code errorShort Bytes: Remember the man who deleted his entire company with a single line of code? Well, as it turned out, this story was a hoax and the man made up the whole thing to promote his server hosting company. 

Earlier this week, Marco Marsala, the owner of a web hosting company claimed to have erased his entire business from the internet with a single command. Well, now it appears that he made up the entire story.

On the popular Server Fault forum, he posted his story earlier this week. On the internet, he already became a legend and people didn’t realize the need to recognize the merit of his claim.

Just in case you missed the story, here’s what he wrote:

I run a small hosting provider with more or less 1,535 customers and I use Ansible to automate some operations to be run on all servers. Last night I accidentally ran, on all servers, a Bash script with a rm -rf {foo}/{bar} with those variables undefined due to a bug in the code above this line.

All servers got deleted and the offsite backups too because the remote storage was mounted just before by the same script (that is a backup maintenance script).

Replying to his post, people commented and said different kinds of things. Some were sympathetic, some called him a fool.

Well, Stack Overflow, which runs this forum, has called it a hoax. The website linked to an Italian new report that tells that it was a marketing gimmick to promote Marsala’s company.

“It was just a joke,” Marsala told the paper. He also said that most commenters on the forum missed out the fact that Ansible (read his story above) actually prevents such large-scale mistakes. It’s surprising to see that most people believed him on a forum for technology experts.

“Since I don’t think we should allow ServerFault to be abused in such way, I deleted the question once I learned about the hoax,” someone from Stack Overflow wrote on the website.

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