Sat 15 Dec 2007
New rule: websites should only be upgraded in the morning when the sysop is fresh and patient, not at night when he is tired.
Also, I think you should have to get a license to use the rm -rf * command (recursively remove everything, forcibly without confirmation) in unix.
Basically, in my never ending quest to be useful, I thought I would upgrade to the latest version of wordpress mu, the software behind our site. I was too lazy to follow the backup instruction. I thought, I’ve done this a million times (really, I’ve done this once, for wordpress, not for mu). I backed up the whole public_html directory with tar -cvf public_html html_backup. I even checked the file to be sure I had a good copy.
Then I started playing with the new installation. At some point in the playing around, I messed things up so badly I thought, I’ll just wipe it clean and start again.
rm -rf *
tar -xvf backup public_html
That didn’t go so well. When I went to restore with tar -xvf html_backup, I didn’t get anything except the a few flotsam and jetsome files that were still lingering after the rm -rf *.
In a flurry of rapid checking I decided that my backup was fatally flawed and incomplete. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? I sent an email to customer service: “Save me, I’ve lost my website.” I went to bed. Got up. Sent another email: “Save me, I’ve lost my website and my domain is groklab.org (I had forgotten to mention that).”
A fitful night.
This morning I have this lovely note from customer service:
I’ve copied a backup from the ShadowDrive on your server to your home
If you have any other questions, please let us know.
I restored the directory and all is well.
In writing this note, I went to check my backup file to see exactly what’s wrong.
It’s fine. Everything is there. It was always fine. I was just agitated, tired and not thinking straight. I’m glad I went to bed. I could have made things a lot worse in that mood.
I should remember the instructions on the cover of the Encyclopedic Guide to the Universe: