Businessman Accidentally Deletes His Whole Company After Typing One Line Of Bad Code

Worried man looking on laptop

Cmd+z… CMD+Z…

The unluckiest man ever recently managed to wipe his entire company with one line of bad code.

Featured Image VIA

The hosting provider Marco Marsala wrote on the help forum Server Fault that he had accidentally entered a code that wiped not only his own computers, but all of the websites that he looked after for his customers. I bet he hit ‘command-z’ until his fingers blistered.

It was the command “rm-rf” that was used, which deletes everything it is told to while blocking any warnings that inform the user that something is being deleted. Because he missed out the very crucial part of identifying which section he wanted it to erase, it just cut out everything. Poor bastard.

He took to Server Fault to try and get advice on how to turn his problem around, but instead of finding the help he needed, he just got a bunch of computer geeks telling him what an absolute fuck up he had made. Here’s what Marsala said initially:

I run a small hosting provider with more or less 1,535 customers and I use Ansible to automate some operations to be run on all servers.

Last night I accidentally ran, on all servers, a Bash script with a rm-rf {foo}/{bar} with those variables undefined due to a bug in the code above this line.

All servers got deleted and the offsite backups too because the remote storage was mounted just before by the same script (that is a backup maintenance script).

Computer code

Image VIA

As said, the replies were not very optimistic. Andre Borie wrote:

If you really don’t have any backups, I am sorry to say but you just nuked your entire company.

Another guy, Michael Hampton, said:

You’re going out of business. You don’t need technical advice, you need to call your lawyer.

And one guy called Sven said:

I feel sorry to say that your company is now essentially dead.

You might have an extremely slim chance to recover from this if you turn off everything right now and hand your disks over to a reputable data recovery company.

This will be extremely expensive and still extremely unlikely to really rescue you, and it will take a lot of time.

Wuh-oh. Isn’t sounding too great for this guy, huh? Most of the answers indicated that Marsala was unlikely able to recover any of the data and that his company would not be resurrected. Seems like he made a bit of a rookie mistake as this code is so well known as destructive that it has become a bit of an in-joke with some computing circles. I guess he just wasn’t enough of a computer geek to be running his own hosting provider business.

Should’ve taken some tips from this guy who is so adept at computer programming that he managed to write computer scripts to do his entire job for him and even text his wife.


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