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precious disk space, was Re[5]: Cobol redefine in SQL

From: Jonathan Gennick <>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 12:44:25 -0800
Message-ID: <>

Thursday, November 27, 2003, 2:59:26 PM, Carel-Jan ( wrote: CJ> I (almost) totally agree, execpt for the fact that there was quite a chance CJ> that you didn't have a disk at all.

LOL! Ok, but I'm not that old. We did have disk, not much, and never as much as we wanted, and we had to be very, very careful with it, but we did have it.

I should tell you a story. One day, more years back than I care to admit, I found out that our systems people would hoard free disk in a really huge file to which they only had access. They would maintain the *apparent* free disk at a relatively low value to encourage us programmers to be thrifty. When disk got low, they'd release some from that huge file. When disk became plentiful, they'd suck it up and add it to their large file. Thus, we were always a bit short on disk.

Of course, whenever *they*, the great gods of the system, wanted disk for anything, they just released what they needed and did what they wanted, and then hid the disk back again in their large file.

I got wind of this, and wrote a little program that we programmers could use to replace the built-in delete command. Using *my* version of delete, us programmers were able to delete a file and hide the freed disk in our own set of files. Rather than one huge file, which the sys admins would have noticed right away, I spread *our* hoarded disk amongst a number of files scattered about in various payroll, accounting, and student record directories. I knew the sys admins would be far too afraid to touch any files in those directories even if they did notice them.

After awhile, we had more disk than the sys admins! We'd keep adding our hoard, free disk would drop, and they'd release from their hoard, which eventually ran low. Of course, they were very angry to find *us* hoarding disk, and they eventually did figure out we were doing something, though they weren't able to figure out my hiding spots until I divulged them.

It was all great fun, at least for us developers. And after the big blow-up, a new policy was instituted from on high. The admins were limited to hoarding only a small amount of disk to cover emergency situations.

My, but those were the days. Of course, one would be fired today for such antics.

Best regards,

Jonathan Gennick --- Brighten the corner where you are * 906.387.1698 *

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Author: Jonathan Gennick

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