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Date:      Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:18:31 +0000
From:      RW <>
Subject:   Re: 'rm' Can not delete files
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

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On Sat, 11 Feb 2012 12:05:14 +1100
andrew clarke wrote:

> On Fri 2012-02-10 16:12:06 UTC+0000, Matthew Seaman
> ( wrote:
> > > In addition, I don't believe it solves the OP's initial problem
> > > of the argument list being too long!  You'd probably need to use
> > > the xargs -n switch here.
> > 
> > Go and read the xargs(1) man page carefully.  xargs is specifically
> > designed to avoid arglist overflows.
> Ah, I grepped for 'limit' and 'overflow', didn't see anything
> applicable, and didn't notice the -s switch.  That it avoids arglist
> overflows should perhaps be written more obviously in the man page
> (though I'm not sure how...)

The important passage is the description of what xargs does:

    "Any arguments specified on the command line are given to utility
     upon each invocation, followed by some number of the arguments read
     from the standard input of xargs.  This is repeated until standard
     input is exhausted."

It would be extremely perverse to go to the trouble of breaking-up
stdin into chunks, but to choose a size that's too big to pass to the

You expect a man page to document perversity, but not to document all
the perverse thing that aren't done.

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