rmdir man page

Prolog

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rmdir — remove directories

Synopsis

rmdir [-p] dir...

Description

The rmdir utility shall remove the directory entry specified by each dir operand.

For each dir operand, the rmdir utility shall perform actions equivalent to the rmdir() function called with the dir operand 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 rmdir utility, the application shall specify the subdirectory before the parent directory so that the parent directory will be empty when the rmdir utility tries to remove it.

Options

The rmdir utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines.

The following option shall be supported:

-p

Remove all directories in a pathname. For each dir operand:

1.
The directory entry it names shall be removed.
2.

If the dir operand includes more than one pathname component, effects equivalent to the following command shall occur:

rmdir -p $(dirname dir)

Operands

The following operand shall be supported:

dir
A pathname of an empty directory to be removed.

Stdin

Not used.

Environment Variables

The following environment variables shall affect the execution of rmdir:

LANG
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.)
LC_ALL
If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other internationalization variables.
LC_CTYPE
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).
LC_MESSAGES
Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error.
NLSPATH
Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES.

Asynchronous Events

Default.

Stdout

Not used.

Stderr

The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.

Exit Status

The following exit values shall be returned:

0
Each directory entry specified by a dir operand was removed successfully.
>0
An error occurred.

Consequences of Errors

Default.

The following sections are informative.

Application Usage

The definition of an empty directory is one that contains, at most, directory entries for dot and dot-dot.

Examples

If a directory a in the current directory is empty except it contains a directory b and a/b is empty except it contains a directory c:

rmdir -p a/b/c

removes all three directories.

Rationale

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.

The rmdir utility on System V also included a -s option 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.

See Also

rm

The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Chapter 8, Environment Variables, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines

The System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008, remove(), rmdir(), unlink()

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2013 IEEE/The Open Group POSIX Programmer's Manual