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Re: bug with rm

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: bug with rm
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 06:22:11 -0600
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According to Otheus on 7/23/2008 3:08 AM:
| I'm a very long-time unix user, and I just noted that in RHEL5, version 5.97
| (and reproduced again on 6.9) of coreutils,

Consider upgrading; the latest stable version is 6.12.

| the rm command behaves
| improperly: It prompts the user for removal of a read-only file, even when
| the -i option is not specified (using /bin/rm, no aliases, etc).

This is specified by POSIX:


We can't change it without adding an extension command-line argument, at
which point, you aren't guaranteed that the extension exists as you move
between machines.

| Further, it
| removes it when input is provided by /dev/null.  Essentially, there is no
| way to use the rm command to skip over read-only files without prompting the
| user!!

Actually, it WOULD have prompted, if stdin were a terminal or if you had
used -i.  But since neither of those are true, you are correct that no
question is asked, and hence no answers are read from /dev/null so that
the files are removed, also required by POSIX.

| This is a serious bug, IMHO. While there is a 'yes' command to force
| an arbitrary answer to all commands ("yes n" will produce line-terminated
| "n"'s until the pipeline terminates), it does not work with rm!!

You are correct about the behavior, but just because it is undesirable
doesn't mean it is a bug.

| I shudder to think of the disastrous consequences this has had.

We feel your pain.

- --
Don't work too hard, make some time for fun as well!

Eric Blake             address@hidden
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