Destroying "only" your home directory (was Re: Newbie question on permissions)

Derek Broughton news at
Mon Apr 3 12:29:06 UTC 2006

Matthew R. Dempsky wrote:

> On Sun, Apr 02, 2006 at 02:37:43PM -0300, Derek Broughton wrote:
>> There's not much you _can_ do to prevent yourself from deleting your
>> own files, but at least you don't need to delete all the system files
>> too.
> Exactly what consolation is that to a user?  ``Sorry, you just lost all
> of your digital pictures from your only daughter's wedding, but at least
> Firefox still works.''

None at all, but how do you propose to prevent a user deleting his own
files?  However you do it, you _must_ provide a user with a way to override
such a thing - they're his files, and it's ultimately his choice.  As soon
as you provide a way to override, most of us will enable that as the
default, and you're right back to providing no way to prevent users doing
stupid things.

I once did:  sudo rm -r /etc /something

One little extra space, and the system is b0rked.  You can't prevent things
like that, in any way that I would find acceptable in daily use.  Even if
you insist on popping up messages "did you really want to destroy your
system?", we get so used to ignoring such things we say yes.

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