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RM(1P)                     POSIX Programmer's Manual                    RM(1P)



PROLOG
       This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual.  The Linux implementation of this interface may dif-
       fer (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface  may  not  be
       implemented on Linux.

NAME
       rm - remove directory entries

SYNOPSIS
       rm [-fiRr] file...

DESCRIPTION
       The rm utility shall remove the directory entry specified by each file argument.

       If  either  of the files dot or dot-dot are specified as the basename portion of an operand (that is, the final
       pathname component), rm shall write a diagnostic message to standard  error  and  do  nothing  more  with  such
       operands.

       For each file the following steps shall be taken:

        1. If the file does not exist:

            a. If the -f option is not specified, rm shall write a diagnostic message to standard error.


            b. Go on to any remaining files.



        2. If file is of type directory, the following steps shall be taken:

            a. If  neither  the -R option nor the -r option is specified, rm shall write a diagnostic message to stan-
               dard error, do nothing more with file, and go on to any remaining files.


            b. If the -f option is not specified, and either the permissions of file do not  permit  writing  and  the
               standard  input  is a terminal or the -i option is specified, rm shall write a prompt to standard error
               and read a line from the standard input. If the response is not affirmative, rm shall do  nothing  more
               with the current file and go on to any remaining files.


            c. For  each entry contained in file, other than dot or dot-dot, the four steps listed here (1 to 4) shall
               be taken with the entry as if it were a file operand. The rm utility shall not traverse directories  by
               following symbolic links into other parts of the hierarchy, but shall remove the links themselves.


            d. If the -i option is specified, rm shall write a prompt to standard error and read a line from the stan-
               dard input.  If the response is not affirmative, rm shall do nothing more with the current file, and go
               on to any remaining files.



        3. If file is not of type directory, the -f option is not specified, and either the permissions of file do not
           permit writing and the standard input is a terminal or the -i option is specified, rm shall write a  prompt
           to the standard error and read a line from the standard input. If the response is not affirmative, rm shall
           do nothing more with the current file and go on to any remaining files.


        4. If the current file is a directory, rm shall perform actions equivalent to the rmdir() function defined  in
           the System Interfaces volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 called with a pathname of the current file used as the
           path argument. If the current file is not a directory, rm shall perform actions equivalent to the  unlink()
           function  defined  in  the  System  Interfaces volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 called with a pathname of the
           current file used as the path argument.

       If this fails for any reason, rm shall write a diagnostic message to standard error, do nothing more  with  the
       current file, and go on to any remaining files.


       The rm utility shall be able to descend to arbitrary depths in a file hierarchy, and shall not fail due to path
       length limitations (unless an operand specified by the user exceeds system limitations).

OPTIONS
       The rm utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 12.2, Utility Syn-
       tax Guidelines.

       The following options shall be supported:

       -f     Do  not  prompt for confirmation. Do not write diagnostic messages or modify the exit status in the case
              of nonexistent operands.  Any previous occurrences of the -i option shall be ignored.

       -i     Prompt for confirmation as described previously. Any previous occurrences of  the  -f  option  shall  be
              ignored.

       -R     Remove file hierarchies. See the DESCRIPTION.

       -r     Equivalent to -R.


OPERANDS
       The following operand shall be supported:

       file   A pathname of a directory entry to be removed.


STDIN
       The  standard input shall be used to read an input line in response to each prompt specified in the STDOUT sec-
       tion. Otherwise, the standard input shall not be used.

INPUT FILES
       None.

ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES
       The following environment variables shall affect the execution of rm:

       LANG   Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or  null.  (See  the  Base
              Definitions  volume  of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 8.2, Internationalization Variables for the prece-
              dence of internationalization variables used to determine the values of locale categories.)

       LC_ALL If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other internationalization variables.

       LC_COLLATE

              Determine the locale for the behavior of ranges, equivalence classes, and multi-character collating ele-
              ments used in the extended regular expression defined for the yesexpr locale keyword in the  LC_MESSAGES
              category.

       LC_CTYPE
              Determine  the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data as characters (for exam-
              ple, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments) and the behavior of character classes
              within  regular  expressions used in the extended regular expression defined for the yesexpr locale key-
              word in the LC_MESSAGES category.

       LC_MESSAGES
              Determine the locale for the processing of affirmative responses that should be used to affect the  for-
              mat and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error.

       NLSPATH
              Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES .


ASYNCHRONOUS EVENTS
       Default.

STDOUT
       Not used.

