Root Cause Analysis

Current Job Listings

The company this pilot fish works for is acquired by a larger outfit, and everyone gets a new login based on just the employee's family name -- which in fish's case is Root.

"That should have been a non-issue with any other name," says fish. "But when the administrators created my account, they apparently didn't think about the fact that root is the superuser account in our Unix systems.

"Following the instructions provided in an email, I logged in and changed the password on my 'root' account. The next time I logged in, the password didn't work. I called the help desk for the new company and they reset my password -- and it worked until I logged off and tried to log back in.

"After three days of this, I finally asked the second-level support tech if it was possible that my 'root' login was creating my issue, since there was already a root account and directory in Unix.

"After several more days, I received an email with my new account name: broot. Problem solved. But I always imagined that each time I changed my password on the root account, systems were failing all over the world."

Wherever in the world you are, send Sharky your true tale of IT life at You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

Get Sharky's outtakes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

How collaboration apps foster digital transformation
Shop Tech Products at Amazon