rmdir when directory is not empty

Paul Howarth paul at city-fan.org
Wed Dec 21 07:46:26 UTC 2005

On Tue, 2005-12-20 at 16:06 -0500, John Kebbel wrote:
> My original posting for Re: rmdir when directory is not empty began...
> "The man page for rmdir left more questions than it answered." I cropped
> that line out of my email so I could get straight to the point. Now that
> I know we have a vocal RTFM crowd here, I'll make sure I NEVER again
> forget to mention I read the man first.
> I ran man rmdir > rmdir.txt so I could paste it here to show you why the
> man page left me puzzled. First, the only option that seems to address
> the issue is the option --ignore-fail-on-non-empty, which I typed out in
> full and also tried as just -i without results. (Maybe I typed it wrong
> one or both times.) Anyway, it wasn't till I copied and pasted here that
> I noticed that I have a truncated manual, that the full docs are in some
> other file.
> RMDIR(1)                         User Commands
> RMDIR(1)
>        rmdir - remove empty directories
>        rmdir [OPTION]... DIRECTORY...
>        Remove the DIRECTORY(ies), if they are empty.
>        --ignore-fail-on-non-empty
>               ignore  each  failure that is solely because a directory
> is non-empty

What it means by this is that it won't report errors about the non-empty

It doesn't mean it will actually delete the non-empty directories.

>        The full documentation for rmdir is maintained as a Texinfo
> manual.  If the  info  and  rmdir programs are properly installed at
> your site, the  command info coreutils rmdir should give you access to
> the complete manual.

"info coreutils rmdir" refers to using rm for recursively deleting
non-empty directories.


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