I run ls -la on the Volumes directory. It shows the MM dir to have 9 hard links and the Media dir to have 12. If I then cd to the MM directory and run ls -la, it shows only 7 items whereas if I cd to the Media dir, it has 12 as expected. Why does the MM dir have only 7 items? shouldn't it be 9?


Every directory has at least two references: one from its parent directory (the Volumes entry in /), and one from its own . entry.

If there are subdirectories, each has a .. entry that refers back to the parent, and those also contribute toward the parent's link count.

So your /Volumes directory's link count of 9 consists of one from /, plus one from itself, plus 7 from subdirectories.

  • no it contains 7 including the "/." and "/.." – 13uz Oct 4 '14 at 20:57

. represents the current directory, where as .. represents the parent directory.

For example, currently I am in demo directory

$cd demo/dir1
/home/guru/demo/dir1       <-  my current directory
$cd .
/home/guru/demo/dir1       <-  cd again to my current directory
cd ..
/home/guru/demo           <-  cd  to parent directory

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