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You CAN rm files that are in use!
Authored by: stetner on Mar 17, '04 06:35:58AM

Agreed, Nothing should stop you from deleting an in use file (other than that immutable flag which is separate from the in use issue).

If the system was panicing, I would suspect that the file system got corrupt when you ran out of space and trying to rm the file triggered the panic.

In all likelihood, if you had just booted into OS X single user and forced an fsck, you would have cleared it up as well....

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