DragonFly On-Line Manual Pages
RM(1) DragonFly General Commands Manual RM(1)
rm, unlink -- remove directory entries
rm [-dfiIPRrvWx] 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:
-d Attempt to remove directories as well as other types of
-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 permissions, or whether or not the
standard input device is a terminal. The -i option overrides
any previous -f options.
-I Request confirmation once if more than three files are being
removed or if a directory is being recursively removed. This
option only applies when the rm utility is run in the
foreground. This is a far less intrusive option than -i yet
provides almost the same level of protection against
-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.
A file with a link count greater than one will neither be
overwritten nor removed, and a warning will be issued.
-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
-W Attempt to undelete the named files. Currently, this option
can only be used to recover files covered by whiteouts.
-x When removing a hierarchy, don't cross mount points.
The rm utility removes symbolic links, not the files referenced by the
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
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
If rm receives a SIGINFO (see the status argument for stty(1)) signal,
the current file or directory being removed will be written to standard
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:
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.
chflags(1), rmdir(1), undelete(2), unlink(2), fts(3), getopt(3),
The rm command conforms to IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'').
The simplified unlink command conforms to Version 2 of the Single UNIX
A rm command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
The -P option assumes that the underlying file system is a fixed-block
file system. UFS(5) is a fixed-block file system, LFS is not. In
addition, only regular files are overwritten, other types of files are
not. Hardlinked regular files will not be overwritten or removed,
possibly leading to unintended behavior. It is arguable which is the
MORE unintended behavior.
DragonFly 3.5 April 15, 2013 DragonFly 3.5