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Re: bug with rm

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: bug with rm
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 05:26:52 -0600
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Please keep replies on the list, so that others may chime in.

According to Otheus on 7/23/2008 7:17 AM:
|     | You are correct about the behavior, but just because it is undesirable
|     | doesn't mean it is a bug.
| Mea Culpas!
| POSIX committee: Those evil doers!
| (If you get to use a line from Clinton, I can use one from Bush ;)
|     # depth first deletion of only writable files in recursively from .;
|     # read-only files are left untouched.  Additional filters can be added
|     # before the -delete to further restrict which files are deleted
|     find -depth -perm /w -delete
| Ah yes, I used find for the "workaround".
| So it's clear to me this particular standard is f'ed up. What do I do
| to tell the committee to fix it? Shall I call George W?

The standard is what it is, and it reflects the codification of more than
30 years of application behavior.  It is too late to change the semantics
of rm without options or of rm -i; there are too many existing scripts
that have come to rely on those standardized semantics.  The best you can
hope for is to standardize the addition of a new option, so that future
versions of rm can optionally behave the way you think is more sane when
explicitly using the new option; but even then, you would have to wait
several years for it to percolate into all the current implementations
(and you already missed the cutoff for POSIX 200x).  But if you want to
try, you can become a member of the Austin Group and propose the new
wording for the standard: http://www.opengroup.org/austin/lists.html

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

Eric Blake             address@hidden
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