I’m amazed and bewildered that the
sudo rm -rf / command actually worked in Ubuntu. Lowarch (and I can only assume by extension, Arch Linux) screened that command with a terse error message, although it was easily circumvented.
But Ubuntu barely blinked before completely destroying itself. It happened so fast that I barely saw the drive light flicker before the entire business was done in a puff of electronic dust. I tried both 7.04 and 7.10, and both times Ubuntu happily complied.
Even more interesting, the Ubuntu man pages for rm suggest that the default behavior for the rm command (which is part of the coreutils package, if you go looking for it) is not to protect the root directory from removal. Note that there is a
--no-protect-root flag, which means you could override the default, no matter what it was.
It doesn’t seem right that Ubuntu should so eagerly self-destruct. To that end I’ve filed a bug report against coreutils, suggesting that the option be reversed, mostly as a protective measure against the malicious posters who think it’s funny to prey on new Linux users.
If you can comment or add to it, I’d be obliged.