CHMOD Big Oops!

Ross Werner rosswerner at
Wed Oct 25 21:06:20 MDT 2006

On Wed, 25 Oct 2006 17:42:04 -0700, Michael Torrie <torriem at>  
> On Wed, 2006-10-25 at 07:04 -0600, David D Turley wrote:
>> Any ideas before I spend several days rebuilding?  Once again my name
>> gets added to the Linux Cautionary Tales list...<sigh!> Thanks again to
>> all the earlier responders!!!
> I did something very similar today, except my mistake was to chown the
> entire filesystem, which is just as bad.

Once (on a work machine) I had messed up the ownership of my home  
directory, so I did
[ross at localhost ~]# chown ross.ross -R *
which successfully gave me back ownership of all files in my home  
directory ... except for any dot-files. Oops! So I then did:

[ross at localhost ~]# chown ross.ross -R .*

Little did I realize that .* matches not only the normal dot-files, but  
also "." and, more importantly, "..". Oops. Technically * matches .. too,  
but I believe the shell zaps .. on a normal *, but doesn't for a ".*".  
Live and learn, I guess!

	~ Ross

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