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This is a question from a newbie trying to learn UNIX commands.

I was trying to test the rmdir command by removing a test directory located in my Downloads directory. I have read and write rights on Downloads.

I issued rmdir -p /Users/myself/Downloads/test and got rmdir: /Users/myself/Downloads: Permission denied , but the test directory was deleted. So why do I have this message? Should I care?

I'm using OSX Lion 10.7.3.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

From man rmdir:

   -p, --parents
          remove DIRECTORY and its ancestors; e.g., `rmdir -p a/b/c' is similar to `rmdir a/b/c a/b a'

So your rmdir call tries to delete test (succeeds), then tries to delete the parent directory Documents (or rather Downloads) and fails... I think. I'd rather have expected some "directory not empty" error, because why shouldn't you have the permissions to delete this folder?

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Thanks sr_ for your answer. You are right it is "Downloads" not "Documents". Maybe I can't delete "Downloads" because one just can't delete "Downloads" because of a "This folder is required by OS X" thing... –  politicus Jun 10 '12 at 13:20
    
Possibly, I don't know anything about how OS X alters the general "UNIX-like"-ness encountered everywhere else. :) –  sr_ Jun 10 '12 at 13:31
    
I tried to delete the folder "Sites" via Finder and got that kind of message. –  politicus Jun 10 '12 at 13:38
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