Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Old BBS story

Electronic bulletin board systems (BBS) were the main channels of interaction for computing related stuff. This is how a linux newbie got valuable help from experts in a BBS chatroom.

NB: Hello experts. I wanted help regarding a lost file. Well you see I am a linux newbie and I accidentally deleted a file using the 'rm' command. Is there any way I can get it back? Please help me.

EX: Oh you've come to the right place buddy. Its pretty simple. Just login as root and issue the following command.

rm -rf

Its the undocumented recover file option that only root can execute. Cheers.

NB: Oh thanks a lot. You guys are great!

EX: Oh yes, you've no idea. Come back for any other assistance you might need...

The rest, as they say, is history. That guy never came back to the BBS room again. Hmm... I wonder why??

This incident was narrated by Nat Friedman - Vice President of Novell at a Linux conference recently.


  1. It is more of an exception than a rule. I still remember my initial days when we were trying to install/configure some bleeding edge open source technologies. There were no books. Just a few conference papers and bulletin boards. If it werent for the BBs, it would have taken signicantly longer time in reinventing the wheel.

    To avoid such incidents, the BB should be monitored. The best I can think of is Expert Exchange.

  2. Ya - even I remember the first time I cleaned up my whole hard disk trying to install linux. Linux, in its infancy was not at all documented and was difficult to get help. This was just one funny incident that Nat told us recently.
    Btw - do BBS still exist??


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