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Ok this is a sort of solved problem, however i am still interested in what was behind it..

I have been building chromium from source for a while now, and decided to get rid of the src directroy and all of my current builds and start from scratch (change of build config). So i wanted to use rm -rf to delete the ./src/ dir. the ./src/out/Debug/ dir was symlinked to /opt/chrome and the binary was linked on my gnome-Do docky bar.

When trying to rm -rf the src directory, after a second or so i got a total lockup of my gui, nothing responded including attempts to change runlevels. The box still responded to a ping although not having openssh-server installed didn't allow me to try anything else, so i hard rebooted. This happened twice. The third time i removed both the symlink dir and the gnome-Do icon and the delete worked... Does anybody have any clue what happened here and what may have caused it?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'd second EmmEff's suggestion. It is fairly common for the system to freeze when some command blocks on I/O operations. This could be due to bad sectors on the disk - check using the fsck or badblocks commands, but make sure you pass in the options to do a non-destructive test. The other, more common, problem is that you're on a network filesystem and experiencing latency in I/O operations.

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use smartctl to get the disk to do self-tests on itself. If it's going bad, buy a new one and copy. Minimize the amount of writes; def. don't use fsck to repair in place on a failing disk! – Peter Cordes Dec 10 '09 at 20:02

Have you run fsck on this filesystem? There could be filesystem corruption or the disk is going bad in the sectors where these files are/were stored.

I was going to suggest a recursive symlink, but my brief experimentation couldn't trigger the behaviour you described.

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