password. Now I can su normally. I still don't know why.

Re:sudo password (3, Informative)

kormoc (122955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709158)

it depends on how sudo is setup...

Mine is setup to ask for the root pass for any command not setup in sudo's conf, as is the default for many distros iirc.

google cache link. (1)

bagel2ooo (106312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709124)

http://66.102.7.104/search?hl=en&lr=&q=cache%3Ahtt p%3A%2F%2Fhohle.net%2Fscrap_post.php%3Fpost%3D23%2 6m%3Dfull&btnG=Search

autotest (1)

donaldgelman (730958) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709126)

format c: /autotest

Yes I rta (2, Interesting)

n54 (807502) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709129)

Talk about trying to kill a simple joke, for all the braindead: it's the intention of the commands that is funny, not typing the command (well that too if it would work but only del *.* in real dos works and that was pretty much the original joke I guess).

To remove this comment press F4 on windows...

And FP btw

Re:Yes I rta (1)

chendo (678767) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709149)

Uh, you better get your glasses checked if you missed that foot icon.... It's SUPPOSED to be funny, alright? Get your head out of your ass, already.

And I believe it's Alt+F4.

And no, no FP for you.

Re:Yes I rta (2, Interesting)

wdd1040 (640641) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709176)

del *.* isn't the proper command. deltree /y *.* is. del *.* wouldn't delete the directories recursively it's be like rm -f /.

Re:Yes I rta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709201)

Alt F4 perhaps ?

rm -Rf / and format c: are not the same. (4, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709130)

rm -Rf / removes all the files mounted on the file system. format c:\ rewrites a new file allocation table.

The issue of Linux not running as cleanly after all the files are whiped out vs. Windows still able to run isn't much a means of stability. Remember in Linux/Unix systems, Everything is a file. While in windows it is some hodgepodge framework where some are files and other are not. So naturally if you wipe out all the files on a Linux/Unix system problem will happen. While windows which puts a lot of its features in memory and stayes there so it can still operate even after you logout. In some ways having X windows crash after you try to leave is a good thing because you know that something is wrong sooner. vs. Windows just acting like nothing happend.

Re:rm -Rf / and format c: are not the same. (4, Informative)

Mordaximus (566304) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709172)

Author acknowledges this too, a quick RTFA shows : "I decided to attack Windows from the same attack point as I was hitting Linux. Instead of trying to do a low level erasure of my files I was just going to recursively delete them. So after a little mucking around at the command prompt, I came up with "del /F /S /Q *"."

Re:rm -Rf / and format c: are not the same. (1)

wdd1040 (640641) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709186)

You can actually hot-unplug a Windows drive and windows will continue to run up to 10 minutes later.

continue to run up to 10 minutes later. (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709242)

Have you ever chopped off a chicken's head? (to prepare for dinner)

Sounds like Windows runs longer. The chicken only ran/flew for less than 30 seconds.

Re:rm -Rf / and format c: are not the same. (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709225)

### The issue of Linux not running as cleanly after all the files are whiped out vs. Windows still able to run isn't much a means of stability.

Actually it kind of is, but probally more a usability issue then a stability. Device files under Linux are still a major pain, permissions get wrong, my USB device filenames keep changing on each boot (graphictablet on /dev/input/event2 or /dev/input/event3? roll a dice...), creating devices got extremly hard (ie. for those drivers who don't have the hooks in place to create them like nvidia ones) since the advent of devfs/udev, since everything you mknod goes 'bye,bye' on next reboot and the naming is quite confusing (is now /dev/hda standard or will I be stuck with the unreadable /dev/ide/bus/target/yadada/whatever/...), tracking down having a device files that are incorrectly named (ie. hda is really hdb) and there are a bunch of other issues. Last not least all of this is also kind of different from distri to distri, so if you change you have to relearn all your workarounds.

I not saying that device filenames are bad by any means, just that their current implementation is still quite problematic and throublesome.

Different effect (-1, Redundant)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709132)

Comparing format C and rm -rf / isn't logical.

rm -rf / simply deletes everything on the filesystem, while format C replaces the filesystem.

A more realistic comparison would be format c and mkfs -t vfat /dev/hda1

Re:Different effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709162)

RTFA, moron!
He did compare rm -rf and del /whatever
(and who was the idiot that made / the char for options - can we hang the bastard, please?)

