Thank RedHat for RPM.
My computer did some serious evil to itself today. I fixed it in a couple hours, thanks to RPM’s database:
rpm -qa > rpms then
for I in `cat rpms`; do echo $I:; rpm -V $I; done | tee log
Those two commands give a list of what’s damaged and how, and based on that, makes it darn easy to restore stuff.
User data is something else entirely, of course, but there’s a reason I keep that on another drive and make backups...
Compare this to the nearly identical but much more laughable situation I dealt with this afternoon on a customer’s computer. Windows, having no central understandable database of what's been messed up, nor any way to restore just one corrupt file (unless it's a DLL or other immutable system file). I spent three hours tracking down the fact that the system registry hive file was damaged, as was the backup, then had to re-install all of windows to make it function again. The only reason it didn't take ten hours to fix is that this particular customer has three important files: his inbox, his address book and his quicken data store. Nothing else mattered. A re-install took as long as my fixing my own computer did in total, and the damage to mine was far, far worse.