[UNCLASSIFIED]RE: [clug] What's the fastest way of deleting files ?

Martin Pool mbp at sourcefrog.net
Thu May 12 06:30:14 GMT 2005

On 12 May 2005, Antti.Roppola at brs.gov.au wrote:
> Stephen Jenkin wrote:
> > find ...|xargs /bin/rm --- should _always_ be quicker that -exec rm
> > (Invokes rm least number of times, versus once per file)
> I usually do this, but spaces in file names have been annoying me for
> a long while when doing this to other people's data. but never enough
> to fix it properly. However I just RTFM'ed and:
>   find . -print0 |xargs -0 rm

This will fail on subdirectories.

I'd be surprised if it were much faster than 'rm -rf' anyhow.

Mass deletion is an interesting benchmark for filesystems, and as I
recall one that reiserfs does not handle well.

A nice point of find when using it for deletion is the -depth option,
which causes it to work depth-first.  For example to delete any
directories, or any directories containing only directories:

  find . -empty -type d -exec rmdir -v {} \;

> Murphy says that now that I have worked around this annoyance, people
> will start using some other reserved character in their file names
> Probably single quotes as apostrophes.

They can't use \0 though, so -print0 will always work, subject to the
caveat above.

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