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bug#10819: [BUG][RM]

From: Stefano Lattarini
Subject: bug#10819: [BUG][RM]
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 19:38:57 +0100

Hi Eric.

On 02/16/2012 04:28 PM, Eric Blake wrote:
> You can always use 'rm -rf dummy $file_list' without having to check for
> 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
> codified (since everyone that I tested already does it):
> http://austingroupbugs.net/view.php?id=542
Still, I vaguely recall that there are some 'rm' implementations out there
which fails upon "rm -f" (with no arguments); and that's why automake uses
the ugly idiom:

  test -z "$(VAR)" || rm -f $(VAR)

in a lot of recipes.  Now, I can't tell off-hand which systems those were,
nor if they actually exist (and in fact I'd *love* to be proven wrong here,
so that we could simplify a bunch of automake recipes); but a more extensive
probing is needed in this matter I guess.  And if you are right (as I hope),
then this 'rm' feature could be documented in the Autoconf manual.


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