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With the command:

ls -la *

I can list all my symbolic links.

How can I remove all symbolic links which are linked to a special folder?

For example:

In my directory usr/local/bin I have the following entries:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 50 Apr 22 14:52 allneeded -> /usr/local/texlive/2011/bin/x86_64-linux/allneeded
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 47 Apr 22 14:52 amstex -> /usr/local/texlive/2011/bin/x86_64-linux/amstex
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 24 Apr 23 19:09 arara -> /home/marco/.arara/arara

Now I want to remove all links with the path /usr/local/texlive/

share|improve this question
Do you mean remove all symlinks linked to a target folder? Or move all found symlinks into a specific folder? – uther May 25 '12 at 13:12
@uther: I mean removing the links. – Marco Daniel May 25 '12 at 13:18
up vote 25 down vote accepted

You can use this to delete all symbolic links:

find -type l -delete

with modern find versions.

On older find versions it may have to be:

find -type l -exec rm {} \;
# or
find -type l -exec unlink {} \;

To limit to a certain link target, assuming none of the paths contain any newline character:

 find -type l | while IFS= read -r lnkname; do if [ "$(readlink '$lnkname')" == "/your/exact/path" ]; then rm -- "$lnkname"; fi; done

or nicely formatted

 find -type l |
 while IFS= read -r lnkname;
   if [ "$(readlink '$lnkname')" = "/your/exact/path" ];
     rm -- "$lnkname"

The if could of course also include a more complex condition such as matching a pattern with grep.

Tailored to your case:

find -type l | while IFS= read -r lnk; do if (readlink "$lnk" | grep -q '^/usr/local/texlive/'); then rm "$lnk"; fi; done

or nicely formatted:

find -type l | while IFS= read -r lnk
  if readlink "$lnk" | grep -q '^/usr/local/texlive/'
    rm "$lnk"
share|improve this answer
Does this command remove all symlinks? Please see my edit above.. – Marco Daniel May 25 '12 at 13:29
@Marco: yes, the first three lines would. Editing more :) – 0xC0000022L May 25 '12 at 13:30

With a modern find that supports -lname:

find /usr/local/bin -lname '/usr/local/texlive/*' -delete

should do it.

share|improve this answer
That is a great and simple solution. I tested and it works like a charm. Thanks – Marco Daniel May 25 '12 at 15:53
Presumably that should be find /usr/local/bin – James Youngman May 25 '12 at 22:39
Not even modern, necessarily. GNU find has had -lname for longer than I have maintained it (since around 2003). – James Youngman May 25 '12 at 22:43
@JamesYoungman: Thanks! By modern find i really meant GNU find. ;) I used usr/local/bin, because that's what the OP used. – Christoffer Hammarström May 25 '12 at 22:52

The find solution is great.

Just in case your find doesn't support -lname, here's another way that uses only shell and readlink.

cd /usr/local/bin
for f in *; do
  case "$(readlink "$f")" in /usr/local/texlive/*)
    rm "$f"
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