Reply to post: The saga of a class, Pascal, network, and a Novell server...

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

The saga of a class, Pascal, network, and a Novell server...

When I was in college in the early 1990's, the computer labs at the community college that I went to had some very spiffy high end 80386DX-33 machines. They were quite loaded. They had a full 16MB Ram, 256K cache, 120MB harddisks, and even the optional math coprocessor. I was in the programming class, so I was learning Pascal. Come to find out, the Pascal compiler had the ability to compile the program to protected mode target. No more limited memory to 640KB.

All the machines were using 10mbit thick ethernet on a common bus. I spent some time learning how to write an IP stack and device driver in DOS so my programs could run exclusively in protected mode, for performance reasons of course. All you had to do was link in the library to use the procedures in it.

Come to find out, the staff liked my idea and asked if I would share the library with them so others could use it. I didn't think anything of it at the time.

Later, we had an assignment that specified an IPX address that we are supposed to talk to. We were told to be very careful when keying it in so as to not mess it up. So 60-70 students coded the assignment and ran it. Come to find out, the IP address that we were given was wrong on the assignment. Instead of connecting to a dedicated server which was for our use, we were bombarding the main server in the office, which crashed, and it took the administrative network down with it.

We didn't know anything about it until next class meeting when the head of IT came in and was asking who blew up the server. Nobody knew what was going on. Apparently, when the server crashed, it corrupted the harddisk and they had to restore from backups, loosing a few days work. Since the machines didn't have logins (you just booted to a dos prompt), they couldn't pin it on any one person.

Anonymous because the head IT guy reads this and AFAIK, he's still there.

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