rm—Remove files

rm [-dfirvR] [–directory] [–force] [–interactive] [–recursive] [–help] [–version] [–verbose] name…

This manual page documents the GNU version of rm. rm removes each specified file. By default, it does not remove directories. If a file is unwritable, the standard input is a tty, and the -f or –force option is not given, rm prompts the user for whether to remove the file. If the response does not begin with y or Y, the file is skipped.

GNU rm, like every program that uses the getopt function to parse its arguments, lets you use the — option to indicate that all following arguments are nonoptions. To remove a file called -f in the current directory, you could type either
rm — -f
rm ./-f

The UNIX rm program’s use of a single – for this purpose predates the development of the getopt standard syntax.


Options Description
-d, –directory Remove directories with unlink instead of rmdir, and don’t require a directory to be empty before trying to unlink it. Only works for the superuser. Because unlinking a directory causes any files in the deleted directory to become unreferenced, it is wise to fsck the filesystem after doing this.
-f, –force Ignore nonexistent files and never prompt the user.
-i, –interactive Prompt whether to remove each file. If the response does not begin with y or Y, the file is skipped.
-r, -R, –recursive Remove the contents of directories recursively.
-v, –verbose Print the name of each file before removing it.
–help Print a usage message on standard output and exit successfully.
–version Print version information on standard output, then exit successfully.

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