Linux cp command allows you to copy files and directories. By default, it works on file only. When you try to copy a directory, you get the cp: -r not specified; omitting directory error on the terminal.
Let’s reproduce the error.
Copy a file from src_file.txt to /home/imaginelinux/dest_dir folder.
cp src_file.txt /home/imaginelinux/dest_dir
This works fine for files.
Now, let’s run the command for the directory and see what happens. Copy a directory from src_dir to desk_dir.
cp src_dir desk_dir cp: -r not specified; omitting directory 'src_dir'
What is wrong with the copy command? Why is the error message cp omitting directory?
cp omitting directory error solution
cp: omitting directory error tells that directories are not copied as the cp command by default works on the files only. Simply, use the cp command with -r or -R (recursive) as an argument to resolve cp: omitting directory error.
-R, -r, --recursive copy directories recursively
The cp command – r or -R (recursive) option, allows you to copy directories/subdirectories recursively.
Now let’s again run the copy command now with the – r option.
cp -r src_dir dest_dir
cp -R src_dir dest_dir
Now you can see the command worked fine and directories along with contents are also copied.
In conclusion, the “cp: omitting directory” error in Linux arises when you attempt to use the ‘cp’ command to copy a directory without the appropriate options. By default, the ‘cp’ command is designed for copying files, not directories.
The solution to this issue is to use the ‘-R’ or ‘-r’ option, which stands for ‘recursive’, to ensure the directory and its contents are copied successfully.
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