How Toy Story 2 Narrowly Escaped Oblivion

Have you ever accidentally dropped something out of your pocket while the toilet is flushing? That’s R-M-*.

Those three little characters are more dangerous than they might look: they very nearly spelled the end of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Mr. Potato Head. R-M-* erases Linux and Unix drives, and in 01999, someone accidentally ran this command on the machine that held the files for the soon-to-be-released Toy Story 2.

In this animated video, Pixar producer Galyn Susman and former CTO Oren Jacob tell the story of how they nearly lost their movie, and finally managed to recover it:

Luckily, this story has a happy ending – but it’s a scary glimpse at how little stands between us and the digital dark age!

(via Kottke)

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

More from Digital Dark Age

What is the long now?

The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

Learn more

Join our newsletter for the latest in long-term thinking

Long Now's website is changing...