What does that mean that a soft link can cross file system boundaries ? Does that mean that I can create a soft link on a ext3 to a file on a ext4 files system ?

Also, while I understand (at least I hope) what's the difference between soft link vs. hard link (as per my understating the first one is similar to MS Windows shortcuts and that the shorctuts/pointers will gave a unique inode number, so while accessing the soft link it will actually call the linked file, right? )

while a hard link associates one or more files with a single inode number, making all files indistinguishable from one another. So in fact it's like having two actual files that will replicate (from the linked file to the link file) is that correct?


Soft link is somewhat a text file that tells the OS where is the file that it links to. For example, "I'm pointing to the /root/somefile". They show location on the directory tree, hence they can cross the filesystem boundaries - they don't care about the filesystem but the location. So yes, you can point from ext3 to ext4.

Hard links are sharing the same inode - they point to the hardware location, instead of "software"(directory tree). This means that if you were to try to make hard link between ext3 and ext4, then you'd have some problems - these filesystems are different, so they can't share the inode.

Also, hard link is essentialy the same file, whereas soft link isn't. The consequence is that if you delete the original file but leave soft link, then the file disappears and soft link is broken. If you remove original and leave hard link, the file stays on the disc, because hard link is the same file.

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