fastrm - quickly remove a set of files


   fastrm [ -d ] [ -e ] [ -uN ] [ -sM ] [ -cI ] base_directory


   Fastrm reads a list of files, one per line, from its standard input and
   removes them.  If a file is not  an  absolute  pathname,  it  is  taken
   relative   to  the  directory  specified  on  the  command  line.   The
   base_directory parameter must be a simple absolute pathname --- that  is,
   it must not contain any ``/./'' or ``/../'' references.

   Fastrm  is  designed  to  be  faster  than  the  typical ``| xargs rm''
   pipeline.  For example, fastrm will usually chdir(2) into  a  directory
   before removing files from it.  If the input is sorted, this means that
   most files to be removed will be simple names.

   Fastrm assumes that its input is valid and that it is safe to  just  do
   an unlink(2) call for each item to be removed.  As a safety measure, if
   fastrm is run by root it will first stat(2) the item to make sure  that
   it is not a directory before unlinking it.


   -d     If the ``-d'' flag is used then no files are removed.  Instead a
          list of the files to be removed, in debug form,  is  printed  on
          the  standard  output.   Each  line  contains either the current
          directory of fastrm at the time it would do the unlink, and then
          the path name it would pass to unlink(2) as two fields separated
          by white space and a ``/'', or the absolute path name (a  single
          field) of files it would unlink using the absolute path name.

   -e     If  the  ``-e''  flag  is used, fastrm will treat an empty input
          file (stdin) as an error.  This is most useful  when  fastrm  is
          last  in  a  pipeline  after  a preceding sort(1) as if the sort
          fails, there will usually  be  no  output  to  become  input  of

   -u     If   the   ``-u''  flag  is  used,  then  fastrm  makes  further
          assumptions about its  work  environment;  in  particular,  that
          there  are no symbolic links in the target tree.  This flag also
          suggests that it  is  probably  faster  to  reference  the  path
          ``../../../''  rather  than  start  from the root and come down.
          (Note that this probably isn't true on systems that have a namei
          cache,  which  usually  holds  everything  except  ``..'').  The
          optional N is an integer that specifies the  maximum  number  of
          ``..''   segments  to  use --- paths that would use more than this
          use the absolute path name (from  the  root)  instead.   If  the
          ``-u'' flag is given without a value, ``-u1'' is assumed.

   -s     If the ``-s'' flag is used, then fastrm will perform the unlinks
          from one directory --- that is  when  a  group  of  files  in  one
          directory  appear in the input consecutively --- in the order that
          the files appear in the directory from  which  they  are  to  be
          removed.  The intent of this flag is that on systems that have a
          per-process directory cache,  finding  files  in  the  directory
          should  be  faster.   It  can  have  smaller  benefits  on other
          systems.  The optional M is an integer that specifies the number
          of  files  that  must  be going to be removed from one directory
          before the files will be ordered.  If the ``-s'' flag  is  given
          without  a  value,  ``-s5''  is  assumed.   When  the  directory
          reordering is in use fastrm  will  avoid  attempting  to  unlink
          files  that  it  can't  see in the directory, which can speed it
          appreciably when many  of  the  file  names  have  already  been

   -c     The  ``-c''  flag may be given to instruct fastrm when it should
          chdir(2).  If  the  number  of  files  to  be  unlinked  from  a
          directory  is  at  least I then fastrm will chdir and unlink the
          files from in the directory.  Otherwise it  will  build  a  path
          relative  to  its current directory.  If ``-c'' is given without
          the optional integer I then ``-c1'' is assumed, which will cause
          fastrm  to always use chdir.  If ``-c'' is not used at all, then
          ``-c3'' is assumed.  Use ``-c0'' to  prevent  fastrm  from  ever
          using chdir(2).

   -a -r  There  are  also  ``-a'' and ``-r'' options, which do nothing at
          all, except allow you to say ``fastrm -usa'' ``fastrm -ussr'' or
          ``fastrm  -user''.   These happen to often be convenient sets of
          options to use.


   Fastrm exits with a status of zero if there were no problems, or one if
   something  went wrong.  Attempting to remove a file that does not exist
   is not considered a problem.  If the  program  exits  with  a  non-zero
   status,  it  is  probably a good idea to feed the list of files into an
   ``xargs rm'' pipeline.


   This is revision 1.3, dated 1996/10/29.



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