rmdir - delete a directory


#include <unistd.h>

int rmdir(const char *pathname);


rmdir() deletes a directory, which must be empty.


On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.


EACCES Write access to the directory containing pathname was not allowed, or one of the directories in the path prefix of pathname did not allow search permission. (See also path_resolution(7).
EBUSY pathname is currently in use by the system or some process that prevents its removal. On Linux this means pathname is currently used as a mount point or is the root directory of the calling process.
EFAULT pathname points outside your accessible address space.
EINVAL pathname has . as last component.
ELOOP Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving pathname.
 pathname was too long.
ENOENT A directory component in pathname does not exist or is a dangling symbolic link.
ENOMEM Insufficient kernel memory was available.
 pathname, or a component used as a directory in pathname, is not, in fact, a directory.
 pathname contains entries other than . and .. ; or, pathname has .. as its final component. POSIX.1-2001 also allows EEXIST for this condition.
EPERM The directory containing pathname has the sticky bit (S_ISVTX) set and the process’s effective user ID is neither the user ID of the file to be deleted nor that of the directory containing it, and the process is not privileged (Linux: does not have the CAP_FOWNER capability).
EPERM The file system containing pathname does not support the removal of directories.
EROFS pathname refers to a directory on a read-only file system.


SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001.


Infelicities in the protocol underlying NFS can cause the unexpected disappearance of directories which are still being used.


rm(1), rmdir(1), chdir(2), chmod(2), mkdir(2), rename(2), unlink(2), unlinkat(2)


This page is part of release 3.23 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at

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