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PROGRAM:

NAME


dirname — return the directory portion of a pathname

SYNOPSIS


dirname string

DESCRIPTION


The string operand shall be treated as a pathname, as defined in the Base Definitions
volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 3.267, Pathname. The string string shall be converted to
the name of the directory containing the filename corresponding to the last pathname
component in string, performing actions equivalent to the following steps in order:

1. If string is //, skip steps 2 to 5.

2. If string consists entirely of <slash> characters, string shall be set to a single
<slash> character. In this case, skip steps 3 to 8.

3. If there are any trailing <slash> characters in string, they shall be removed.

4. If there are no <slash> characters remaining in string, string shall be set to a
single <period> character. In this case, skip steps 5 to 8.

5. If there are any trailing non-<slash> characters in string, they shall be removed.

6. If the remaining string is //, it is implementation-defined whether steps 7 and 8 are
skipped or processed.

7. If there are any trailing <slash> characters in string, they shall be removed.

8. If the remaining string is empty, string shall be set to a single <slash> character.

The resulting string shall be written to standard output.

OPTIONS


None.

OPERANDS


The following operand shall be supported:

string A string.

STDIN


Not used.

INPUT FILES


None.

ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES


The following environment variables shall affect the execution of dirname:

LANG Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or
null. (See the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 8.2,
Internationalization Variables for the precedence of internationalization
variables used to determine the values of locale categories.)

LC_ALL If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other
internationalization variables.

LC_CTYPE Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data
as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in
arguments).

LC_MESSAGES
Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of
diagnostic messages written to standard error.

NLSPATH Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES.

ASYNCHRONOUS EVENTS


Default.

STDOUT


The dirname utility shall write a line to the standard output in the following format:

"%s\n", <resulting string>

STDERR


The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.

OUTPUT FILES


None.

EXTENDED DESCRIPTION


None.

EXIT STATUS


The following exit values shall be returned:

0 Successful completion.

>0 An error occurred.

CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS


Default.

The following sections are informative.

APPLICATION USAGE


The definition of pathname specifies implementation-defined behavior for pathnames
starting with two <slash> characters. Therefore, applications shall not arbitrarily add
<slash> characters to the beginning of a pathname unless they can ensure that there are
more or less than two or are prepared to deal with the implementation-defined
consequences.

EXAMPLES


┌─────────────────┬─────────────┐
CommandResults
├─────────────────┼─────────────┤
dirname / │ / │
dirname // │ / or // │
dirname /a/b/ │ /a
dirname //a//b// │ //a
dirname │ Unspecified │
dirname a │ . ($? = 0) │
dirname "" │ . ($? = 0) │
dirname /a │ / │
dirname /a/b │ /a
dirname a/ba
└─────────────────┴─────────────┘
See also the examples for the basename utility.

RATIONALE


The dirname utility originated in System III. It has evolved through the System V releases
to a version that matches the requirements specified in this description in System V
Release 3. 4.3 BSD and earlier versions did not include dirname.

The behaviors of basename and dirname in this volume of POSIX.1‐2008 have been coordinated
so that when string is a valid pathname:

$(basename -- "string")

would be a valid filename for the file in the directory:

$(dirname -- "string")

This would not work for the versions of these utilities in early proposals due to the way
processing of trailing <slash> characters was specified. Consideration was given to
leaving processing unspecified if there were trailing <slash> characters, but this cannot
be done; the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 3.267, Pathname allows
trailing <slash> characters. The basename and dirname utilities have to specify consistent
handling for all valid pathnames.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS


None.

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