What command can I type into the Terminal so that I can delete all .svn folders within a folder (and from all subdirectories) but not delete anything else?

  • Maybe you could just svn export path/to/repo path/to/export/to instead...
    – Jonny
    Jul 24, 2015 at 4:09
  • A note on svn export is that is doesn't copy across files that are not part of svn. For example, I wanted to do this for an iOS application that uses Cocoa Pods where we do not commit the Pods folder. This was then skipped from the output. I ended up using something similar to Rich's answer for what I wanted. Jun 21, 2016 at 13:29

1 Answer 1

cd to/dir/where/you/want/to/start
find . -type d -name '.svn' -print -exec rm -rf {} \;
  • Use find, which does recursion
  • in the current directory .
  • filetype is directory
  • filename is .svn
  • print what matched up to this point (the .svn dirs)
  • exec the command rm -rf (thing found from find). the {} is a placeholder for the entity found
  • the ; tells find that the command for exec is done. Since the shell also has an idea of what ; is, you need to escape it with \ so that the shell doesn't do anything special with it, and just passes to find
  • 3
    Good solution. While find has -delete it won't delete non-empty directories. This approach is cleaner than e.g. starting to match parts of the whole path of files.
    – Daniel Beck
    Feb 9, 2012 at 17:02
  • 13
    I'd recommend running it without the -exec rm -rf {} \; the first time to make sure it's only finding what you want it to. I've never had an issue where I've accidentally deleting the wrong thing with it, because I always check first.
    – Rob
    Feb 9, 2012 at 18:09
  • 2
    @Rob good point, i usually do -exec echo rm -rf {} \; then remove the echo. Feb 9, 2012 at 18:29
  • Another option if there are not too many would be to confirm deletion of each file with -exec rm -ri {} \;
    – doovers
    Jan 14, 2015 at 1:44
  • 4
    -exec rm -rf {} + is probably many times as fast, because it doesn’t have to launch too many rm instances. Instead, it packs the maximum amount of arguments (directories to remove in this case) in one call. This is possible because rm accepts multiple arguments.
    – Daniel B
    Feb 17, 2015 at 18:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .