So, I have a bit of a situation where I created many symlinks in an attempt to get them to work, trying all sorts of combinations .. now I have this error:

ls: cannot access /etc/sv/me: Too many levels of symbolic links

There is no symlinks in /service/ or /etc/sv/
The only way I can find to solve this error is to remove all of the symlinks relating to /service/ or /etc/sv/ but i don't even see the symlinks?

3 Answers 3


You can identify cyclic symlinks with a bit of find trickery, try this:

find /path/to/search -type l -a ! \( -xtype b -o -xtype c -o -xtype d -o -xtype p -o -xtype f -o -xtype s -o -xtype l \) 2>/dev/null

This works by filtering for symlinks, then excluding anything where the type of the symlink's target is any of the possible inode types. The only things are left are those where find can't determine the type of the target, which only happens for cyclic symlinks (broken ones match -xtype l)

  • Ah, awesome, ty :)
    – King
    Apr 5, 2012 at 0:18
  • I have to admit, I was quite pleased when I discovered that one :-)
    – je4d
    Apr 5, 2012 at 0:20

Symlinks do not exhibit "action at a distance" -- being the target of a symlink never affects the target directly.

The error you're seeing indicates that either /etc, or /etc/sv, or /etc/sv/me is a symlink. Figure out which one it is and fix it.


Try using lower case -l (dash ell) instead of upper case -L when doing ls.

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