rmdir when directory is not empty

Mike McCarty mike.mccarty at sbcglobal.net
Thu Dec 22 19:42:51 UTC 2005

John Kebbel wrote:
> I assume OP stands for Original Poster (correct me if I'm wrong).

You have struck the nail upon the head with perfect orthogonality.

> Anyway, I'm the Original Poster of "rmdir when directory is not empty"
> I've gotten an incredible education from asking this question ...

Well, that's a Good Thing(tm).


> rmdir. The RTFM advice wouldn't have helped if I was reading the Wrong
> FM.
> 3. RTFM advocates may have forgotten what it's like to be a newbie or a
> newbie to some areas. I read man pages a lot, but a lot of what I read
> makes no sense to me. That's why I go to discussion boards.

That's also a Good Thing(tm).


> showed me I should stick to a more general description of my problem
> (How do I delete non-empty directories?)

Being myself a great RTFM advocate, as well as a "learn how to use
the tools" advocate, here's how I would have done the search you needed.

$ apropos remove
[great honkin' long list too difficult to see, even with less]
$ apropos remove | grep file
attr_remove          (3)  - remove a user attribute of a filesystem object
attr_removef [attr_remove] (3)  - remove a user attribute of a 
filesystem objectcolrm                (1)  - remove columns from a file
cut                  (1)  - remove sections from each line of files
flock                (2)  - apply or remove an advisory lock on an open file
lockf                (3)  - apply, test or remove a POSIX lock on an 
open file
metaflac             (1)  - program to list, add, remove, or edit 
metadata in one or more FLAC files
remove               (3)  - delete a name and possibly the file it refers to
rm                   (1)  - remove files or directories
scrollkeeper-update  (8)  - identify new, modified, or removed OMF files 
and update the scrollkeeper databases
tmpwatch             (8)  - removes files which haven't been accessed 
for a period of time
uniq                 (1)  - remove duplicate lines from a sorted file
unlink               (1)  - call the unlink function to remove the 
specified file

Hmm, look! There's an entry for "rm" which says "remove files or
directories". Wow!

This message made from 100% recycled bits.
You have found the bank of Larn.
I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you.
I speak only for myself, and I am unanimous in that!

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