STDERR
       Prompts  shall  be written to standard error under the conditions specified in the DESCRIPTION and OPTIONS sec-
       tions. The prompts shall contain the file pathname, but their format is  otherwise  unspecified.  The  standard
       error also shall be used for diagnostic messages.

OUTPUT FILES
       None.

EXTENDED DESCRIPTION
       None.

EXIT STATUS
       The following exit values shall be returned:

        0     All  of the named directory entries for which rm performed actions equivalent to the rmdir() or unlink()
              functions were removed.

       >0     An error occurred.


CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS
       Default.

       The following sections are informative.

APPLICATION USAGE
       The rm utility is forbidden to remove the names dot and dot-dot in order to avoid the consequences of  inadver-
       tently doing something like:


              rm -r .*

       Some implementations do not permit the removal of the last link to an executable binary file that is being exe-
       cuted;  see  the  [EBUSY]  error  in  the  unlink()  function  defined  in  the  System  Interfaces  volume  of
       IEEE Std 1003.1-2001. Thus, the rm utility can fail to remove such files.

       The -i option causes rm to prompt and read the standard input even if the standard input is not a terminal, but
       in the absence of -i the mode prompting is not done when the standard input is not a terminal.

EXAMPLES
        1. The following command:


           rm a.out core

       removes the directory entries: a.out and core.


        2. The following command:


           rm -Rf junk

       removes the directory junk and all its contents, without prompting.


RATIONALE
       For absolute clarity, paragraphs (2b) and (3) in the DESCRIPTION of rm describing the behavior  when  prompting
       for confirmation, should be interpreted in the following manner:


              if ((NOT f_option) AND
                  ((not_writable AND input_is_terminal) OR i_option))

       The  exact format of the interactive prompts is unspecified. Only the general nature of the contents of prompts
       are specified because implementations may desire more descriptive prompts than those used on historical  imple-
       mentations.  Therefore, an application not using the -f option, or using the -i option, relies on the system to
       provide the most suitable dialog directly with the user, based on the behavior specified.

       The -r option is historical practice on all known systems. The synonym -R option is  provided  for  consistency
       with  the  other  utilities  in  this  volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 that provide options requesting recursive
       descent through the file hierarchy.

       The behavior of the -f option in historical versions of rm is inconsistent. In general,  along  with  "forcing"
       the unlink without prompting for permission, it always causes diagnostic messages to be suppressed and the exit
       status to be unmodified for nonexistent operands and files that cannot be unlinked. In some versions,  however,
       the  -f  option suppresses usage messages and system errors as well. Suppressing such messages is not a service
       to either shell scripts or users.

       It is less clear that error messages regarding files that cannot be unlinked (removed)  should  be  suppressed.
       Although this is historical practice, this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 does not permit the -f option to sup-
       press such messages.

       When given the -r and -i options, historical versions of rm prompt the user  twice  for  each  directory,  once
       before  removing  its contents and once before actually attempting to delete the directory entry that names it.
       This allows the user to "prune" the file hierarchy walk. Historical versions of rm were  inconsistent  in  that
       some  did  not  do the former prompt for directories named on the command line and others had obscure prompting
       behavior when the -i option was specified and the permissions of the file did not  permit  writing.  The  POSIX
       Shell and Utilities rm differs little from historic practice, but does require that prompts be consistent. His-
       torical versions of rm were also inconsistent in that prompts were done to both standard  output  and  standard
       error.  This  volume  of  IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 requires that prompts be done to standard error, for consistency
       with cp and mv, and to allow historical extensions to rm that provide an option to list deleted files on  stan-
       dard output.

       The  rm  utility  is  required  to  descend to arbitrary depths so that any file hierarchy may be deleted. This
       means, for example, that the rm utility cannot run out of file descriptors during its descent (that is, if  the
       number  of  file  descriptors  is  limited,  rm  cannot be implemented in the historical fashion where one file
       descriptor is used per directory level). Also, rm is not permitted to fail because of path length restrictions,
       unless an operand specified by the user is longer than {PATH_MAX}.

       The  rm  utility removes symbolic links themselves, not the files they refer to, as a consequence of the depen-
       dence on the unlink() functionality, per the DESCRIPTION. When removing hierarchies with -r or -R, the prohibi-
       tion on following symbolic links has to be made explicit.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS
       None.

SEE ALSO
       rmdir(), the System Interfaces volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, remove(), rmdir(), unlink()

COPYRIGHT
       Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2003 Edition, Stan-
       dard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base  Specifica-
       tions  Issue  6,  Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The
       Open Group. In the event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group Stan-
       dard,  the  original  IEEE  and  The  Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be
       obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .



IEEE/The Open Group                  2003                               RM(1P)