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How long do backup files(files ending with ~) created in Ubuntu by text editors live?

Do they persist until they are deleted manually, or are they automatically deleted by the operating system at some point in time?

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These files live till they're deleted manually. There is no automatic deletion of *~ files. That would be dangerous, since just because some apps create backup files using that suffix doesn't mean that every file whose name ends with ~ is a backup file that can be safely deleted.

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