[CentOS] ls and rm: "argument list too long"

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Fri Oct 24 16:45:13 UTC 2008

Bill Campbell wrote:
>> There are two possible buffer limits one could encounter: tty driver
>> input line buffer (which is not an issue for bash because readline
>> avoids it) and kernel exec space for the arguments plus environment
>> passed to a new process.  Only the second one causes the error message
>> that started this thread, and previous posts have pointed out that
>> recent Linux kernels have effectively removed that limit (see message
>>from Jeremy Sanders).
> While current Linux kernels may have removed the limit,

It's probably a mistake to say that the limit is removed.  I think this 
change just moves the limiting factor elsewhere - to the RAM or virtual 
memory that happens to be available.

> this has
> been a common issue on all *nix systems for decades, which is why
> xargs was written.

Recognizing that you do not have infinite buffer space available is a 
good thing.  Keep using xargs.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

More information about the CentOS mailing list