Sysadmin Stories: Configuring the system

by Stephen on October 19, 2009 · 0 comments

in Sysadmin Stories

1

From: peter@NeoSoft.com (Peter da Silva)
Organization: NeoSoft Communications Services

Well, we had one system on which you couldn’t log in on the console for a
while after rebooting, but it’d start working sometimes. What was happening
was that the manufacturer had, for some idiot reason, hardcoded the names
of the terminals they wanted to support into getty (this manufacturers own
terminals, that I can understand, but also a handful of common types like
adm3a) so getty could clear the screen properly (I guess hacking that into
gettydefs was too obvious or something). If getty couldn’t recognise the
terminal type on the command line, it’d display a message on the console
reading “Unknown terminal type pc100”. We ignored this flamage, which was
a pity. ‘Cos that was the problem.

It did this *before* opening the terminal, so if it happened to run between
the time rc completed and the getty on the console started the console got
attached to some random terminal somewhere, so when login attempted to open
/dev/tty to prompt for a password it failed.

Moral: always deal with error messages even when you *know* they’re bogus.
Moral: never cry wolf.

2

From: hirai@cc.swarthmore.edu (Eiji Hirai)
Organization: Information Services, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, USA

rik.harris@fcit.monash.edu.au writes:
> I’ll mount it in /tmp

Though this may strike most sane sysadmins as bad practice, SunOS (3.4 or so
– my memory is vague) shipped a command called “on”. If you were logged on
machine A and wanted to execute a command on machine B, you said “on B
command”, sort of like rsh.

However, A would mount B’s disks under some invokations of “on” and it would
mount it in /tmp! Of course, lots of folks got bitten by this stupid
command and it was taken out after a long delay by Sun.

Anyone remember the details? I’ve blocked out my memory of pre-4.0 SunOS.
Am I just hallucinating?

3

From: robjohn@ocdis01.UUCP (Contractor Bob Johnson)
Organization: Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma

After changing my /etc/inittab file, I was going to kick init by sending
it a HUP signal to tell it the file had changed. Unfortunately, I missed
and the 1 became a Q… kill -q 1. Large systems die in interesting ways
when you lose init!

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