Re:Different effect (0, Redundant)

grumbel (592662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709175)

There is also our our good old friend 'deltree' on MS-DOS which would get closer to 'rm -rf'. However 'rm -rf' and 'format c:' are kind of the standard 'answers' to screw things up completly, so its fair to compare them even so they don't do exactly the same.

Re:Different effect (-1, Redundant)

wdd1040 (640641) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709195)

What about

rm -rf /

and

deltree /y *.*

I would much rather have seen that comparison.

Re:Different effect (1)

Mjlner (609829) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709199)

A more realistic comparison would be format c and mkfs -t vfat /dev/hda1

True. I know from experience that the latter takes at most about a hundredth the time format c: takes. (depending on the size of c:) Which is why I used to boot to Linux before a windows install in the old days of Win9X. YMMV, of course...

YOU GOTTA READ THIS: A guy I know (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709134)

He's an office worker in a Ohio district. Anyway, he's walking past some republican party office just down the corridor from where he is, and they're shredding EVERYTHING. printed out emails, what look like slips, long lists of names...everything.

Anyway, they see him standing there in the open doorway and ask him too leave, not too politely. When he goes back later the door is closed and a guys standing outside.

don't want to give any identifiable info about him, sorry. Anyway, my guess is we'll be hearing a lot more about it in a couple months.

Try it with NFS... (4, Funny)

skroz (7870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709137)

I once saw an errant script run as a cron job (I DIDN'T WRITE IT, DAMN IT! WHY DON'T PEOPLE BELIEVE ME!!!) execute "rm -f *" in root AS root once. No big deal, right? What if someone accidentally (IT WASN'T ME!!!) created a file called "-r" in / two years prior to the errant rm? Hmm? Now what happens if you have nearly two terabytes of data mounted rw without root squashing via NFS on that workstation? Now what happens if that runs on a Saturday night and nobody notices until Monday morning?

I'll tell you what happens. What happens is that the next several days are very, very, very long and very, very, very uncomfortable.

Re:Try it with NFS... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709166)

I once saw an errant script run as a cron job (I DIDN'T WRITE IT, DAMN IT! WHY DON'T PEOPLE BELIEVE ME!!!) execute "rm -f *" in root AS root once.

I once saw a script that had "rm -rf $(FOODIR)/*".

No problem in that. Except that one adminstrator run it as a root and nobody had thought to define $FOODIR for root...

Re:Try it with NFS... (2, Funny)

Rostis (797) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709297)

I've seen a similar problem with the solaris admintool. One employee created a user but accidently hit space before the username, realized the mistake and deleted the user again with the admintool. (And no, it wasn't me, I don't use that buggy admintool) :)

The admintool quickly does
rm -rf /home/ username

After that, everyone just went home for the day.

Re:Try it with NFS... (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709170)

hrm, it didn't do anything for me, it deleted -r as if it was typed in as \-r just as it should. it also didn't delete any dirs in the folder eather.

Are you sure someone didn't try to cover their ass?

Re:Try it with NFS... (1)

skroz (7870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709243)

Try it with HP-UX 11.0:

foo:root:/tmp>mkdir -p test/subdirectory
foo:root:/tmp>cd test
foo:root:/tmp/test>touch -- -r
foo:root:/tmp/test>ls
-r subdirectory
foo:root:/tmp/test>rm -f *
foo:root:/tmp/test>ls
-r
foo:root:/tmp/test>

And no, rm -f will not delete an empty directory.

Re:Try it with NFS... (2, Informative)

ticktockticktock (772894) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709298)

I think the original poster is talking about a script that failed to escape the filenames or failed to use, what I call, "end of command line options" (or "what is after this is a non-option") command line option (two dashes) before passing the filenames straight to that command. If a file name or folder name is "-r" (at least in SuSE Linux 9.0 with bash 2.05b), and you do rm -f * without using "--" before the asterisks or without properly escaping the filename list, rm indeed does process it as if you wanted it to wipe all directories recursively.

Re:Try it with NFS... (4, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709271)

Along similar lines, a co-worker at one of my recent jobs had installed a machine for one of our remote users. He mounted the file-server's storage array directly in order to create the user's home directory. Unfortunately he did 3 things wrong:

1. He left the root of the storage array mounted
2. He left it mounted under /tmp
3. He left the tmp-cleaning cron job enabled

When we started to see user file go away (but directories left intact) we thought we were under some kind of attack... we were right in a way ;-)

About that (1)

Underholdning (758194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709138)

The site is gone, but I read the text from Googles cache. [google.dk]
I don't find it interesting though. What's next, comparing PS2 to Xbox by hammering them with a brick and see how much damage is made?

Re:About that (1)

ILuvSP (625676) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709226)

Already done! X-Play [g4techtv.com]

Quote from the website:
"Plus, don't miss out on X-Play's console endurance test to see which console can withstand the most punishment."

Really isn't this a no brainer? (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709145)

I mean, really now, imagine that, you need to be root to delete files owned by root! Formating a drive requires it to be unmounted! ls after being deleted doesn't work! This is all rather beginner cs stuff, and doesn't cause the jokes to be less funny.

Also saing that linux should still have a shell for you after you delete it isn't really fair, because that would require one shell, and as we all know, different people use different shells.

Also, sudo isn't installed with every distro, and even if it was, it's unlikly setup to allow every user on the system to use it...

Re:Really isn't this a no brainer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709181)

You could always take a statically compiled set of tools, such as /sbin/sh, cat, ls, mv, etc and put them in a ram disk, "just in case"...

Of course, it doesn't stop you intentionally deleting those too. But might be useful if you're error prone.

Re:Really isn't this a no brainer? (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709208)

if your ram disk is mounted, say on /mnt/ramdiskbackup it would get wiped as well, no?

I guess you could remount it ro after it's loaded up with tools, but it seems rather complicated for something that's not needed.

I wonder if there is a silent flag (1)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709151)

for "del /F /S /Q" in Windows. Makes you wonder why MS has this enabled in the first place...

slow? (2, Interesting)

miyako (632510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709153)

I thought it was pretty interesting that it took so much longer to delete everything under windows/NTFS. Anyone know why this is (is NTFS slow, or is it the del command as the author guessed, or is there some other reason for this).

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709269)

I thought it was pretty interesting that it took so much longer to delete everything under windows/NTFS. Anyone know why this is (is NTFS slow, or is it the del command as the author guessed, or is there some other reason for this).

Not really all that interesting. By default, the del command will display the names of the files being deleted, while rm does not. Simply turning off filenames for del or turning on filenames for rm would have been the better apples to apples comparison. And in case you're wondering, yes, it does make that big of a difference.

Re:slow? (1)

robfoo (579920) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709275)

Because windoze is teh suck! And Linux r0xx0rz!

(actually, I have no idea. I just wanted to be the first to say it :)

del -f *.* (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709154)

good to see n00bs that think they are experts

mkfs /dev/hda1 vs format c would be a closer comparison

Get a life (5, Insightful)

soul_hk (607396) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709155)

Seriously folks,
this proves almost nothing.
This guy really needs to find something better to occupy his time with, ideas include polishing the spoons, re-arranging the sock drawer and cleaning the fridge.

We all know the best way to screw a Windows XP SP2 user is to convince them to turn off the firewall ..

mod me down, see if I care

Shred (4, Informative)

Ann Coulter (614889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709167)

I like to use "shred /dev/hda". That takes time but it is worth it if you know you will never use that hard drive again, such as when you leave a company. If you are in a pinch, you can first do a "cat /dev/zero > /dev/hda". You can also use "dd" or "sdd". If you want to erase a magnetic medium, zero out the media first and then use "shred".

More efficient way (1)

yehim1 (462046) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709174)

Try this for almost the same effect but a very small fraction of the time:

# rm -rf /etc

I have did this (twice) by trying to delete something in /etc, but pressed return too quickly. By the time I pressed CTRL-C, every file in /etc is already blanked out!

Then why not use the proper syntax? (2)

lakcaj (811907) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709276)


It amazes me how often I see people trying to seem 7331 by saying shit like, "Just rm -rf /" and laughing their heads off.

