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Re: rm and files beginning with a dash

From: Bob Proulx
Subject: Re: rm and files beginning with a dash
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2004 11:48:11 -0600
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

Chuck Simmons wrote:
> I could not remove a file whose name began with a dash (e.g. 
> "-main-file.tmp").  (Hmmm  I suppose I could have tried "rm 
> ./-main-file.tmp".)  [Actually, I removed the file, but I used a Solaris 
> tool to do the job instead of a GNU tool because the Solaris tool seemed 
> easier to use.]

You are correct that you could have (should have?) used ./ to avoid
using - as the first character.

> Solaris allows "rm - -main-file.tmp".

You almost had a good general purpose answer.  You should use --

  rm -- -main-file.tmp

This is an FAQ.


Look for "How do I remove files that start with a '-'".

> ade:[csimmons_main] dlsun620 csimmons 231> rm --help
> Usage: rm [OPTION]... FILE...
> Remove (unlink) the FILE(s).
>  -d, --directory       unlink directory, even if non-empty (super-user 
> only)
>  -f, --force           ignore nonexistent files, never prompt
>  -i, --interactive     prompt before any removal
>  -r, -R, --recursive   remove the contents of directories recursively
>  -v, --verbose         explain what is being done
>      --help            display this help and exit
>      --version         output version information and exit
> Report bugs to <address@hidden>.

Thanks for the report.  Newer versions also say this in their help

  To remove a file whose name starts with a `-', for example `-foo',
  use one of these commands:
    rm -- -foo

    rm ./-foo

Please consider updating to a newer version of coreutils.

  (coreutils is the union of fileutils, textutils, and sh-utils)


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