June 6th, 2003


debian system rescue

I spent all day today at the colo for lists.indymedia.org (the mail server for the entire IMC network!) repairing a very silly (and very destructive) mistake by a fellow in Europe, who was logged in as root and typed rm -r /lib when he meant rm -r ./lib.


It's in a locked room in Seattle. He's in Germany. The regular system admin is on extended holiday in San Francisco. The backup admin is at work at the University of Washington. So, it's me, the never-time Debian user to the rescue with Debian boot and rescue CDs and floppies, armed with cell phone and sandals and good intentions.

Then of course the bootable Debian CD turned out not to be compiled with the drivers for the funky RAID system, and the floppies don't have the drivers for the ethernet card. And then the root.bin floppy went bad. (Yes, completely bad. Kernel panic bad.)

Finally, with the super help from a guy in Pittsburgh who was simultaneously on the phone with me and on IRC with other techies at irc.indymedia.org, I was able to:

  • write a second root.bin floppy (by booting with the bootable CD and using wget)
  • reboot using floppies
  • install a new ramdisk to get enough room to
  • unpack the appropriate eth0 drivers (from the CD again)
  • then download a tarred, gzipped semi-exact version of the lib directory
  • unpack it onto the right space

Then, a couple of reboots and some system architecture twiddling later, it ran. Made me so late for my linguistics colloquium that I didn't attend, and just snuck in late so that people would "see me there", if ya know what I mean.

  • Current Mood

why I hate Ayn Rand

Never mind that she's recognized as one of the brightest people in school. Never mind that she's going to Harvard (and got into other schools too).

Apparently, this family thinks it's their moral obligation to tear down anyone who might also be a valedictorian.

In court papers, [the superintendent] contends Superior Court Judge Louis Hornstine last fall said he would "use any advantage of the laws and regulations to give (his daughter, Blair Hornstine) the best opportunity to be valedictorian."

"I don't care if others get hurt," [the superintendent] also quotes Hornstine as saying in a meeting between the two. "All I'm interested in is what is best for my daughter."

No, Virginia, competition is not the highest good.

I'm slightly embarrassed by how I found this article. If you can guess, you win! (exterra not applicable).