PROLOG | NAME | SYNOPSIS | DESCRIPTION | OPTIONS | OPERANDS | STDIN | INPUT FILES | ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES | ASYNCHRONOUS EVENTS | STDOUT | STDERR | OUTPUT FILES | EXTENDED DESCRIPTION | EXIT STATUS | CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS | APPLICATION USAGE | EXAMPLES | RATIONALE | FUTURE DIRECTIONS | SEE ALSO | COPYRIGHT

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

PROLOG         top

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

NAME         top

       mv — move files

SYNOPSIS         top

       mv [−if] source_file target_file

       mv [−if] source_file... target_dir

DESCRIPTION         top

       In the first synopsis form, the mv utility shall move the file named
       by the source_file operand to the destination specified by the
       target_file.  This first synopsis form is assumed when the final
       operand does not name an existing directory and is not a symbolic
       link referring to an existing directory. In this case, if source_file
       names a non-directory file and target_file ends with a trailing
       <slash> character, mv shall treat this as an error and no source_file
       operands will be processed.

       In the second synopsis form, mv shall move each file named by a
       source_file operand to a destination file in the existing directory
       named by the target_dir operand, or referenced if target_dir is a
       symbolic link referring to an existing directory. The destination
       path for each source_file shall be the concatenation of the target
       directory, a single <slash> character if the target did not end in a
       <slash>, and the last pathname component of the source_file.  This
       second form is assumed when the final operand names an existing
       directory.

       If any operand specifies an existing file of a type not specified by
       the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008, the behavior is
       implementation-defined.

       For each source_file the following steps shall be taken:

        1. If the destination path exists, the −f option is not specified,
           and either of the following conditions is true:

            a. The permissions of the destination path do not permit writing
               and the standard input is a terminal.

            b. The −i option is specified.

           the mv utility shall write a prompt to standard error and read a
           line from standard input. If the response is not affirmative, mv
           shall do nothing more with the current source_file and go on to
           any remaining source_files.

        2. If the source_file operand and destination path name the same
           existing file, then the destination path shall not be removed,
           and one of the following shall occur:

            a. No change is made to source_file, no error occurs, and no
               diagnostic is issued.

            b. No change is made to source_file, a diagnostic is issued to
               standard error identifying the two names, and the exit status
               is affected.

            c. If the source_file operand and destination path name distinct
               directory entries, then the source_file operand is removed,
               no error occurs, and no diagnostic is issued.

           The mv utility shall do nothing more with the current
           source_file, and go on to any remaining source_files.

        3. The mv utility shall perform actions equivalent to the rename()
           function defined in the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008,
           called with the following arguments:

            a. The source_file operand is used as the old argument.

            b. The destination path is used as the new argument.

           If this succeeds, mv shall do nothing more with the current
           source_file and go on to any remaining source_files.  If this
           fails for any reasons other than those described for the errno
           [EXDEV] in the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008, mv shall
           write a diagnostic message to standard error, do nothing more
           with the current source_file, and go on to any remaining
           source_files.

        4. If the destination path exists, and it is a file of type
           directory and source_file is not a file of type directory, or it
           is a file not of type directory and source_file is a file of type
           directory, mv shall write a diagnostic message to standard error,
           do nothing more with the current source_file, and go on to any
           remaining source_files.  If the destination path exists and was
           created by a previous step, it is unspecified whether this will
           treated as an error or the destination path will be overwritten.

        5. If the destination path exists, mv shall attempt to remove it. If
           this fails for any reason, mv shall write a diagnostic message to
           standard error, do nothing more with the current source_file, and
           go on to any remaining source_files.

        6. The file hierarchy rooted in source_file shall be duplicated as a
           file hierarchy rooted in the destination path. If source_file or
           any of the files below it in the hierarchy are symbolic links,
           the links themselves shall be duplicated, including their
           contents, rather than any files to which they refer. The
           following characteristics of each file in the file hierarchy
           shall be duplicated:

            *  The time of last data modification and time of last access

            *  The user ID and group ID

            *  The file mode

           If the user ID, group ID, or file mode of a regular file cannot
           be duplicated, the file mode bits S_ISUID and S_ISGID shall not
           be duplicated.

           When files are duplicated to another file system, the
           implementation may require that the process invoking mv has read
           access to each file being duplicated.

           If files being duplicated to another file system have hard links
           to other files, it is unspecified whether the files copied to the
           new file system have the hard links preserved or separate copies
           are created for the linked files.

           If the duplication of the file hierarchy fails for any reason, mv
           shall write a diagnostic message to standard error, do nothing
           more with the current source_file, and go on to any remaining
           source_files.

           If the duplication of the file characteristics fails for any
           reason, mv shall write a diagnostic message to standard error,
           but this failure shall not cause mv to modify its exit status.

        7. The file hierarchy rooted in source_file shall be removed. If
           this fails for any reason, mv shall write a diagnostic message to
           the standard error, do nothing more with the current source_file,
           and go on to any remaining source_files.

OPTIONS         top

       The mv utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of
       POSIX.1‐2008, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines.

       The following options shall be supported:

       −f        Do not prompt for confirmation if the destination path
                 exists. Any previous occurrence of the −i option is
                 ignored.

       −i        Prompt for confirmation if the destination path exists. Any
                 previous occurrence of the −f option is ignored.

       Specifying more than one of the −f or −i options shall not be
       considered an error. The last option specified shall determine the
       behavior of mv.

