2. Input Files
We'll use the same input files for all our examples, so let's create a folder called baeldung and run the following command to create some files:
$ touch -- -baeldung.txt test.txt file_name.txt baeldung.txt
So using the above, we've created four txt files, where -baeldung.txt will be our target throughout this tutorial.
And, if we're successful, by the end of this tutorial, the baeldung folder will have only three files instead of four:
$ ls baeldung baeldung.txt file_name.txt test.txt
3. Using rm
rm is a very popular command to delete files and directories in Linux operating systems. We'll start by focusing on this command to achieve the described target of this tutorial.
A feature of rm is the double-dash, "--", which means that no command-line options will follow after it. While optional in most circumstances, it'll come in handy in this case.
Imagine if we tried to delete -baeldung.txt like any other file:
$ rm -baeldung.txt
The issue here is that rm will think that "baeldung.txt" is a command-line option like -r or -f.
So let's instead run rm with the double-dash, so that it knows that nothing to the right of it is a command-line option:
$ rm -- -baeldung.txt
As we can observe, we aren't getting any error because we're using "--" before the name of the file, preventing the interpreter from accepting more command-line options.
4. Using find
As we've seen in the previous section, it's very easy to get an error if we forget to specify "--" before -baeldung.txt. So, let's see another method that might be more user-friendly.
find is another one of the more famous commands in Linux operating systems. It allows us to search for files using patterns and execute an operation afterward.
If we run the following command, we'll get the same result as with rm. But as we can see below, there are two steps.
First, we search for the desired file, in this case -baeldung.txt. And second, we perform the delete action using the -delete option:
$ find . -name '-baeldung.txt' -delete
In this tutorial, we've explained two different ways to delete a file whose name starts with "-" from the current working directory using the rm and find commands.
As we've seen in the above examples, the find command is more intuitive to the naked eye than rm. Be sure to check out the vast array of operations find supports at the appropriate man page.