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bug#10819: [BUG][RM]

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: bug#10819: [BUG][RM]
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 18:04:23 +0100

Eric Blake wrote:
> On 02/16/2012 03:59 AM, Jim Meyering wrote:
>>> I think Davide's point is not about the # comment ... rm won't see
>>> that on argv anyway. The point is that 'rm -f' does not complain about
>>> missing operands while 'rm' does:
>>>   $ rm
>>>   rm: missing operand
>>>   Try `rm --help' for more information.
>>>   $ rm -f
>>>   $
>>> According to the info, '-f' just silences error messages for files
>>> which do not exist (and never to prompt for confirmation), but why
>>> should it also affect the "missing operand" message?
>> Two reasons:
>>  - that's what rm -f has always done
>>  - because that's more useful.  Otherwise, "rm -rf $file_list" would
>>    have to be wrapped in code to handle specially the case in which
>>    $file_list is empty.
> You can always use 'rm -rf dummy $file_list' without having to check for

That would have an undesirable side-effect if ./dummy happens to exist.

> whether $file_list is empty, but yes, that is the primary reasoning why
> -f with no options behaves differently than any other case with no options.
> FYI: I just opened a POSIX bug report, asking that this usage be

Thanks.  I noticed the lack upon a cursory reading while writing
the reasons above (wanted to add "because POSIX requires it"), but
hadn't made time to go back and confirm.

> codified (since everyone that I tested already does it):
> http://austingroupbugs.net/view.php?id=542

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