removing /var/empty on a non-system disk

Robert Bonomi bonomi at
Mon May 28 21:06:45 UTC 2012

> From owner-freebsd-questions at  Mon May 28 14:10:55 2012
> Date: Mon, 28 May 2012 13:05:45 -0600
> From: Gary Aitken <freebsd at>
> To: Polytropon <freebsd at>
> Cc: freebsd-questions at
> Subject: Re: removing /var/empty on a non-system disk
> On 5/25/2012 4:01 PM, Polytropon wrote:
> >
> > I should have mentioned that I did the (successful) test
> > logging in as root (real console login). If you use "su -"
> > or "su root", the effect should be the same. You can always
> > check the success of your operation with the "ls -lo" command.
> Nope.  That was the problem.  I had logged in on the vty as normal user 
> and done su root.  Had to back all the way out and log in on the vty as 
> root to make it work.

I'm going to guess that you did 'su root', not 'su - root'.  The two commands
are *NOT* identical.   'su root' does not run the root 'login' scripts; thus
environment variables (including path, user, logname etc.) are *not* set as
they are on root login -- this causes some 'am i root' tests to fail.  OTOH,
'su - root' should be equivalent to a root login in all respects.

NOTE; there will be issues if the 'working directory' of a parent process is 
the directory you are trying to delete.

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