[TUHS] Who's behind the UNIX filesystem permission

Dave Horsfall dave at horsfall.org
Wed Aug 7 12:35:49 AEST 2019

On Thu, 1 Aug 2019, Noel Chiappa wrote:

> Maybe the application was written by a LISP programmer? :-)
> (Not really, of course; it was probably just someone who didn't know much
> about Unix. They had a list of system calls, and 'unlink' probably said ' only
> works on directories when the caller is root', so...)

I dimly recall that there was a little-documented utility /etc/unlink 
which did just that; it was probably not on all systems, but was on our 
CCI Power 6/32.

I only discovered their incompetence at the next reboot, when I had to 
clean up all the orphaned (but temporary) files that were left behind 
because [idn]check went berserk (we didn't have fsck back then).

-- Dave

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