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Should We Abolish User Access to rm?

Jan 27, 2011, 15:03 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeffrey B. Layton)

"Lately, I've been hearing system administrators and managers ask about solutions to keep people from accidentally removing their data. These are very smart and dedicated people asking for a solution so that data isn't lost either by accident or on purpose. A wild idea I've heard to solve the problem is getting rid of user access to the rm command. Is this truly a crazy idea?

"Frustration Lately, in my day job, I've been getting questions from very smart, dedicated, and resource constrained administrators who have users who either accidentally, or sometimes absentmindedly, remove data. The problem they are facing is that the user removes the data, most likely using rm, and then realizes they actually needed the data. Of course, they ask the administrator to recover the data or restore it from a backup, which may or may not be possible (sometimes the requests are, shall we say, "impassioned"). If the recovery doesn't happen fast enough or if the user is not getting enough attention then the users do what is natural to them, they escalate the request through their management chain, indicating the importance of the data. Consequently, the administrators have to drop everything they are doing and spend a great deal of time recovering the data (if they can). This means that other tasks fall by the wayside and administrator frustration builds (and from the comments/requests, it seems as though the frustration level is pretty high)."

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