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man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2019
 
 

rm(1)

Name

rm, rmdir - remove directory entries

Synopsis

rm [–f | –-force] [–iI] [–-interactive[=WHEN]]
[–r | –R | –-recursive] [–-one-file-system]
[–-no-preserve-root] [–-preserve-root] [–-help
]
[–v | –-verbose] file ...
/usr/bin/rm -r | 
-R | --recursive [-f | --force
] [--help] [-i]
[--interactive=[=WHEN]] [--one-file-system
] [–I] [--preserve-root]
[--no-preserve-root] [-v | --verbose
] dirname... [file]...
/usr/xpg4/bin/rm [-fiRr] 
file...
/usr/bin/rmdir
 [--ignore-fail-on-non-empty] [-p | 
--parents] [-s]
[-v | --verbose] [--help] 
dirname ...

Description

/usr/bin/rm /usr/xpg4/bin/rm

The rm utility removes the directory entry specified by each file argument. If a file has no write permission and the standard input is a terminal, the full set of permissions (in octal) for the file are printed followed by a question mark. This is a prompt for confirmation. If the answer is affirmative, the file is deleted, otherwise the file remains.

If file is a symbolic link, the link is removed, but the file or directory to which it refers is not deleted. Users do not need write permission to remove a symbolic link, provided they have write permissions in the directory.

If multiple files are specified and removal of a file fails for any reason, rm writes a diagnostic message to standard error, do nothing more to the current file, and go on to any remaining files.

If the standard input is not a terminal, the utility operates as if the –f option is in effect.

/usr/bin/rmdir

The rmdir utility removes the directory entry specified by each dirname operand, which must refer to an empty directory.

Directories are processed in the order specified. If a directory and a subdirectory of that directory are specified in a single invocation of rmdir, the subdirectory must be specified before the parent directory so that the parent directory is empty when rmdir tries to remove it.

Options

The following options are supported for /usr/bin/rm:

–r, –R, –-recursive

Recursively removes directories and subdirectories in the argument list. The directory is emptied of files and removed. The user is normally prompted for removal of any write-protected files which the directory contains. The write-protected files are removed without prompting, however, if the –f option is used, or if the standard input is not a terminal and the –i option is not used.

Symbolic links that are encountered with this option is not traversed.

If the removal of a non-empty, write-protected directory is attempted, the utility always fails (even if the –f option is used), resulting in an error message.

–-help

Displays usage message and exits with return code 0.

–f, –-force

Removes files (even if write-protected) in a directory without prompting the user. In a write-protected directory, however, files are never removed (whatever their permissions are) and no messages are displayed.

–i

Interactive. With this option, rm prompts for confirmation before removing any files. It overrides the –f option and remains in effect even if the standard input is not a terminal.

–I

Prompts for confirmation if there more than three files; its less intrusive than –i option. It overrides the –f option and remains in effect even if the standard input is not a terminal

–-interactive[=WHEN]

Prompts according to WHEN: never, once (–I), or always (–i). Without WHEN, prompts always. It overrides the –f option and remains in effect even if the standard input is not terminal.

–-one-file-system

When removing recursively, skip directory from different file system from that of the corresponding command line argument.

–-preserve-root

Do not operate recursively on `/'.

–-no-preserve-root

Do not treat `/' specially. This is the default.

–v, –-verbose

Give a diagnostic for every file processed.

/usr/xpg4/bin/rm

The following options are supported for /usr/xpg4/bin/rm:

–r, –R

Recursively removes directories and subdirectories in the argument list. The directory is emptied of files and removed. The user is normally prompted for removal of any write-protected files which the directory contains. The write-protected files are removed without prompting, however, if the –f option is used, or if the standard input is not a terminal and the –i option is not used.

Symbolic links that are encountered with this option is not traversed.

If the removal of a non-empty, write-protected directory is attempted, the utility always fails (even if the –f option is used), resulting in an error message.

–f

Does not prompt for confirmation. Does not write diagnostic messages or modify the exit status in the case of non-existent operands. Any previous occurrences of the –i option is ignored.

–i

Prompts for confirmation. If the options –i and –f are both specified, the last option takes the precedence.

/usr/bin/rmdir

The following options are supported for /usr/bin/rmdir only:

–-help

Displays usage message and exits with status 0.

–-ignore-fail-on-non-empty

Ignores failure that is solely because a directory is non-empty.

–p, –-parents

Allows users to remove the directory dirname and its parent directories which become empty. A message is printed to standard error if all or part of the path could not be removed.

–s

Suppresses the message printed on the standard error when –p is in effect.

–v, –-verbose

Outputs a diagnostic for the directory or directories processed.

Operands

The following operands are supported:

file

Specifies the pathname of a directory entry to be removed.

dirname

Specifies the pathname of an empty directory to be removed.

Examples

The following examples are valid for the commands shown.

/usr/bin/rm, /usr/xpg4/bin/rm

Example 1 Removing Directories

The following command removes the directory entries a.out and core:

example% rm a.out core
Example 2 Removing a Directory without Prompting

The following command removes the directory junk and all its contents, without prompting:

example% rm -rf junk

/usr/bin/rmdir

Example 3 Removing Empty Directories

If a directory a in the current directory is empty, except that it contains a directory b, and a/b is empty except that it contains a directory c, the following command removes all three directories:

example% rmdir -p a/b/c

Environment Variables

See environ(7) for descriptions of the following environment variables that affect the execution of rm and rmdir: LANG, LC_ALL, LC_COLLATE, LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES , and NLSPATH.

Affirmative responses are processed using the extended regular expression defined for the yesexpr keyword in the LC_MESSAGES category of the user's locale. The locale specified in the LC_COLLATE category defines the behavior of ranges, equivalence classes, and multi-character collating elements used in the expression defined for yesexpr. The locale specified in LC_CTYPE determines the locale for interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data a characters, the behavior of character classes used in the expression defined for the yesexpr. See locale(7).

Exit Status

The following exit values are returned:

0

If the –f option was not specified, all the named directory entries were removed; otherwise, all the existing named directory entries were removed.

>0

An error occurred.

Attributes

See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

/usr/bin/rm, /usr/bin/rmdir

ATTRIBUTE TYPE
ATTRIBUTE VALUE
Availability
system/core-os
CSI
Enabled

/usr/xpg4/bin/rm

ATTRIBUTE TYPE
ATTRIBUTE VALUE
Availability
system/xopen/xcu4
CSI
Enabled
Interface Stability
Committed
Standard

See Also

rmdir(2), unlink(2), getopt_long(3C), mkdirp(3GEN), attributes(7), environ(7), standards(7)

Diagnostics

It is forbidden to remove the files “.” and “..” in order to avoid the consequences of inadvertently doing something like the following:

example% rm -r .*

It is forbidden to remove the file “/” in order to avoid the consequences of inadvertently doing something like:

example% rm -rf $x/$y

or

example% rm -rf /$y

when $x and $y expand to empty strings.

Notes

A permits the user to mark explicitly the end of any command line options, allowing rm to recognize file arguments that begin with a . As an aid to BSD migration, rm accepts − − as a synonym for . This migration aid may disappear in a future release. If a − − and a both appear on the same command line, the second is interpreted as a file.