Your stupidest mistake when running Linux? | InfoWorld – InfoWorld

January 5, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized

Even Linux users make mistakes

Linux has much to offer any computer user, but we’re all human and everybody makes mistakes. A user in a recent thread on the Linux subreddit asked folks what their dumbest mistake was when using Linux, and he got some funny answers.

Xenomorph started the thread with this post:

What was your stupidest mistake when running Linux?

In Fedoa 24: run update in GNOME

Switch to different workspace

Forget about update


Find out the computer doesn’t work anymore. Panic.

More at Reddit

His fellow Linux redditors responded with their thoughts:

T_hunger: “I once ran “rm -rf / tmp/*” (note the extra space). As root. During a presentation. The video is up on YouTube.”

Agentf90: “Installing Ubuntu. Blew the speakers on brand new zenbook 3 with the first “wrong password” audio alert before I even logged in. Returned the laptop immediately.”

Danspanner: “Sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

I don’t know why, but from Ubuntu 8.04 to around 12.04 that one always, without fail, broke everything.”

Amauk: “I heard of one guy who mixed up his device names, mistaking his hard drive for his modem.

Dialled his disk and scribbled a bunch of AT commands over his MBR.

Forgot his name, though…”

Leegethas: “I once managed to do a: chmod -R 777 /

I obviously wanted to do this to a specific directory, but I accidentally hit enter and did it to the entire system.

Fortunately it was a brand new install. Yeah, I had to start over. But no real damage was done.”

Mnpaulsen: “Was making a bootable USB for my homeserver. Ended up dd to a wrong device so iso ended up on /dev/sda instead of /dev/sdb.

And this was during my exams.

Noticed next day when i booted up my system.”

CanadianUkr: “Tried a new modeline for the monitor. Started X, burnt my CRT monitor immediately. This was 20 years ago.”

Throwaway: “openSUSE deals with repositories in kind of an inflationary way. You typically add lots of repositories to your system and then in order to avoid problems, it doesn’t cross-update software packages from different repositories.

Now that’s all good and fine, but when you run your usual system update in the terminal (sudo zypper update), then it gives you a notice about these more up-to-date packages being available in other repositories.

And it tells you that you can install these package updates by running sudo zypper dist-upgrade.

Well, queue me running a dist-upgrade every single time that I wanted to do a system update. And that was on openSUSE Tumbleweed, so probably once a week most of my system’s packages were reinstalled from a different repository.

Lets just say that I can now attest to it being a dumb idea to cross-update packages from many different repositories. My system was completely broken within a few weeks.

(Running sudo zypper dist-upgrade does also give you a warning that this might potentially be a dumb idea, so yeah, this was my fault.)”

Cismalescumlord: “Well, just last year I ran sudo dd if=openSUSE-Leap-42.2-DVD-x86_64.iso of=/dev/sda bs=4M on my main work horse.

Not me, but a data centre admin guy ran sudo shutdown -r -h now on our main database server. Cue the two hour drive of shame; it’s probably coincidental, but they can now remotely power on the servers.”

Daemonpenguin: “It’s a toss up. It could be the time I moved instead of copied the C library on my Linux install, causing all programs to stop working. (This is why items in /bin should be statically linked.) Or the time I was removing a directory called “home” and ran “rm -rf /home” instead of “rm -rf home”. That slash makes a big difference!”

More at Reddit

The smallest Linux distributions

It’s often said that bigger is better, but that’s not necessarily true when it comes to Linux distributions. Smaller distros can often offer a great deal of value in a very small package. A writer at DistroWatch has a helpful roundup of some of the smallest Linux distributions.