I'm not even a system administrator, but even I know that any admin worth their salt knows to type the flags after the destination, ala:

rm / -rfv

or

rm /etc/somefile -rfv


This way, if you accidently hit return before typing the full path, you will be prompted for confirmation, since you didn't get to the part where you type the "-f" flag.

supprising (1)

dns_server (696283) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709178)

It is suprising that windows handles it that well, this is probably because of the way that it uses memory. it is designed to be a monolythic with some of the applications being memory resident, this alows atleast part of the os to still run correctly. linux is modular with applicaitons being stored on the file system. when linux tries to load applications it fails, and loads random data of the deleted file system.

I predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709180)

that RM -Rf is not reversibale and causes more damage whiel Format C actually only changes the first letter of the file name in the allocation table.

rm- Rf (more dangerous or more effective)?

Format C (faster or sloppy)?

You decide.

Indecision 2004.......

Re:I predict (1)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709268)

"that RM -Rf is not reversibale and causes more damage whiel Format C actually only changes the first letter of the file name in the allocation table."

Nope! Wrong answer! It really erases the FAT and save a copy onto the last track of the disk. But i'm not so sure about that even

Re:I predict (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709296)

Doesn't FORMAT have an option to make it irreversible?
(Can't check, Linux doesn't have a manpage for FORMAT :-))

why not try adding this to /etc/inittab ... (-1, Flamebait)

evil_one666 (664331) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709183)

x:6:respawn:/etc/X11/prefdm

ahem..

rm -Rf / (4, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709192)

I once watched somebody do that while logged in as root on a unix machine. The guy was a really fast typist with an ushakable faith in his ability, before I had a chance to stop him he had managed to type and commit the command:
root@localhost# rm -rf / somedir/somesubdir
instead of:
root@localhost# rm -rf /somedir/somesubdir
That inadvertent space made all the difference. Fortunately we had a very good backup system.

Re:rm -Rf / (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709217)

user@localhost:~ $ rm /mnt/floppy/ *

I wanted to kill myself after that one.

Harder to spot... (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709289)

root:~# cd /tmp
root:/tmp# rm -rf .*

(hint: ".*" includes "." and "..")

Go away, you don't exist (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709207)

was the message I got after trying to logout of a similarly trashed Debian Woody system.

rm -rf / protection in Solaris (3, Interesting)

colores (766507) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709235)

From: [sun.com] "Solaris 10 has (since build 36) a version of /usr/bin/rm (/bin is a sym-link to /usr/bin on Solaris) and /usr/xpg4/bin/rm which behaves thus: [28] /bin/rm -rf / rm of / is not allowed [29]"

Undocumented Command... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709246)

format c: /q /autotest is an undocuemented parameter, formats without a [Y/N] prompt, similar to the rm -rf / without the -i. I don't know if it works in XP/2000, I know used to work in Win9x and before... I used to open a command prompt on display computers, type echo "format c: /q /autotest" >> c:\autoexec.bat and then run a debug command to make the OS crash. When they rebooted, the staff were woken up with a nice surprise. >=)

deltree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709247)

And I prefer
deltree windows

I've seen that image before... (2, Funny)

Shambhu (198415) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709253)

... this [hohle.net] one, I mean. And I'm convinced it is one of those Magic Eye things.

The most beautiful of all solutions (2, Funny)

oakad (686232) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709257)

>su >dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda Works every time for me!

Slashdot is over (0, Offtopic)

ruda (128152) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709259)

This is one of most stupid articles I ever see in slashdot.

hohle.net (1)

q-the-impaler (708563) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709279)

Bandwidths are busted and Slashdotting ensues.

Re:hohle.net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709308)

OK, so I got hohle.net on the third try. It's not dead yet, try harder.

when you type format c: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10709281)

your windows install is at it's most stable.

Proof: Windows is more secure (1)

Val314 (219766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709300)

Since you cant format c: if your windows is running from c: that obviosly proofs that Windows has to be more secure than linux ;)

(yes: thats supposed to be a joke and not a troll)

I've seen it happen (1, Funny)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709305)

I've actually seen it happen with my own eyes.

We were in the middle of an overnight service migration and my co-worker, intending to delete a copy of the directory types "rm -rf /etc" instead of "rm -rf etc".

We had to restore from backup, and boy was he red faced for weeks after...

When ls is hosed... (4, Insightful)

ccarr.com (262540) | more than 9 years ago | (#10709310)

...use the shell's built in file expansion:

echo *
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