1. 12

“I have invented Suicide Linux. Any time - any time - you type any remotely incorrect command, the interpreter creatively resolves it into rm -rf / and wipes your hard drive.”


  2. 8

    Reminds me of a story from the early-ish days of Unix. I cannot for the life of me remember the names of the people involved, but this would’ve been in the 70s and was either at Berkeley or Bell Labs.

    Someone wrote a “typo-correcting shell”, which would retry a command if it returned a nonzero status, but only after “correcting” the error. One of the corrections was removing extra characters at the end of filenames or something if the files didn’t exist, under the assumption that it was a typo.

    Anyway, someone typed “rm -r /foo” or something, “/foo” didn’t exist, and the shell corrected it to “rm -r /”. The narrator of the story (was it dmr?) realized what was happening and joked that he wanted to go to shell author’s office, tie him to a chair, and type “rm -r /foo” twice.

    Someone help me with my history here. Where did I read that story? I can’t find it now.

    1. 4

      Sounds like the DWIM story from the Jargon File:


      Warren Teitelman originally wrote DWIM to fix his typos and spelling errors, so it was somewhat idiosyncratic to his style, and would often make hash of anyone else’s typos if they were stylistically different. Some victims of DWIM thus claimed that the acronym stood for ‘Damn Warren’s Infernal Machine!’.

      In one notorious incident, Warren added a DWIM feature to the command interpreter used at Xerox PARC. One day another hacker there typed delete *$ to free up some disk space. (The editor there named backup files by appending $ to the original file name, so he was trying to delete any backup files left over from old editing sessions.) It happened that there weren’t any editor backup files, so DWIM helpfully reported *$ not found, assuming you meant 'delete *'. It then started to delete all the files on the disk! The hacker managed to stop it with a Vulcan nerve pinch after only a half dozen or so files were lost.

      The disgruntled victim later said he had been sorely tempted to go to Warren’s office, tie Warren down in his chair in front of his workstation, and then type delete *$ twice.

      1. 2

        Yep, that’s it! Thank you.

    2. 4

      Perhaps better named Russian Roulette Linux.

      1. 4

        Bash Russian Roulette is a thing:

        [ $(( $RANDOM % 6 )) -eq 0 ] && rm --no-preserve-root -rf / || echo "click"