trash-u - Trash files, with undo/redo capability


This document describes version 0.20 of trash-u (from Perl distribution App-trash-u), released on 2016-12-27.


 # trash some files, but in simulation mode, not really trashing the files
 % VERBOSE=1 trash-u --dry-run *.bak

 # trash some files, for real
 % trash-u *.bak

 # list trash contents
 % trash-u --list-contents

 # trash some more files
 % trash-u * .tmp

 # oops, made a mistake; no worry, let's undo; now previous trashing is reversed
 % trash-u --undo

 # undo again; now the *.bak files are also restored
 % trash-u --undo

 # redo; now the *.bak files are trashed again
 % trash-u --redo

 # show history
 % trash-u --history

 # forget history; past actions can no longer be undone/redone
 % trash-u --clear-history

 # empty trash; this action is not undoable (the point is to reclaim space)
 % trash-u --empty

 # display help for more options
 % trash-u --help


This command-line program is an interface to File::Trash::Undoable, which in turn uses File::Trash::FreeDesktop.

Features: undo/redo, dry run mode, per-filesystem trash dir.

This program is relatively new and have not yet been tested extensively. Use with caution.


trash-u can be used as rm replacement (a.k.a. alias) with some caveats:

  • trash-u deletes directories by default

    That is, it behaves as if -R rm option is in effect.

  • Some rm options exist but do not have any effect (noop)

  • Some rm options are still missing/unknown

    This include: -i/-I/--interactive, --one-file-system, --no-preserve-root.



Empty trash.


List contents of trash directory.


Trash files (with undo support).


* marks required options.

Common options


Clear actions history.


Select subcommand.


Set path to configuration file.

Can be specified multiple times.


Set configuration profile to use.


Pass options to formatter.


Choose output format, e.g. json, text.

Default value:

--help, -h, -?

Display help message and exit.


List actions history.


Equivalent to --format=json-pretty.


When outputing as JSON, strip result envelope.

Default value:


By default, when outputing as JSON, the full enveloped result is returned, e.g.:


The reason is so you can get the status (1st element), status message (2nd element) as well as result metadata/extra result (4th element) instead of just the result (3rd element). However, sometimes you want just the result, e.g. when you want to pipe the result for more post-processing. In this case you can use `--naked-res` so you just get:


Do not use any configuration file.


Do not read environment for default options.


Redo previous undone action.


List available subcommands.


Undo previous action.

--version, -v

Display program's version and exit.

Options for subcommand trash


Files/dirs to delete (JSON-encoded).

See --files.


Files/dirs to delete (YAML-encoded).

See --files.


Files/dirs to delete.

Files must exist.

Can be specified multiple times.


This script has shell tab completion capability with support for several shells.


To activate bash completion for this script, put:

 complete -C trash-u trash-u

in your bash startup (e.g. ~/.bashrc). Your next shell session will then recognize tab completion for the command. Or, you can also directly execute the line above in your shell to activate immediately.

It is recommended, however, that you install shcompgen which allows you to activate completion scripts for several kinds of scripts on multiple shells. Some CPAN distributions (those that are built with Dist::Zilla::Plugin::GenShellCompletion) will even automatically enable shell completion for their included scripts (using shcompgen) at installation time, so you can immadiately have tab completion.


To activate tcsh completion for this script, put:

 complete trash-u 'p/*/`trash-u`/'

in your tcsh startup (e.g. ~/.tcshrc). Your next shell session will then recognize tab completion for the command. Or, you can also directly execute the line above in your shell to activate immediately.

It is also recommended to install shcompgen (see above).

other shells

For fish and zsh, install shcompgen as described above.


This script can read configuration files. Configuration files are in the format of IOD, which is basically INI with some extra features.

By default, these names are searched for configuration filenames (can be changed using --config-path): ~/.config/trash-u.conf, ~/trash-u.conf, or /etc/trash-u.conf.

All found files will be read and merged.

To disable searching for configuration files, pass --no-config.

To put configuration for a certain subcommand only, use a section name like [subcommand=NAME] or [SOMESECTION subcommand=NAME].

You can put multiple profiles in a single file by using section names like [profile=SOMENAME] or [SOMESECTION profile=SOMENAME] or [subcommand=SUBCOMMAND_NAME profile=SOMENAME] or [SOMESECTION subcommand=SUBCOMMAND_NAME profile=SOMENAME]. Those sections will only be read if you specify the matching --config-profile SOMENAME.

You can also put configuration for multiple programs inside a single file, and use filter program=NAME in section names, e.g. [program=NAME ...] or [SOMESECTION program=NAME]. The section will then only be used when the reading program matches.

Finally, you can filter a section by environment variable using the filter env=CONDITION in section names. For example if you only want a section to be read if a certain environment variable is true: [env=SOMEVAR ...] or [SOMESECTION env=SOMEVAR ...]. If you only want a section to be read when the value of an environment variable has value equals something: [env=HOSTNAME=blink ...] or [SOMESECTION env=HOSTNAME=blink ...]. If you only want a section to be read when the value of an environment variable does not equal something: [env=HOSTNAME!=blink ...] or [SOMESECTION env=HOSTNAME!=blink ...]. If you only want a section to be read when an environment variable contains something: [env=HOSTNAME*=server ...] or [SOMESECTION env=HOSTNAME*=server ...]. Note that currently due to simplistic parsing, there must not be any whitespace in the value being compared because it marks the beginning of a new section filter or section name.

List of available configuration parameters:

Common for all subcommands

 format (see --format)
 format_options (see --format-options)
 naked_res (see --naked-res)

Configuration for subcommand 'empty'

Configuration for subcommand 'list_contents'

Configuration for subcommand 'trash'

 files (see --files)


PROG_OPT => str

Specify additional command-line options






Please visit the project's homepage at


Source repository is at


Please report any bugs or feature requests on the bugtracker website

When submitting a bug or request, please include a test-file or a patch to an existing test-file that illustrates the bug or desired feature.








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This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.