Deal with dot files safely

rm -rf .??*
rm -rf .* matches ".." and thus one goes up a level and wipes out more than intended. In bash, .??* safely accomplishes what one intends - remove those .files The ? matches most characters except "/", thus .?? does not match ../ and so one is safe.
Sample Output
[root@centos CRM]# ls -al
total 40
drwxrwxr-x  3 gregg gregg 4096 Mar 10 22:59 .
drwxr-xr-x 29 gregg gregg 4096 Mar 10 22:59 ..
-rw-rw-r--  1 gregg gregg   28 Nov 24  2008 .cvsignore
-rw-rw-r--  1 gregg gregg  146 Nov 25  2008 .htaccess
drwxrwxr-x  6 gregg gregg 4096 Nov 24  2008 .svn
[root@centos CRM]# mv .??* ../
[root@centos CRM]# ls -al
total 16
drwxrwxr-x  2 gregg gregg 4096 Mar 10 22:59 .
drwxr-xr-x 30 gregg gregg 4096 Mar 10 22:59 ..

By: greggster
2011-03-11 07:21:58

2 Alternatives + Submit Alt

What Others Think

.??* does not match .a, .b, ... .[!.]* does.
Natureshadow · 584 weeks and 5 days ago
.??* does not match .a, .b, ... .[!.]* does.
Natureshadow · 584 weeks and 5 days ago
man bash discusses GLOBIGNORE which does this, but I can't wrap my head around the logic. GLOBIGNORE=.:.. seems to DTRT: ls .* -d . .. .keep GLOBIGNORE=.:.. ls .* -d .keep
hdhoang · 584 weeks and 5 days ago
@greggster: gnu rm complains, but it won't allow me to remove .. What version of rm do you have where .* can equate to ../* @NatureShadow: very nice
flatcap · 584 weeks and 5 days ago
The shell expands ".*" before its passed to the rm command. What shell are you using? echo $SHELL should display it.
greggster · 584 weeks and 4 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

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