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[RFC] POSIX will say running "rm -f" with no argument is OK

From: Stefano Lattarini
Subject: [RFC] POSIX will say running "rm -f" with no argument is OK
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 20:14:36 +0100


[This is posted also to the automake list to ensure a wider audience.
 Discussion should continue exclusively on the bug-automake list]

OK, time to resurrect this thread.

To summarize, POSIX will say in a future version that running "rm -f"
with no argument is OK; and that usage seems today portable to all
systems that are well on their way to obsolescence.

So, in Automake 1.14, we might start to simplify several automake
generated "cleaning" rules accordingly, to get rid of the awful

  test -z "$(VAR)" || rm -f $(VAR)

In your opinion, can this be done without further fuss, or should we
add a temporary "probe check" in AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE that verifies that
the no-args "rm -f" usage is supported on the system configure is
being run on?  (As for a testsuite probe, that is already present;
see tests 't/spy-rm.tap', already present in Automake 1.13).

Comments welcome (and if your answer is "we should add a probe
check", patches are even more welcome ;-)


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