When you run a removal command in Linux with the recursive and force options enabled (rm -rf *), you don't expect to get back a failure message. After all, YOU FORCED IT! However, it just so happens that even with force, you can encounter a situation where the list of files you're deleting is simply too long for the rm command to process. In that case, you'll receive the following:
[[email protected] mqueue]# rm -rf * -bash: /bin/rm: Argument list too long
In this instance, it was a mail queue that had a ridiculous number of messages in it.
To get around this nasty message, in steps xargs allowing for the following command:
ls | xargs rm
The cursor is blinking green, the directory is clean.