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

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

       rm — remove directory entries

SYNOPSIS         top

       rm [−fiRr] file...

DESCRIPTION         top

       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) or if
       an operand resolves to the root directory, 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 standard 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 standard 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 POSIX.1‐2008 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
           POSIX.1‐2008 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         top

       The rm 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. 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         top

       The following operand shall be supported:

       file      A pathname of a directory entry to be removed.

STDIN         top

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

INPUT FILES         top

       None.

ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES         top

       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 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 the
                 behavior of character classes within regular expressions
                 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 standard error under the conditions
       specified in the DESCRIPTION and OPTIONS sections. 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         top

       None.

EXTENDED DESCRIPTION         top

       None.

EXIT STATUS         top

       The following exit values shall be returned:

        0    Each directory entry was successfully removed, unless its
             removal was canceled by a non-affirmative response to a prompt
             for confirmation.

       >0    An error occurred.

CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS         top

       Default.

       The following sections are informative.

APPLICATION USAGE         top

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

           rm −r .*

       Some implementations do not permit the removal of the last link to an
       executable binary file that is being executed; see the [EBUSY] error
       in the unlink() function defined in the System Interfaces volume of
       POSIX.1‐2008. 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         top

        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         top

       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 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.

       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 POSIX.1‐2008 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 POSIX.1‐2008 does not permit the −f option
       to suppress 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. Historical versions of
       rm were also inconsistent in that prompts were done to both standard
       output and standard error. This volume of POSIX.1‐2008 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 standard 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 dependence on the unlink()
       functionality, per the DESCRIPTION. When removing hierarchies with −r
       or −R, the prohibition on following symbolic links has to be made
       explicit.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS         top

       None.

SEE ALSO         top

       rmdir(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, remove(3p), rmdir(3p),
       unlink(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                              RM(1P)