from the why-oh-why dept.
A number of users have reported that running "rm --no-preserve-root -rf /" not only deletes all their files (as expected), but also permanently bricks their computers (which is not). Tracing the issue revealed that the ultimate cause was that SystemD mounted the EFI pseudo-fs as read-write even when this FS was not listed in fstab, and deleting certain files in this pseudo-fs causes certain buggy, but very common, firmware not to POST anymore. A user reported this bug on SystemD's GitHub issue tracker, asking that the FS be mounted read-only instead of read-write, and said bug was immediately closed as invalid. The comment thread for the bug was locked shortly after. Discuss.
System adminsitrator Chris Siebenmann has found Modern versions of systemd can cause an unmount storm during shutdowns:
One of my discoveries about Ubuntu 20.04 is that my test machine can trigger the kernel's out of memory killing during shutdown. My test virtual machine has 4 GB of RAM and 1 GB of swap, but it also has 347 NFS[*] mounts, and after some investigation, what appears to be happening is that in the 20.04 version of systemd (systemd 245 plus whatever changes Ubuntu has made), systemd now seems to try to run umount for all of those filesystems all at once (which also starts a umount.nfs process for each one). On 20.04, this is apparently enough to OOM[**] my test machine.
[...] Unfortunately, so far I haven't found a way to control this in systemd. There appears to be no way to set limits on how many unmounts systemd will try to do at once (or in general how many units it will try to stop at once, even if that requires running programs). Nor can we readily modify the mount units, because all of our NFS mounts are done through shell scripts by directly calling
mount; they don't exist in
/etc/fstabor as actual
We've been here before and there is certainly more where that came from.
(2020) Linux Home Directory Management is About to Undergo Major Change
(2019) System Down: A systemd-journald Exploit
(2017) Savaged by Systemd
(2017) Linux systemd Gives Root Privileges to Invalid Usernames
(2016) Systemd Crashing Bug
(2015) tmux Coders Asked to Add Special Code for systemd
(2016) SystemD Mounts EFI pseudo-fs RW, Facilitates Permanently Bricking Laptops, Closes Bug Invalid
(2015) A Technical Critique of Systemd
(2014) Devuan Developers Can Be Reached Via firstname.lastname@example.org
(2014) Systemd-resolved Subject to Cache Poisoning