Disaster can strike at any time. Such as 00:00, in Ireland, thousands of miles away from home. I'm pleased to report my /usr/lib folder did a bunk, and simply vanished, leaving my system in an unusable state. I managed to check dmesg before my system crashed, seems my laptop's HDD reported a load of error messages before my system went and did a bunk. I'm not sure if this is failed hardware, a kernel issue, or something else.
Fortunately, I'm prepared for such a disaster. I have a Kubuntu livecd which has been living in my bag since UDS, a spare netbook (with an SATA drive I can poach if I can confirm this one has actually failed or I can use it as a full blown replacement if need-be, although its slow), a USB HDD which I'm now backing up what remains of my data (the irreplaceables, that is, my GPG, SSH keys, and most of my writing are already safely backed up at home on my file server), and so forth.
SMART status on the internal HDD is as follows:
ubuntu@ubuntu:/$ sudo smartctl -H /dev/sda
smartctl version 5.38 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/
=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED
Please note the following marginal Attributes:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME FLAG VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE UPDATED WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022 054 031 045 Old_age Always In_the_past 46 (0 48 46 39)
Looks like the drive probably overheated in the distant past, but SMART did pass so I dunno ... Anyway, given the state of things, I'll run badblocks on the drive once I finish backing up, and hope for the best. Its got to make it to the end of this week ...