rmdir(3p) — Linux manual page


RMDIR(3P)                 POSIX Programmer's Manual                RMDIR(3P)

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

       rmdir — remove a directory

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <unistd.h>

       int rmdir(const char *path);

DESCRIPTION         top

       The rmdir() function shall remove a directory whose name is given by
       path.  The directory shall be removed only if it is an empty

       If the directory is the root directory or the current working
       directory of any process, it is unspecified whether the function
       succeeds, or whether it shall fail and set errno to [EBUSY].

       If path names a symbolic link, then rmdir() shall fail and set errno
       to [ENOTDIR].

       If the path argument refers to a path whose final component is either
       dot or dot-dot, rmdir() shall fail.

       If the directory's link count becomes 0 and no process has the
       directory open, the space occupied by the directory shall be freed
       and the directory shall no longer be accessible. If one or more
       processes have the directory open when the last link is removed, the
       dot and dot-dot entries, if present, shall be removed before rmdir()
       returns and no new entries may be created in the directory, but the
       directory shall not be removed until all references to the directory
       are closed.

       If the directory is not an empty directory, rmdir() shall fail and
       set errno to [EEXIST] or [ENOTEMPTY].

       Upon successful completion, rmdir() shall mark for update the last
       data modification and last file status change timestamps of the
       parent directory.

RETURN VALUE         top

       Upon successful completion, the function rmdir() shall return 0.
       Otherwise, −1 shall be returned, and errno set to indicate the error.
       If −1 is returned, the named directory shall not be changed.

ERRORS         top

       The rmdir() function shall fail if:

       EACCES Search permission is denied on a component of the path prefix,
              or write permission is denied on the parent directory of the
              directory to be removed.

       EBUSY  The directory to be removed is currently in use by the system
              or some process and the implementation considers this to be an

       [EEXIST] or [ENOTEMPTY]
                   The path argument names a directory that is not an empty
                   directory, or there are hard links to the directory other
                   than dot or a single entry in dot-dot.

       EINVAL      The path argument contains a last component that is dot.

       EIO         A physical I/O error has occurred.

       ELOOP       A loop exists in symbolic links encountered during
                   resolution of the path argument.

                   The length of a component of a pathname is longer than

       ENOENT      A component of path does not name an existing file, or
                   the path argument names a nonexistent directory or points
                   to an empty string.

       ENOTDIR     A component of path names an existing file that is
                   neither a directory nor a symbolic link to a directory.

       [EPERM] or [EACCES]
                   The S_ISVTX flag is set on the directory containing the
                   file referred to by the path argument and the process
                   does not satisfy the criteria specified in the Base
                   Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 4.2,
                   Directory Protection.

       EROFS       The directory entry to be removed resides on a read-only
                   file system.

       The rmdir() function may fail if:

       ELOOP  More than {SYMLOOP_MAX} symbolic links were encountered during
              resolution of the path argument.

              The length of a pathname exceeds {PATH_MAX}, or pathname
              resolution of a symbolic link produced an intermediate result
              with a length that exceeds {PATH_MAX}.

       The following sections are informative.

EXAMPLES         top

   Removing a Directory
       The following example shows how to remove a directory named

           #include <unistd.h>

           int status;
           status = rmdir("/home/cnd/mod1");



RATIONALE         top

       The rmdir() and rename() functions originated in 4.2 BSD, and they
       used [ENOTEMPTY] for the condition when the directory to be removed
       does not exist or new already exists. When the 1984 /usr/group
       standard was published, it contained [EEXIST] instead. When these
       functions were adopted into System V, the 1984 /usr/group standard
       was used as a reference. Therefore, several existing applications and
       implementations support/use both forms, and no agreement could be
       reached on either value. All implementations are required to supply
       both [EEXIST] and [ENOTEMPTY] in <errno.h> with distinct values, so
       that applications can use both values in C-language case statements.

       The meaning of deleting pathname/dot is unclear, because the name of
       the file (directory) in the parent directory to be removed is not
       clear, particularly in the presence of multiple links to a directory.

       The POSIX.1‐1990 standard was silent with regard to the behavior of
       rmdir() when there are multiple hard links to the directory being
       removed. The requirement to set errno to [EEXIST] or [ENOTEMPTY]
       clarifies the behavior in this case.

       If the current working directory of the process is being removed,
       that should be an allowed error.

       Virtually all existing implementations detect [ENOTEMPTY] or the case
       of dot-dot. The text in Section 2.3, Error Numbers about returning
       any one of the possible errors permits that behavior to continue. The
       [ELOOP] error may be returned if more than {SYMLOOP_MAX} symbolic
       links are encountered during resolution of the path argument.



SEE ALSO         top

       Section 2.3, Error Numbers, mkdir(3p), remove(3p), rename(3p),

       The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 4.2, Directory
       Protection, unistd.h(0p)

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                           RMDIR(3P)

Pages that refer to this page: unistd.h(0p)rm(1p)rmdir(1p)remove(3p)rename(3p)renameat(3p)unlink(3p)unlinkat(3p)