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FAQ 5.36 Why does Perl let me delete read-only files? Why does "-i" clobber protected files? Isn't this a bug in Perl?

This is an excerpt from the latest version perlfaq5.pod, which
comes with the standard Perl distribution. These postings aim to
reduce the number of repeated questions as well as allow the community
to review and update the answers. The latest version of the complete
perlfaq is at http://faq.perl.org .


5.36: Why does Perl let me delete read-only files?  Why does "-i" clobber protected files?  Isn't this a bug in Perl?

    This is elaborately and painstakingly described in the file-dir-perms
    article in the "Far More Than You Ever Wanted To Know" collection in
    http://www.cpan.org/misc/olddoc/FMTEYEWTK.tgz .

    The executive summary: learn how your filesystem works. The permissions
    on a file say what can happen to the data in that file. The permissions
    on a directory say what can happen to the list of files in that
    directory. If you delete a file, you're removing its name from the
    directory (so the operation depends on the permissions of the directory,
    not of the file). If you try to write to the file, the permissions of
    the file govern whether you're allowed to.


The perlfaq-workers, a group of volunteers, maintain the perlfaq. They
are not necessarily experts in every domain where Perl might show up,
so please include as much information as possible and relevant in any
corrections. The perlfaq-workers also don't have access to every
operating system or platform, so please include relevant details for
corrections to examples that do not work on particular platforms.
Working code is greatly appreciated.

If you'd like to help maintain the perlfaq, see the details in

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