[Rd] unlink in 1.2

Prof Brian D Ripley ripley@stats.ox.ac.uk
Tue, 10 Oct 2000 19:01:05 +0100 (BST)

On Tue, 10 Oct 2000, Paul Gilbert wrote:

> I see the default behavior of unlink  with respect to directories is changing in
> 1.2. This causes me a certain amount of difficulty: since the recursive argument
> is not supported in S I will need to start building up my compatibility library
> again (which is almost empty now).
> Instead of changing unlink's default behavior it might be better to define a new
> function (perhaps Sys.rm) with the new default behavior, and possibly even
> depreciate unlink.

I think you have misunderstood what unlink() was and is actually documented
to do. For example:

S-PLUS 3.4:

       Deletes the file represented by x.

with no mention of recursively removing directories.  Only some Unix
versions of S-PLUS 3.x did: no Windows version of S-PLUS ever has.

S-PLUS 5.1:

   unlink will remove files and directories, but only empty directories.
   Use rmdir to remove a directory and everything in it.

(BTW, that's not actually true, but it is what is documented.)

R for Windows:

unlink deleted files and empty directories in recent versions, only files
in earlier ones.

Given the last, the default behaviour of unlink under R is not what you
claim, so I suppose that your code is not fully R-compatible under 1.1.1?

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley@stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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