Automatic updates are great because they keep your system up-to-date with the latest features and/or security fixes. That’s as long as the firmware is not messed up of course, as Bootlin and others found out when they discovered their Raspberry Pi board(s) had become inaccessible after an ill-fated Raspbian update.
What happened is that raspi-copies-and-fills package, which implements optimized low-level memory functions for the ARM processor, was updated on March 11th, and the update somehow made some programs completely fail to run. This explains why Bootlin guys were unable to access their Raspberry Pi over SSH.
The fix is simple, as long as you have physical access to your Raspberry Pi’s micro SD card, remove it from the board, and insert it into your computer, and…:
- Repair the rootfs partition with
Shell1e2fsck -f /dev/mmcblk0p2
- Delete etc/ld.so.preload
Unmount the micro SD card, and reinsert it into your Raspberry Pi board. If you’ve installed your Raspberry Pi in a hard to access location, it looks like there’s no solution to repair your micro SD card remotely since SSH or other network connection methods won’t work.
The good news is that Raspbian team acted quickly to resolve the issue, and a fix has already been committed. That means it should now be safe to upgrade Raspbian to the latest version.