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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox-tech mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox-tech] Can't Remove File
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Re: [vox-tech] Can't Remove File



On Tue, 28 Nov 2000, Jan Wynholds wrote:

[...]

> I tried an interesting little test...
> 
> Say that hundreds of these files (-*) were created
> throughout a directory tree (my example lists only
> one, for brevity).  I know that I would use find to
> identify , then delete them.  I actually did this, and
> I tried to identify them with find.  Find identified
> all the files, but when I tried to remove them with
> the -exec 'rm -- [filename]', I got an error message
> relating to: no such file or directory. (BTW, this is
> RHL 7.0 on i686)
> 
> eg
> 
> [root@localhost /] # find . -name '-*' -print
> ./home/user/-g

Note default prepending of starting path to matching file by the find
command... rm doesn't see '-g', it sees './home/user/-g', so -- is not
needed.

> [root@localhost /] # find . -name '-*' -exec 'rm --
> {}' \;
> find: ./home/user/-g: No such file or directory
> [root@localhost /] #

To see the source of the error, try this:

[root@localhost /] # 'rm -- ./home/user/-g'

which would be asking the shell to look for a rather oddly named
executable file containing spaces, dashes, and illegal slashes.

The correct invocation of find in this case is:

[root@localhost /] # find . -name '-*' -exec rm {} \;

> Can anyone give explain this behavior from find?  I
> thought that this command would work.  Maybe I am
> foolishly incompetant, or maybe not.  Maybe find
> doesn't do something right.  I am pretty sure that the
> command that I entered is syntactically correct (at
> least as far as the man page is concerned).  This find
> command works for all other filenames, just not ones
> with a leading '-'.  Is find the wrong approach to
> this sort of action?  Is there another approach to
> this problem?  If anyone can explain this, you would
> be my hero.

Hm... or will you just kick yourself? :)

Don't do that... Unix makes ever so much sense AFTER you understand it...  
unfortunately, that doesn't help much before you do.

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Jeff Newmiller                        The     .....       .....  Go Live...
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