You cannot delete the root directory itself. However, you can use rm's recursive mode to delete everything in that directory – the infamous
rm -rf / command.
The "preserve root" mode stops
rm from recursively operating on the root directory:
$ sudo rm -rf /
rm: it is dangerous to operate recursively on ‘/’
rm: use --no-preserve-root to override this failsafe
--preserve-root option was added to GNU rm in 2003 (commit 9be74f6f125b2be), and was made the default behavior in 2006 (commit aff5a4f2ab86f).
Some say it is because pranksters in #ubuntu kept telling newbies to run
rm -rf / – and many did. Some say it is because it is too easy to mistype
rm -rf / tmp/junk. Some say it is to prevent accidents when running
rm -rf $dir/ when $dir is empty.
All we know is, he's called th
Either way, it is part of POSIX requirements nowadays. Solaris
rm also has similar protection, as does OpenBSD.