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implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux
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implemented on Linux.
rmdir — remove directories
rmdir [−p] dir...
utility shall remove the directory entry specified by each
For each dir
operand, the rmdir
utility shall perform actions
equivalent to the rmdir
() function called with the dir
as its only argument.
Directories shall be processed in the order specified. If a directory and a
subdirectory of that directory are specified in a single invocation of the
utility, the application shall specify the subdirectory before
the parent directory so that the parent directory will be empty when the
utility tries to remove it.
utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of
POSIX.1‐2008, Section 12.2
, Utility Syntax Guidelines
The following option shall be supported:
- Remove all directories in a pathname. For each dir
- The directory entry it names shall be removed.
- If the dir operand includes more than one pathname
component, effects equivalent to the following command shall occur:
The following operand shall be supported:
- A pathname of an empty directory to be removed.
The following environment variables shall affect the execution of rmdir
- Provide a default value for the internationalization
variables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions volume of
POSIX.1‐2008, Section 8.2, Internationalization
Variables for the precedence of internationalization variables used to
determine the values of locale categories.)
- If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of
all the other internationalization variables.
- Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of
bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to
multi-byte characters in arguments).
Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents
of diagnostic messages written to standard error.
- Determine the location of message catalogs for the
processing of LC_MESSAGES.
The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.
The following exit values shall be returned:
- Each directory entry specified by a dir operand was
- An error occurred.
The following sections are informative.
The definition of an empty directory is one that contains, at most, directory
entries for dot and dot-dot.
If a directory a
in the current directory is empty except it contains a
is empty except it contains a directory
removes all three directories.
On historical System V systems, the −p
option also caused a
message to be written to the standard output. The message indicated whether
the whole path was removed or whether part of the path remained for some
reason. The STDERR section requires this diagnostic when the entire path
specified by a dir
operand is not removed, but does not allow the
status message reporting success to be written as a diagnostic.
utility on System V also included a −s
that suppressed the informational message output by the −p
option. This option has been omitted because the informational message is not
specified by this volume of POSIX.1‐2008.
The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Chapter 8
, Section 12.2
, Utility Syntax
The System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008, remove()
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE
Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable
Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue
7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. (This is POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013
Technical Corrigendum 1 applied.) In the event of any discrepancy between this
version and the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE
and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can
be obtained online at http://www.unix.org/online.html .
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