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Is there any way to have a symbolic link that links a local .jpg file to a .jpg file on the internet in a l/unix environment?

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No, this is not normally possible.

The only possible way I can think of that this could even be attempted would be to use a FIFO or similar and have a process monitoring it to download the file when its accessed.

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Ok, thank you.. –  Ross Sep 3 '11 at 19:53
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Maybe your best hope would be to use something like httpfs. But the http site must be specified at mount time.

Maybe similar fuse filesystems exist that won't require a host to be given at mount time, but I don't know any.

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