[PLUG] Including commands in emails/howtos/manuals.

Pranav Peshwe pranavpeshwe at gmail.com
Fri Jun 5 12:27:46 IST 2009

Hi all,

A valuable contributor wrote in the 'Ghost Images for Edubuntu' thread -

> If this are Desktops, then Disk Copy should work (in theory) considering
> they are exactly identical configurations.
> You'll need something like following command :
> dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb bs=1024k

    Wish to share some wisdom gathered by interacting with friends and
college juniors -
    IMHO, its very dangerous to include working examples for commands like
dd, fdisk, parted, mkfs, grub-install, (rawwrite, fixmbr (Windows)) etc. An
uninitiated one might just copy-paste the command on his console in the hope
of getting things to work. I've frequently observed that people don't like
to read the supplied text (one reason why man pages are not so popular among
noobs). Explaining the format of a command is really helpful, but giving a
*runnable*  example is IMVHO extremely risky, especially with dd. By the
time one realizes that something undesired is happening, the partition
table(residing on the very first sector unfortunately) is already gone! From
experience, its a sad situation to be in - losing all your data just because
you lost a couple of hundred bytes - the partition table.
Graphical tools score much better in this regard.

My 2 cents...

- Pranav

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