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Re: standards/38754: /bin/rm rm.c consistancy with other bsds

The following reply was made to PR standards/38754; it has been noted by GNATS.

From: Alan Barrett <>
Subject: Re: standards/38754: /bin/rm rm.c consistancy with other bsds
Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2008 00:00:13 +0100

 On Mon, 26 May 2008, wrote:
 > rm will display the usage message if there are no file arguments and
 > the -f flag is used. This does not follow POSIX. POSIX says...
 > "Do not write diagnostic messages or modify the exit status in the
 > case of nonexistent operands."
 You seem to interpret "nonexistent operands" to mean the number of
 operands (not counting options such as the "-f" itself) is zero.
 I believe that "nonexistent operands" should be interpreted to mean
 operands that contain strings that do not refer to entities that exist
 in the file system.
 Thus, "rm -f" does not contain any "nonexistent operands"; it contains
 no operands at all, and "rm" should print a diagnostic message
 complaining about incorrect usage, and exit with an error status.
 However, "rm -f /this/file/or/directory/does/not/exist" does contain
 a "nonexistent operand", and "rm" should exit without any error or
 diagnostic message.
 --apb (Alan Barrett)

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