From this nearby thread
I got this command for installing wine.
sudo apt install --install-recommends wine-staging-i386:i386
And so after purging prior attempts at installing wine, I ran the above command. It listed a lot of dependencies that were going to be installed I think the total was about 250 MB and the total increase to the drive was approaching 2 GB. Fine. I okayed the command and it began to work.
A moment later I looked at the command output and noticed that it was removing things. A lot of things. Things that had nothing to do with wine. It was removing apps and services, and apparently things necessary to the system.
Believing I was stuck I just let it run. In a couple of minutes the display went off and 20 minutes later I killed the session and rebooted. That is,, I tried to reboot. The system is fried.
So I'm wondering what happened. How is it that a simple command to install a program would lead to the destruction of a system? This was a new system that I was just finishing setting up, so I have no system image backup. It's all lost, a day's work. This whole thing is beyond my understanding how this could happen.
It is definitely disconcerting that anything remotely like what happened here is possible. There ought to be multiple fail safes involved to protect the user. Live and learn, and sometimes there's no substitute for experience, no matter how suboptimal that experience may be.
Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving!