Can someone help me understand what that means?

cp: -r not specified; omitting directory

I am trying to use this command

sudo cp /home/$USER/Documents/myfile.10 /home


cp: -r not specified; omitting directory '/home/administrator/Documents/myfile.10'

What does it mean? Why did it happen? What can I do about it?

  • Welcome to Super User. Please restrict to one question per question: either cp issue or the other. Asking for a test script without showing your research effort is not a good question; we are not a script writing service. If I were you I would get rid of this "Also ..." part (edit the question). – Kamil Maciorowski Mar 28 '19 at 12:57
  • I went ahead and edited the question to meet our standards. If you need help with LDAP (which is a separate issue) then please ask a new question. Your original question is archived here, in case you want to copy from it. You should take our tour and see How to Ask first. Good luck. – Kamil Maciorowski Mar 28 '19 at 13:22
cp: -r not specified; omitting directory '/home/administrator/Documents/myfile.10'

This means myfile.10 is a directory. cp won't copy it, unless you explicitly use -r (or equivalent) flag.

For cp in my Debian these are equivalent: -r, -R, --recursive. POSIX, however defines -R only (-r is mentioned as obsolescent). It says:

If source_file is of type directory, the following steps shall be taken:

  • If the -R option was not specified, cp shall write a diagnostic message to standard error, do nothing more with source_file, and go on to any remaining files.


The conclusion is your cp does exactly what it's supposed to do. If you want to copy the whole directory, use -R. If you expected myfile.10 to be a file then you need to investigate why the discrepancy.

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