I’m using Amazon Linux, bash shell. I’m trying to write a statement that will delete all child directories named “target” within a specific master directory. I would like to write things such that even if the directories don’t exist, there is no error thrown. I tried the below but I’m getting an error

[jboss@mydevbox ~]$ find ~/.jenkins/jobs/subco/workspace/myproject/ -name 'target' -print0 | xargs rm -rf
xargs: Warning: a NUL character occurred in the input.  It cannot be passed through in the argument list.  Did you mean to use the --null option?

What is a better way to write the above?

2 Answers 2


If you're using -print0 you should use the -0 flag to xargs so it will read the names correctly.

find ~/.jenkins/jobs/subco/workspace/myproject/ -name 'target' -print0 | xargs -0 rm -rf

alternately, if you have GNU find you could use the -delete flag, though it won't work if the directories are not empty

find ~/.jenkins/jobs/subco/workspace/myproject/ -name 'target' -delete

Or, you could also use -exec with find like

find ~/.jenkins/jobs/subco/workspace/myproject/ -name 'target' -exec rm -rf {} +

Modern find (via POSIX, so the not-GNU find on OpenBSD does support this) can do the necessary work without a call to xargs via the -exec command {} + form.

find ... -exec rm -rf '{}' \+

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