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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

     rm - remove directory entries

SYNOPSIS    [Toc]    [Back]

     rm [-f | -i] [-dPRrW] file [...]

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

     The rm utility attempts to  remove  the  non-directory  type
files specified
     on  the command line.  If the permissions of the file do not
permit writing,
 and the standard input device is a terminal,  the  user
is prompted
     (on the standard error output) for confirmation.

     The options are as follows:

     -d      Attempt to remove directories as well as other types
of files.

     -f      Attempt to remove the files  without  prompting  for
             regardless  of  the file's permissions.  If the file
does not exist,
 do not display a diagnostic message  or  modify
the exit status
  to  reflect  an error.  The -f option overrides
any previous -i

     -i      Request confirmation  before  attempting  to  remove
each file, regardless
  of  the  file's permissions, or whether or
not the standard
 input device is  a  terminal.   The  -i  option
overrides any
             previous -f options.

     -P      Overwrite regular files before deleting them.  Files
are overwritten
 three times, first  with  the  byte  pattern
0xff, then 0x00,
             and then 0xff again, before they are deleted.  Files
with multiple
 links will not be overwritten.

     -R      Attempt to remove the file hierarchy rooted in  each
file argument.
   The -R option implies the -d option.  If the
-i option is
             specified, the user is prompted for confirmation before each directory's
  contents are processed (as well as before
the attempt
             is made to remove the directory).  If the user  does
not respond
             affirmatively, the file hierarchy rooted in that directory is

     -r      Equivalent to -R.

     -W      Attempts to undelete the  named  files.   Currently,
this option can
             only  be  used to recover files covered by whiteouts
on union

     The rm utility removes symbolic links, not the files  referenced by the

     It  is  an  error  to  attempt  to remove the files ``.'' or
``..''.  It is
     forbidden to remove the file ``..'' merely to avoid the  antisocial consequences
  of inadvertently doing something like ``rm -r .*''.

     The rm utility exits 0 if all of the named files or file hierarchies were
     removed,  or  if  the -f option was specified and all of the
existing files
     or file hierarchies were removed.  If an  error  occurs,  rm
exits with a
     value >0.

EXAMPLES    [Toc]    [Back]

     Recursively remove all files contained within the foobar directory hierarchy:

           $ rm -rf foobar

     Either of these commands will remove the file -f:

           $ rm -- -f
           $ rm ./-f

SEE ALSO    [Toc]    [Back]

     rmdir(1), unlink(2), fts(3), symlink(7)

STANDARDS    [Toc]    [Back]

     The rm utility differs from  historical  implementations  in
that the -f option
  only  masks  attempts to remove non-existent files instead of masking
     a large variety of errors.

     Also, historical BSD implementations prompted on  the  standard output, not
     the standard error output.

     The  interactive  mode used to be a dsw command, a carryover
from the ancient
 past with an amusing etymology.

     The rm utility is almost IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'')  compatible, except
     that  POSIX  requires  rm to act like rmdir(1) when the file
specified is a
     directory.  This implementation requires the  -d  option  if
such behavior
     is desired.  This follows the historical behavior of rm with
respect to

HISTORY    [Toc]    [Back]

     An rm command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.

BUGS    [Toc]    [Back]

     The -P option assumes that the underlying file system  is  a
     file  system.  UFS is a fixed-block file system; LFS is not.
In addition,
     only regular files are overwritten, other types of files are

OpenBSD      3.6                         December     5,     1994
[ Back ]
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