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Boys will be boys, saved by Ubuntu

Many things were very different in the 1960s to the way they are today. Rosey-tinted spectacles, looking back on what's perceived as a golden age, may persuade many that life simpler and better back then, and there's a saying that "School days are the happiest days of your life". Well - I've news for you; there were some rough times, and with the right attitude / approach / employment, things can only get better rather than worse.

What brings these comments on? I've spend last week, and I'm spending next week, in a highly segregated society. The workforce at the hotel is all male, the course delegates are all male and some elements remind me of my all male school days. A certain rivalry and a certain prankishness that proves, I suppose, that 'boys will be boys' and to be very happy that both Chris and Kimberly went to mixed schools. Were we just swimming with the tide when we chose the school? No - it was a conscious decision and I've see just one tiny corner of the old carpet lifted here to remind me why.


When I travel, I know what I'll do in the event of a hardware failure, or a problem with a course. The further I am from base, the more are the precautions taken ahead of time. Delegate workstations here are provided by the company organising the course, so that's really outside my area ... but I brought two rather than one laptop for my own use, backed up onto each other, and a selection of backup CDs and cables as well. "Better safe than sorry". It turns out that my backup plans are rather better than the local ones, and when the internet connections they have set up for the classroom doesn't function, I have two machines on line through which the delegates can check their email. And when one of their systems won't connect even to the classroom intranet, a data CD quickly allows the delegates access to the vital sample files we use during the course. Another machine has keyboard mapping issues, and a quick substitution for one of my own systems resolves THAT issue.


Some of my faster schoolboys, a.k.a. systems administrators, got to playing about for a few minutes during last week's course. Cross-login pranks; nothing too harmful or that detracted from the course once the ones who were newer to the subject had caught up with the exercises. Save for the fact that one, in self defence, changed all the passwords including root and put his system on an anti-intruder footing. Which made it kinda-hard for me to get beyond the login screen when I had to get the machine ready for the coming week. No easy "rebuild the machine" for me which is what I would have done with my own resources to hand.

But I am carrying an Ubuntu live CD - allows me to boot up a PC into linux without effecting the hard disc contents. And the one thing that hadn't been tightened on the rogue machine was the Bios / boot order, so I had my route in. Alas, all too quick and easy in the end ...

sudo mkdir /hard
sudo mount /dev/hda2 /hard
sudo vi /hard/etc/shadow
- delete the encoded password for root
- w! to save the changes
and reboot back to the hard drive to a system without a root password at all!
(written 2006-05-27, updated 2006-05-30)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
A162 - Web Application Deployment - Backups and File System Management
  [4481] Extracting data from backups to restore selected rows from MySQL tables - (2015-05-01)
  [4405] Backup procedures - via backup server - (2015-01-24)
  [4400] Commenting out an echo killed my bash backup script - (2015-01-19)
  [4390] Checking MySQL database backups have worked (not failed) - (2015-01-10)
  [4115] More or less back - what happened to our server the other day - (2013-06-14)
  [4063] Backups by crossover between network centres - setting up automatic scp transfers - (2013-04-13)
  [4056] An overpractical test of our backup strategy! - (2013-03-30)
  [2299] How much space does my directory take - Linux - (2009-07-20)
  [1893] Some Linux and Unix tips - (2008-11-18)
  [1801] Will your backups work if you have to restore them? - (2008-09-18)
  [1765] Dialects of English and Unix - (2008-08-21)
  [1648] The tourists guide to Linux - (2008-05-20)
  [1439] Linux / Unix - layout of operating system files - (2007-11-20)
  [1288] Linux run states, shell special commands, and directory structures - (2007-08-03)
  [1023] Finding public writeable things on your linux file system - (2007-01-06)
  [1013] Copy multiple files - confusing error message from cp - (2006-12-30)
  [754] tar, jar, war, ear, sar files - (2006-06-10)
  [703] Copying files and preserving ownership - (2006-04-28)
  [593] Finding where the disc space has gone - (2006-02-06)
  [554] What backup is adequate? - (2006-01-04)
  [334] Symbolic links and hard links - (2005-06-02)
  [153] Linux - where to put swap space - (2004-12-16)

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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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