The story of how one businessman destroyed an entire company with a line of bad code

Buckle up because this story will blow your classic ‘work blunder’ anecdote out of the water. Compared to this guy, you’re a model worker. Consider yourself employee of every month after reading this. Without further ado, here is the story of how one man accidentally deletes his whole company with one line of bad code.

I’ll preface this story by saying I understand very little about code. The terminology might be a bit daunting but I’ll do my best to keep the technicals brief.

So, as Sick Chirpse report, the hosting provider Marco Marsala was found seeking urgent aid on the help forum, Server Fault. He wrote looking for a miracle solution. He had accidentally entered a code that wiped not only his all the work he was working on on his laptop but every single piece of data present on all the websites he was host to. Oops.

The command was something called “rm-rf”. This basically deletes everything it is told to while making sure that no pop-ups or warning messages show up. It’s used for when you need to delete a mass amount of data without interruption. And it did exactly that. The reason it wiped everything was because Marco forgot to tell the machine what, specifically, to erase. So it cleared the whole lot.

Image credit: Giphy

Image credit: Giphy

When he took to Server Fault, the community there weren’t really 100% supportive. I imagine because they couldn’t believe someone had actually messed up this badly.

One user wrote: “If you really don’t have any backups, I am sorry to say but you just nuked your entire company”

Another response parroted: “You’re going out of business. You don’t need technical advice, you need to call your lawyer”.

In fairness, Marco did ask for advice about his bad code and that’s exactly what he got from Server Fault. Tough break, buddy.