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bug#6402: [PATCH] rm: added --directory (-d) option

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: bug#6402: [PATCH] rm: added --directory (-d) option
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 21:37:53 +0200

Paul Eggert wrote:
> On 06/11/2010 08:13 AM, Eric Blake wrote:
>> I would need to understand if there is any difference
>> between 'rmdir dir' (specified by POSIX) and 'rm -d dir' - if they are
>> no different, then how do you justify the extension?
> I briefly looked at the FreeBSD source code, and there's essentially no
> difference.  The "-d" option causes BSD "rm" to use the rmdir system call
> rather than the unlink system call.  There is a minor difference if you
> use the "-P" option to shred on the file before removing it, in that
> "rm -dP" does not attempt to shred a directory, but that minor difference
> doesn't apply to coreutils where "shred" is a separate executable.
> I'm dubious about this "rm -d" flag.  It's clearly not
> portable, and (despite a search) I couldn't find any record of anybody
> seriously using it.  On the contrary, all the uses I found of "rm -d" were
> errors; e.g., people incorrectly thought that "rm -dr FOO" would recursively
> move the directory tree rooted at FOO.
> Since "rm -d" causes confusion and provides no extra utility over "rmdir"
> that I can see, I suggest that we instead change "rm -d" to report an error,
> much as "rm -X" does for other offbeat values of X.

Thanks for doing that research.  I like your idea.
I too would prefer to discourage the use of rm's -d option.

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