PRO TIP: Don't run "sudo rm -rf" on your RoboRio!

Our programmers are working on more advanced logging for our code. Through this, they’ve been mounting the RoboRio’s file system on their computers to access and modify logs. Today, one of them (david.e.boles here on CD to embarrass him further) tried to erase a directory he created by accident and this ensued:

He managed to vaporize the Linux install so completely that the RSL wouldn’t even light up. After a 30 minute phone call with NI we managed to restore the OS (and I guess I have a new skill for when I volunteer and FTA this offseason?).

TL;DR in the words of Austin, one of the NI engineers: “sudo rm -rf is a bad deal”

I think part of becoming a pro engineer is being burned by things like this [every now and then] and experiencing sufficient pain to vow never to do so again. :slight_smile:

Yeah, well, last month someone typed a bad command and brought down a huge chunk of Amazon’s S3 system and a huge portion of the internet too, so let him know it happens to the "pro"s too… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Every unix sysadmin I know has at the bare minimum lived through a similar stories, most have been the starring actor in at least one. They definitely are “learning” experiences.

Vast god like powers, recursion, and network mounted files systems are not always your friends.

Technically a “sudo rm -rf /” is recoverable with a live cd…

Are you truly a (GNU /) linux system admin if you’ve never broken your install and had to just reinstall?

Anyone up for a game of roulette before playoffs?

 $ $RANDOM % 6 ] == 0 ] && rm -rf --no-preserve-root / || echo *Click*


“echo Click” is a nice touch.

Child gets cheap Linux box, Daddy hoping to inspire.

A week later:
Son: Daddy, what happens if I do sudo rm -rf /
Dad: You learn how to build the OS from scratch
Son: And if I do it on the iMac?
Dad: Your sister rips your lips off

Everyone needs to learn that sudu is not some magic “do this” incantation.

Some of us learn through doing.

Thankfully I work mostly on Windows these days, where I keep the elevated window with a red background as a reminder.

Reminds me of the ever thrilling read

Could you describe what NI walked you through to restore the OS? I’m curious.

The gist was just starting the roborio in a kind of recovery mode by holding buttons on power-up with a usb drive plugged in that was flashed with stuff NI gave us.

Ah, the recovery image. I had to do this the first weekend we had the roborio, lol. Something went wrong with the initial imaging process (dropped connection? not really sure), and the thing bricked.

I also had to do it again the following year. Don’t change the username/password of the roborio unless you write it down somewhere.

I think I still have that image lying around somewhere, but unfortunately I forget the actual procedure for flashing it. It was a useful skill to have.