Tricky Deleting

Charles Curley charlescurley at
Wed Mar 9 06:35:51 MST 2005

On Tue, Mar 08, 2005 at 08:51:06PM -0700, Nicholas Leippe wrote:
> On Tuesday 08 March 2005 07:34 pm, Doran Barton wrote:
> > So what about 'find stuff -exec rm {} \;'?
> Should work.  Performance-wise, I believe find exec()'s an rm for each item it 
> finds, so similar to xargs.  It should, however, save at least one invocation 
> of the shell.

The -exec invokes a shell and rm for each file found.

Piping through xargs, as we were doing earlier, invokes a shell for
xargs, and a shell and rm for each time rm is invoked. Since rm is
invoked with multiple arguments (try it with '| xargs echo' to see
what it does), it is invoked fewer times, so should be much more

The number of times rm is invoked is a function of the maximum command
line length divided by the typical file path length. Researching the
maximum command line length will be left as an exercise for the


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