Mon
Jun 25 2012 4:30pm

How Toy Story 2 Nearly Vanished

Count on Pixar to make a small animated short about how they almost lost Toy Story 2 while it was in production. Watch the video to see how three characters punched into a computer — only three characters — deleted millions of dollars and thousands of hours of effort.

10 comments
Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
Yeah, have good backups--especially for things worth millions of dollars. Face palm.
Christopher Hatton
3. Xopher
Not checking the automated backups for months is criminal.

Having everything in one directory is stupid too. If they'd had a decent file structure it would have taken rm -r * (not just rm *) to delete everything. And only administrators should have access to delete everything; if they'd had any Unix administrators they'd've noticed the backups failing.
Christopher Hatton
4. Xopher
Also, anyone heard of source control? Wow. These are solved problems, and they were even back then.
snowfire20
5. snowfire20
This should be re-titled, How pixar got a new IT Dept.
and a security audit.
snowfire20
6. Michael. P Taylor
Pixar: awesome at film-making, not so hot on IT infrastructure.
snowfire20
7. Shadowfire
Apart from the fact that ordinary operators were apparently running commands with superuser privileges, any UNIX administrator with a modicum of common sense would have added an alias to the rm
command to modify the way that it operates by asking the user whether they are *really sure* that they want to delete everything on the system. This has been pretty much standard operating practice for every UNIX variant and every shell environment for about thirty years.
Fade Manley
8. fadeaccompli
All the issues of what they should have done aside... I still love the section with driving the Very Precious Computer to the office, and bearing it in on a litter.
snowfire20
9. blabla
Or don't use UNIX... No rm * on other systems...
snowfire20
10. Laird Popkin
"Or don't use UNIX... No rm * on other systems..."

Sure, because nobody would ever type "del *". :-)

Seriously, guys, the whole thing was a silly video labeled "99% true, as far as we recall". I'm sure there's some truth to it, but I wouldn't spend a lot of time second-guessing Pixar's technology skillz over this. They did create Renderman and a whole stack of cool technologies, and make a series of amazingly good movies. That's got to count for something!

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