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RM(1)                     BSD General Commands Manual                    RM(1)

NAME
     rm, unlink -- remove directory entries

SYNOPSIS
     rm [-dfiPRrvW] file ...
     unlink file

DESCRIPTION
     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 confirmation, 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 options.

     -i          Request confirmation before attempting to remove each file, regardless of the file's per-missions, permissions,
                 missions, or whether or not the standard input device is a terminal.  The -i option over-rides overrides
                 rides 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.

     -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 skipped.

     -r          Equivalent to -R.

     -v          Be verbose when deleting files, showing them as they are removed.

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

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

     It is an error to attempt to remove the files ``.'' or ``..''.

     When the utility is called as unlink, only one argument, which must not be a directory, may be sup-plied. supplied.
     plied.  No options may be supplied in this simple mode of operation, which performs an unlink(2) opera-tion operation
     tion on the passed argument.

     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.

NOTE
     The rm command uses getopt(3) to parse its arguments, which allows it to accept the `--' option which
     will cause it to stop processing flag options at that point.  This will allow the removal of file names
     that begin with a dash (`-').  For example:
           rm -- -filename
     The same behavior can be obtained by using an absolute or relative path reference.  For example:
           rm /home/user/-filename
           rm ./-filename

SEE ALSO
     rmdir(1), undelete(2), unlink(2), fts(3), getopt(3), symlink(7)

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

COMPATIBILITY
     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.  The -v option is non-standard
     and its use in scripts is not recommended.

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

STANDARDS
     The rm command 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 directories.

     The simplified unlink command conforms to Version 2 of the Single UNIX Specification (``SUSv2'').

HISTORY
     A rm command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.

BSD                            January 28, 1999                            BSD

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