OPERANDS         top

       The following operands shall be supported:

       source_file
                 A pathname of a file or directory to be moved.

       target_file
                 A new pathname for the file or directory being moved.

       target_dir
                 A pathname of an existing directory into which to move the
                 input files.

STDIN         top

       The standard input shall be used to read an input line in response to
       each prompt specified in the STDERR section. Otherwise, the standard
       input shall not be used.

INPUT FILES         top

       The input files specified by each source_file operand can be of any
       file type.

ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES         top

       The following environment variables shall affect the execution of mv:

       LANG      Provide a default value for the internationalization
                 variables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions
                 volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 8.2, Internationalization
                 Variables for the precedence 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 elements
                 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 example, single-byte
                 as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments and input
                 files), the behavior of character classes used in the
                 extended regular expression defined for the yesexpr locale
                 keyword in the LC_MESSAGES category.

       LC_MESSAGES
                 Determine the locale used to process affirmative responses,
                 and the locale used to affect the format and contents of
                 diagnostic messages and prompts written to standard error.

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

ASYNCHRONOUS EVENTS         top

       Default.

STDOUT         top

       Not used.

STDERR         top

       Prompts shall be written to the standard error under the conditions
       specified in the DESCRIPTION section. The prompts shall contain the
       destination pathname, but their format is otherwise unspecified.
       Otherwise, the standard error shall be used only for diagnostic
       messages.

OUTPUT FILES         top

       The output files may be of any file type.

EXTENDED DESCRIPTION         top

       None.

EXIT STATUS         top

       The following exit values shall be returned:

        0    All input files were moved successfully.

       >0    An error occurred.

CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS         top

       If the copying or removal of source_file is prematurely terminated by
       a signal or error, mv may leave a partial copy of source_file at the
       source or destination. The mv utility shall not modify both
       source_file and the destination path simultaneously; termination at
       any point shall leave either source_file or the destination path
       complete.

       The following sections are informative.

APPLICATION USAGE         top

       Some implementations mark for update the last file status change
       timestamp of renamed files and some do not. Applications which make
       use of the last file status change timestamp may behave differently
       with respect to renamed files unless they are designed to allow for
       either behavior.

       The specification ensures that mv a a will not alter the contents of
       file a, and allows the implementation to issue an error that a file
       cannot be moved onto itself. Likewise, when a and b are hard links to
       the same file, mv a b will not alter b, but if a diagnostic is not
       issued, then it is unspecified whether a is left untouched (as it
       would be by the rename() function) or unlinked (reducing the link
       count of b).

EXAMPLES         top

       If the current directory contains only files a (of any type defined
       by the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008), b (also of any
       type), and a directory c:

           mv a b c
           mv c d

       results with the original files a and b residing in the directory d
       in the current directory.

RATIONALE         top

       Early proposals diverged from the SVID and BSD historical practice in
       that they required that when the destination path exists, the −f
       option is not specified, and input is not a terminal, mv fails. This
       was done for compatibility with cp.  The current text returns to
       historical practice. It should be noted that this is consistent with
       the rename() function defined in the System Interfaces volume of
       POSIX.1‐2008, which does not require write permission on the target.

       For absolute clarity, paragraph (1), describing the behavior of mv
       when prompting for confirmation, should be interpreted in the
       following manner:

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

       The −i option exists on BSD systems, giving applications and users a
       way to avoid accidentally unlinking files when moving others. When
       the standard input is not a terminal, the 4.3 BSD mv deletes all
       existing destination paths without prompting, even when −i is
       specified; this is inconsistent with the behavior of the 4.3 BSD cp
       utility, which always generates an error when the file is unwritable
       and the standard input is not a terminal. The standard developers
       decided that use of −i is a request for interaction, so when the
       destination path exists, the utility takes instructions from whatever
       responds to standard input.

       The rename() function is able to move directories within the same
       file system. Some historical versions of mv have been able to move
       directories, but not to a different file system.  The standard
       developers considered that this was an annoying inconsistency, so
       this volume of POSIX.1‐2008 requires directories to be able to be
       moved even across file systems. There is no −R option to confirm that
       moving a directory is actually intended, since such an option was not
       required for moving directories in historical practice. Requiring the
       application to specify it sometimes, depending on the destination,
       seemed just as inconsistent. The semantics of the rename() function
       were preserved as much as possible. For example, mv is not permitted
       to ``rename'' files to or from directories, even though they might be
       empty and removable.

       Historic implementations of mv did not exit with a non-zero exit
       status if they were unable to duplicate any file characteristics when
       moving a file across file systems, nor did they write a diagnostic
       message for the user. The former behavior has been preserved to
       prevent scripts from breaking; a diagnostic message is now required,
       however, so that users are alerted that the file characteristics have
       changed.

       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 implementations. 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.

       When mv is dealing with a single file system and source_file is a
       symbolic link, the link itself is moved as a consequence of the
       dependence on the rename() functionality, per the DESCRIPTION. Across
       file systems, this has to be made explicit.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS         top

       None.

SEE ALSO         top

       cp(1p), ln(1p)

       The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Chapter 8, Environment
       Variables, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines

       The System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008, rename(3p)

COPYRIGHT         top

       Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form
       from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information
       Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open
       Group Base Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the
       Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open
       Group.  (This is POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1
       applied.) In the event of any discrepancy between this version and
       the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and
       The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original
       Standard can be obtained online at http://www.unix.org/online.html .

       Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page are
       most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of the
       source files to man page format. To report such errors, see
       https://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/reporting_bugs.html .

IEEE/The Open Group                 2013                              MV(1P)