17

In Linux you can use the ln command to make links.

$ touch foo
$ ln -s foo foo_link
$ ls -l
lrwxrwxrwx  1 cklein cklein         3 May 29 16:11 foo_link -> foo

I assume that the 'l' in ln stands for "link", but what does the 'n' stand for?

What does ln stand for?

41

All the ln means "link", not just the "l". Just the same as ls meaning "list", cp means "copy" and mv means "move".

They are part of the "two letter commands", for example:

  • ar — ARchive
  • as — ASsembler
  • bc — Basic Calculator
  • cc — C Compiler
  • cp — CoPy files and directories
  • dc — Desk Calculator
  • dd — Data Description: convert and copy a file
  • df — Disk Free: report file system disk space usage
  • du — Disk Usage
  • ed — EDitor
  • ld — Link eDitor
  • ln — make LiNks between files
  • lp — Line Printer
  • ls — LiSt directory contents
  • mv — MoVe (rename) files
  • nl — Number Lines of file
  • nm — NaMe list
  • od — Octal Dump
  • pg — PaGinate
  • pr — (PRetty) PRint
  • ps — Process Status: report a snapshot of the current proceses.
  • rm — ReMove files or directories
  • sh — SHell
  • su — run a command with Substitute User and group ID / originally Super User
  • vi — VIsual editor
  • wc — Word Count
  • 6
    Maybe, or just "switch user". – J. A. Corbal May 29 '13 at 22:35
  • 22
    Actually, checking in the UNIX PROGRAMMER’S MANUAL, Seventh Edition, Volume 1, January, 1979. It says 'substitute user'. – Frederik Deweerdt May 29 '13 at 22:43
  • 1
    I think your description for su is a bit misleading. su runs a command with a substitute user and group ID. It doesn't change the current user's UID or make the current user a superuser. – user26112 May 29 '13 at 23:05
  • 4
    The Unix First Edition man pages are available on the Internet. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' May 30 '13 at 0:21
  • 1
    "Switch/substitute user" may be more accurate now, but historically, the oldest available implementation of su, in Unix v5 (1974), could only switch to super-user: pthree.org/2009/12/31/the-meaning-of-su – Plutor May 30 '13 at 14:12

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