dangerous inconsistency in symlink removal


Here's how to make a symlink and to delete it:

mkdir dir
ln -s dir dirlink
rm -r dirlink

Here's another way to delete it:

rm -r dirlink/

Although it will do the job, it will actually complain with:

rm: cannot remove `dirlink': Not a directory

Note that we could have achieved the deletion with just:

rm dirlink

This is because the symlink is just a single file. So there's no need to treat it like a directory when deleting.

Sadly, this behaviour is inconsistent when there is a mounted voulem. The first way of deletion has no problem, but the second one will wipe out the entire drive, if it so happens that dir is the mount directory (i.e. ln -s /media/my_drive dirlink && rm -r dirlink/). I learned this the hard way :(

[sidenote] Here's some explanation.