When a code commit goes viral

I have seen a lot of mundane things go viral in my time, kittens, babies, birds flying into windows… but I never thought I would ever see a bug fix in open source software go viral like this one has.

ln -s /usr/lib/mesa/ld.so.conf /etc/alternatives/gl_conf
   rm -rf /etc/alternatives/xorg_extra_modules
   rm -rf /etc/alternatives/xorg_extra_modules-bumblebee
-  rm -rf /usr /lib/nvidia-current/xorg/xorg
+  rm -rf /usr/lib/nvidia-current/xorg/xorg
   ln -s /usr/lib/nvidia-current/xorg /etc/alternatives/xorg_extra_modules-bumblebee

For the uninitiated, this code is attempting to cleanup folders created by the application by deleting them, however a space in the filename means that the instead of deleting the intended folder it deletes the /usr folder itself. On a linux system /usr contains most of the common libraries used by the operating system itself, and removing it will turn your machine into a very expensive paperweight.


This serves as a reminder to us that while unix systems can be very powerful, it can only take one accidental button press to bring the whole machine to its knees. I know when I’m working on the command line I’m paranoid about what I am doing, and I think so should everyone else.

Milton Bayer

Milton Bayer

We are Milton Bayer, an award winning, multi-disciplinary, strategic and creative marketing agency.

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