Goodbye, /lib/*

Andy Green andy at
Wed Feb 21 08:59:18 UTC 2007

Eric S. Raymond wrote:

> After thirteen years as a loyal Red Hat and Fedora user, I reached my
> limit today, when an attempt to upgrade one (1) package pitched me
> into a four-hour marathon of dependency chasing, at the end of which
> an attempt to get around a trivial file conflict rendered my system 
> unusable.
> The proximate causes of this failure were (1) incompetent repository
> maintenance, making any nontrivial upgrade certain to founder on a
> failed dependency, and (2) the fact that rpm is not statically linked
> -- so it's possible to inadvertently remove a shared library it
> depends on and be unrecoverably screwed.  But the underlying problems
> run much deeper.

If I understood this, you deleted something down /lib that rpm depended 
on.  That's not unrecoverably screwed: you can boot into the rescue CD 
and bring over the libs or the rpm the libs came from and use rpm2cpio. 
  I have done this in the past, and recovered from it, and my assessment 
of the proximate cause of the failure was that 1) I was a careless idiot.

RPM being monolithic would help in that situation, but then it's open to 
you to delete rpm if you're up for deleting shared libs.  Likewise 
Ubuntu is going to have things that can be deleted that will render it 
equally "unrecoverable".  Basically there isn't much to be done to 
protect a tired or stupid admin using rm as root on important files: but 
the recovery boot is there to get you out of even very bad trouble.

I don't think we should entirely absolve the wielder of the rm machete 
from blame even if he didn't ask to be swinging it about.


More information about the fedora-devel-list mailing list