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Re: rmdir -p

On Mon, 19 May 2008 10:20:15 +0200
Geert Hendrickx <> wrote:
> On Sun, May 18, 2008 at 09:49:29PM -0400, D'Arcy J.M. Cain wrote:
> > Is the following the correct behaviour?
> > 
> > $ mkdir /tmp/rmdirtest
> > $ mkdir /tmp/rmdirtest/x
> > $ mkdir /tmp/rmdirtest/x/y
> > $ touch /tmp/rmdirtest/z 
> > $ rmdir -p /tmp/rmdirtest
> > rmdir: /tmp/rmdirtest: Directory not empty
> Yes, rmdir -p will try to go *up*, not down in the directory tree.  In your
> example, "rmdir -p /tmp/rmdirtest/x/y" will remove /tmp/rmdirtest/x/y and
> /tmp/rmdirtest/x but not /tmp/rmdirtest because the latter is not empty.

Yes, of course.  My question is, why throw an error if the named tree
has been pruned as much as it can be.  I can understand an error if I
give it a path that doesn't exist and I am certainly happy that it
stops removing directories when it hits a non-empty one because that's
what I asked for.

If I asked a gardner to prune a rose bush and he sliced it off at the
root I would be upset.  If he removed dead branches and left the useful
ones I would not claim that he had done a bad job.  He did exactly the
job I asked for.

D'Arcy J.M. Cain <>

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