[sf-lug] favorite interview questions

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Apr 3 12:17:25 PDT 2010

Quoting Jim Stockford (jim at well.com):

>    what are other standard interview questions? 

Well, some of the most standard of all questions come directly from the
FAQ for comp.unix.questions and comp.unix.shell, so it's worthwhile
reading that either if you're interviewing for technical positions or
just for general knowledge.  


For example, my friend Jim Dennis always asks about the
problems covered in FAQs item 2.1 and 2.2:

   2.1) How do I remove a file whose name begins with a "-" ?

   2.2) How do I remove a file with funny characters in the filename ?

I'll not be replicating what the FAQ says (live the FAQ; love the FAQ!),
but will point to the really interesting part, which is where you have a
pathologically named file like "91/02/07" (where the slashes are part of
the filename and not directory separators) placed on a Unix system via a
buggy NFS implementation like those common on old versions of MacOS.

   No amount of messing around with 'find' or 'rm' as described above
   will delete this file, since those utilities and all other Unix
   programs, are forced to interpret the '/' in the normal way.

The general solution given by the FAQ is to identify the inode, e.g.,
"ls -li", and then (as root) do "clri [device] [inode#]".  Also, you can
try to rmdir or unlink the directory containing the file.  In any event,
once done, you are strongly advised to fsck the filesystem.

One thing it's important to know, when reading that FAQ or others from
the larger Unix world, is that they tend to give answers intended to
work across all Unixes no matter how antiquated and brain-damaged.
Therefore, shortcuts available on Unixes with the GNU toolset installed 
(including all Linux systems) aren't used.

Rick Moen                  "The rules for numbers below ten do not apply to 6.
rick at linuxmafia.com        He is not a number, he is a free man."
McQ!  (4x80)                                          -- FakeAPStylebook

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