Visit Our UNIX and Linux User Community

Why is editing a file by renaming the new one safer?

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Top Forums UNIX for Advanced & Expert Users Why is editing a file by renaming the new one safer?
# 8  
Old 01-01-2020
I agree.

For many non-critical files, where I am making small, incremental changes, I often do not make a fresh backup copy, especially because I have off-platform backups as well; and edit the file directory and save it, as normal.

Like zxmaus, I cannot recall every losing a file due to a system crash while editing a file, in over 40 decades of working with computers.

However, I do recall making a lot of "simple human mistakes" and have learned to be "saved by backups". This leads me to always recommend people make and maintain filesystem backups, based on their risk management model (criticality, vulnerability, threats).

These days, more-often-than-not, for a increasing majority of my file edits, if they are significant, I will sftp the file to my desktop, open the file in Visual Studio Code (or cut-and-paste into VSC if a small file) , edit the file using all the available syntax and formatting tools and plugins, and save the edited file with a different name, preserving the original file on my working directory on my desktop, and then I will either sftp or cut-and-past into the remote server over an ssh terminal.

I cannot count the number of times VSC has been helpful to spot a syntax error which missed my tired, overworked eyes. The formatting is also useful (indentations, consistent formatting, etc) is also very useful in VSC. These kinds of tools are really time savers, especially for syntax checking.

It goes without saying, I use vi every day to edit files; but I also use vi in conjunction with VSC, more and more; for the syntax checking and formatting for code (programming languages) and JSON files, etc. But as I am quick to confess I do edit files with vi and do not make make a backup copy, but not often; but if it is some small change which i can easily revert-back based on "memory", then I am guilty. I also push files to private GIT repositories as well, when my work on critical files are done. GIT is Good for backups Smilie
# 9  
Old 01-01-2020
I agree also,

I did lose files after crashes but in the early 90s on HP-UX 8, or Linux 0.99... can't remember after with JFS...

As Neo mentions, its not the OS crash the vulnerability but more the Human intervention on those files been modified e.g I saw Sun servers after a reboot where no one could connect, because someone modified the passwd file NOT using vi... and many more similar cases, so for peace of mind I always make a copy I modify and once done add .ori to the original so whatever I can compare... My remarks apply mostly to any Unix configuration files except sudoers need editing with vi ( as depending on the state of the machine is the only editor working...)

It is true that modern editors as Neo described have funky functionalities that are more than simple cosmetics and would be a pity not to use, but also as he adds: with caution..

What I wanted to mention was more: In a panic mode you tend to forget a lot of things like when a system crashes, you may well have a mail ( but who looks at his mbox?) from the system saying you were editing a file and the system saved the state of the file under the name XXXXXXX, you open them with vi -rdepending the content and how bad the crash you may find the system managed to leave the original in his precedent state ( so before editing or last save ) and have in XXXXXX the last state of current modifications of the file, it may not be complete but at least you haven't lost all, and most important it avoided your system some unwanted file corruption... this may be the reason of with JFS no one can remember losing anything these last 25 years...

But it's not a reason for not being careful when doing sysadmin tasks

Previous Thread | Next Thread

9 More Discussions You Might Find Interesting

1. Shell Programming and Scripting

Convert vi editing to text editing

Dear Guru's I'm using Putty and want to edit a file. I know we generally use vi editor to do it. As I'm not good in using vi editor, I want to convert the vi into something like text pad. Is there any option in Putty to do the same ? Thanks for your response. Srini (6 Replies)
Discussion started by: thummi9090
6 Replies

2. UNIX for Dummies Questions & Answers

# / file deleting is safer or not

Hi All, Please tell me the use of # / file it has reserved a huge disk space, I want to know is it safer to truncate or delete. Thanks - Rukshan.:) (1 Reply)
Discussion started by: rukshan4u2c
1 Replies

3. Shell Programming and Scripting

Need help in editing a file

I have a file which has 10 million records in it. When am trying to edit the file with vi, the following error occurs: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ "file1" Value too large for defined data type Is there any way that I can edit this file without using vi? Any help would be really appreciated.... (8 Replies)
Discussion started by: bobby1015
8 Replies

4. Shell Programming and Scripting

editing line in text file adding number to value in file

I have a text file that has data like: Data "12345#22" Fred ID 12345 Age 45 Wilma Dino Data "123#22" Tarzan ID 123 Age 33 Jane I need to figure out a way of adding 1,000,000 to the specific lines (always same format) in the file, so it becomes: Data "1012345#22" Fred ID... (16 Replies)
Discussion started by: say170
16 Replies

5. Shell Programming and Scripting

Help with file editing while keeping file format intact

Hi, I am having a file which is fix length and comma seperated. And I want to replace values for one column. I am reading file line by line in variable $LINE and then replacing the string. Problem is after changing value and writing new file temp5.txt, formating of original file is getting... (8 Replies)
Discussion started by: Mruda
8 Replies

6. Solaris

metaset - renaming /editing the set name - possible ?

Hi all I need to change my current metaset setname from lh-rms02ds to lh-lgwrms01ds. Is it possible ?? I know within veritas I do a vxedit, is there a way in SVM ? I notice theres a metarename, but this is for the metadevice level. Any tips ? help ?? Or do I need to delete /... (2 Replies)
Discussion started by: sbk1972
2 Replies

7. What is on Your Mind?

Is M$ safer than UN*X(-LIKE)??

I know that you already know the answer to the question. It just springed in my mind after what happened yesterday. I was getting some books off of, since they are cheeper than bookstore, and my mother said something that made me laugh 'till I couldn't breathe. I have a Debian Lenny... (12 Replies)
Discussion started by: Texasone
12 Replies

8. What is on Your Mind?

Nuclear Elephant iPhone Wipe making your iPhone Safer for Resale

For those with the iPhones here might read up how to wipe your personal data off the phone before reselling or trade-in. ;) source: Nuclear Elephant: iPhone Wipe June 1, 2008: Making your iPhone Safe for Resale Since my posts regarding the iPhone restore mode being insufficient for wiping... (0 Replies)
Discussion started by: sparcguy
0 Replies

9. UNIX for Advanced & Expert Users

Editing the end of the file without loading the entire file

hi! I am a newbee. I would really appreciate if you can answer the following question: I have a huge data file, 214MB with several coloumns. I need to delete the very last line of the file. Everything I know takes a lot of time to do it ( because I have to open the file in an editor or run a... (3 Replies)
Discussion started by: Garuda
3 Replies

Featured Tech Videos