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rm, unlink - remove directory entries
rm [-dfiPRrvW] file ...
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:
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 supplied. No options may be supplied in this simple mode of operation, which performs an unlink(2) operation 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.
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:
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.
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.
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'').
A rm command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.