If I put a file in the trash and "empty trash", is that the same as doing
If I put a file in the trash and "empty trash", is that the same as doing rm file?
Effectively yes, although the details may vary under the hood. In both cases, the file can no longer be recovered except under certain circumstances1, 2, 3, 4, or perhaps using forensic data recovery techniques.
That said, I'd like to offer this as an adjunct:
I've always liked the concept of "moving to trash" because it gives you a second chance. When I started with Unix systems, I was always nervous about using
rm... still am in fact.
And so I was very pleased when I found the
trash utility for macOS by dabrahams. There was an extensive discussion here on moving files to the Trash folder from the command line, and IMHO, this one was the best.
Old habits die hard, and so I created an alias - if I enter
trash is called. If I'm feeling cocky, and really wish to
rm - I have another alias for that.