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“How not to erase an old hard disk”, a new comedy by bda

The Cast:

  • bda, veteran Linux user of 9+ years
  • Dell Dimension P166, long time resident of basement storage unit
  • Inspiron 700m laptop, secondary computer used regularly by bda

bda – “I should get rid of this old P166. Maybe goodwill will accept it? But first I need to purge the disk”.
P166 – silence
bda takes disk out of P166, places in enclosure, and connects to laptop runnin Arch Linux
bda – “$ mount /media/hda5 /mnt; ls /mnt; rm -rf *”
bda – (thinking) “maybe I should shred the files… that might be harder if they’re already deleted”
bda hits CTRL-C to stop the rm command
bda – “$ apropos shred”
laptop – weird error message
bda – “$ ls”
laptop – same error message
bda – (thinking) “Oh f@*&”


Yes. I rm -rf’ed my laptop. Luckily it only got to /bin and /etc. I was even able to recover my list of installed packages by copying /bin and /etc/pacman* from the live cd to the laptop root, chrooting, and running “pacman -Qqe > …”. My old ubuntu /etc backup is also still intact. Still it’s going to be a pain reconstructing all the configuration chages I’ve made since installing arch.


  1. Wrath says:

    So you took the plunge with Arch, hmm? I figured it would be right up your ally. 😉

  2. bda says:

    Actually I just downloaded the latest Sidux release to replace Arch on my laptop. Arch just can’t match the amount of software available for debian/sidux/ubuntu, and I got fed up with creating my own MAKEPKG file/downloading from AUR/compiling. I do really like the simplicity of configuring startup daemons vs the SysV runlevel crap. The net profiles are also pretty nice, but I had a great setup with guessnet/ifplugd/wpasupplicant roaming that would take some bash script hacking to match with Arch. I really like debian’s net config.

  3. Wrath says:

    You’re truly hardcore, Bryce–I’ll give you that 😉

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