Once started usually it is not required to stop erlang VM. We can stop the services running as well as erlang VM in a graceful manner with init:stop/0 function. Trick is to call this function on the target VM via remote shell.

For example, to stop the VM running as foo@example.foo.com with cookie foo

erl -name bar@example.foo.com -remsh foo@example.foo.com -setcookie foo -s init stop

The above command will not work as init:stop() is executed within bar@localhost VM, not in foo@localhost. Another way is to do spawn in the target.

erl -name bar@localhost -remsh foo@localhost -setcookie foo -s proc_lib spawn ‘foo@example.foo.com’ init stop “” -s init stop

The above command will try to execute proc_lib:spawn( ‘foo@example.foo.com’, init, stop, []). There is a small caveat here. -s option pass all the paramter to proc_lib:spawn/4 as a list, not as a individual parameter.

proc_lib:spawn( [‘foo@example.foo.com’, init, stop, [] ] ).

Since there is no such function defined, it will not work.

Only other solution is to create a module with one exported function which will spawn a function init:stop/0 on a remote shell.

-module (ctrl).


stop(Node) ->
proc_lib:spawn( hd(Node), init, stop, [] ).

Note that ctrl:stop/1 function gets list as an argument and it taking only the head element from it.

erl -name bar@example.foo.com -remsh foo@example.foo.com -setcookie foo -s ctrl stop ‘foo@example.foo.com’ -s init stop

The above command line execute ctrl:stop([‘foo@example.foo.com’]), init:stop()

UPDATE: This can be done from command line without using any other module. All you have to do is to use -eval option on erl command line.

erl -name bar@example.foo.com -setcookie foo -eval “rpc:call(‘foo@example.foo.com’, init, stop, []), init:stop().”