Questions tagged [symlink]

A special type of file that references an inexistent or existing file or directory. The contents of a symbolic link consist of an arbitrary string that is the path to the file that the symbolic link points to. When the symlink is encountered during pathname resolution, the string stored by the file is used to modify the pathname resolution.

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329
votes
10answers
190k views

How can I find broken symlinks

Is there a way to find all symbolic links that don't point anywere? find ./ -type l will give me all symbolic links, but makes no distinction between links that go somewhere and links that don't. ...
172
votes
1answer
279k views

How to change where a symlink points [duplicate]

Can you tell me what this is in the area marked red? If I want to change /media/files/tb-prod/files to some other path, how would I do that?
133
votes
8answers
62k views

Why are hard links to directories not allowed in UNIX/Linux?

I read in text books that Unix/Linux doesn't allow hard links to directories but does allow soft links. Is it because, when we have cycles and if we create hard links, and after some time we delete ...
112
votes
9answers
197k views

How to get full path of original file of a soft symbolic link?

I want to scp a file to a server. The file is a symbolic link, and actually what I want to do is copy the source file. I don't want to track the source file's path manually, because it can be replaced....
110
votes
4answers
474k views

Create a symbolic link relative to the current directory

I'm trying to create a symbolic link in my home directory that points to a directory on my external HDD. It works fine when I specify it like this: cd ~ ln -s /run/media/name/exhdd/Data/ Data ...
83
votes
1answer
48k views

Make cd follow symbolic links

I have my code mounted as an sshfs in my home directory, but the hierarchy is difficult to remember, so I created a symlink in my home directory leading to that directory. Is there a way so that when ...
75
votes
2answers
79k views

How to create backup from symbolic links?

I have a directory with symbolic links to other directories. I want to archive the symbolic links, not as links but as archives containing the files of directories they refer to, using tar command. ...
73
votes
2answers
103k views

Create symlink - overwrite if one exists

I want to take down data in /path/to/data/folder/month/date/hour/minute/file and symlink it to /path/to/recent/file and do this automatically every time a file is created. Assuming I will not know ...
71
votes
5answers
119k views

How do you make samba follow symlink outside the shared path

This is Ubuntu server 10.04 64 and samba 3.4.7. I have a shared directory /home/mit/share and another one /home/temp that I link into the shared one: ln -s /home/temp /home/mit/share/temp But on ...
71
votes
7answers
93k views

Make a symbolic link to a relative pathname

I can do this: $ pwd /home/beau $ ln -s /home/beau/foo/bar.txt /home/beau/bar.txt $ readlink -f bar.txt /home/beau/foo/bar.txt But I'd like to be able to do this: $ pwd /home/beau $ cd foo $ ln -s ...
70
votes
3answers
103k views

How to change ownership from symbolic links?

I am facing some issue with creating soft links. Following is the original file. $ ls -l /etc/init.d/jboss -rwxr-xr-x 1 askar admin 4972 Mar 11 2014 /etc/init.d/jboss Link creation is failing with ...
70
votes
8answers
77k views

Converting relative path to absolute path without symbolic link

Is there a Unix command to get the absolute (and canonicalized) path from a relative path which may contain symbolic links?
70
votes
6answers
121k views

How can I edit symlinks?

My basic understanding of a symlink is as a special file, a file that contains a string path to another file. The kernel's VFS abstracts a lot of that away but is there any reason why symlinks seem to ...
69
votes
14answers
4k views

Tips for remembering the order of parameters for ln?

I have used ln to write symbolic links for years but I still get the order of parameters the wrong away around. This usually has me writing: ln -s a b and then looking at the output to remind ...
68
votes
3answers
55k views

What is the difference between 'rm' and 'unlink'?

Assuming you know the target is a symbolic link and not a file, is there any difference between using rm and unlink to remove the link?
65
votes
2answers
9k views

Symbolic link recursion - what makes it “reset”?

I wrote a little bash script to see what happens when I keep following a symbolic link that points to the same directory. I was expecting it to either make a very long working directory, or to crash. ...
63
votes
2answers
12k views

pwd without symlinks

If I do pwd I notice it uses whatever symlinks I used to get into the current directory. Can I get it to tell me the "real" directory I'm in ... i.e. the path from the root to my current directory ...
60
votes
4answers
41k views

Get path of current script when executed through a symlink

I have a utility consisting of a couple of directories with some bash scripts and supporting files that will be deployed to several machines, possibly in a different directory on each machine. The ...
60
votes
6answers
47k views

Are there any drawbacks from using mount --bind as a substitute for symbolic links?

Symlinks have limitations in how functions like ls, mv, and cp can operate on them because unlike shell initiated commands like cd, these functions do not have information about how the user accessed ...
59
votes
5answers
80k views

Determining if a file is a hard link or symbolic link?

I'm creating a shell script that would take a filename/path to a file and determine if the file is a symbolic link or a hard link. The only thing is, I don't know how to see if they are a hard link. ...
58
votes
2answers
105k views

How do I copy a symbolic link?

I have a symbolic link to a file in one directory. I would like to have that same link in another directory. How do I copy a symbolic link? I tried to cp the symbolic link but this copies the file ...
57
votes
4answers
44k views

How can I “relink” a lot of broken symlinks?

I have a directory tree which has a bunch of symbolic links to files under /home... however, I have moved /home to /mnt/home and need a way to "relink" all of the symlinks. Does such functionality ...
56
votes
10answers
38k views

What is the difference between symbolic and hard links?

When would you use one over the other?
54
votes
8answers
41k views

Find only destination of symlink

For use in a shell-script, I'm looking for a commandline-way to get the destination of a symbolic link. The closest I've come so far is stat -N src, which outputs src -> dst. Of course I could ...
51
votes
6answers
64k views

How can I remove all symbolic links with a special target?

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 ...
46
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a downside to deleting all of the broken symbolic links in a system?

I was running a script that iterated over all the files on my Linux system and created some metadata about them, and it threw an error when it hit a broken symbolic link. I am newish to *nix, but I ...
43
votes
4answers
175k views

Change permissions for a symbolic link

I have a symlink with these permissions: lrwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser 38 Aug 18 00:36 npm -> ../lib/node_modules/npm/bin/npm-cli.js* The symlink is located in a .tar.gz archive. Now when I ...
40
votes
2answers
18k views

Resolving symbolic links (pwd)

Say I do the following: cd /some/path ln -s /target/path symbolic_name If then do: cd /some/path cd symbolic_name pwd I get: /some/path/symblic_name and not: /target/path Is there a way to ...
38
votes
2answers
45k views

find usage with -L

I have link -> file I do find -L . -name 'link' And get ./link Why is that? man find says: -L : Follow symbolic links. When find examines or prints information about files, the ...
37
votes
7answers
24k views

Portable way to get script's absolute path?

What is a portable way for a (zsh) script to determine its absolute path? On Linux I use something like mypath=$(readlink -f $0) ...but this is not portable. (E.g., readlink on darwin does not ...
37
votes
8answers
7k views

What is the difference between a hard link and a file?

A hard link is defined as a pointer to an inode. A soft link, also known as a symbolic link, is defined as an independent file pointing to another link without the restrictions of hard links. What is ...
35
votes
1answer
42k views

How can I access a directory outside a chroot from within it?

I have a user which is chrooted to her home directory, but I want her to also be able to manage files within /var/www. As such, I did the following: root@server:/home/username# ln -s /var/www www ...
34
votes
6answers
10k views

Replace file with hard link to /dev/null

I'm running an application that writes to log.txt. The app was updated to a new version, making the supported plugins no longer compatible. It forces an enormous amount of errors into log.txt and does ...
34
votes
3answers
80k views

Make Nginx follow symlinks

Nginx does not follow symbolic links. I get a 404 error. In my directory, I have this link: lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 48 Sep 23 08:52 modules -> /path/to/dir/ but the files stored in /path/to/...
33
votes
4answers
5k views

How to tell if I'm actually in a symlink location from command line?

Suppose I have a folder: cd /home/cpm135/public_html and make a symbolic link ln -s /var/lib/class . Later, I'm in that directory: cd /home/cpm135/public_html/class The pwd is going to tell me I'...
33
votes
3answers
21k views

How to ls using the long format (-l) while still following directory symlinks?

I've noticed that ls -l doesn't only change the formatting of the output, but also how directory symlinks are handled: > ls /rmn biweekly.sh daily.sh logs ... > ls -l /rmn lrwxrwxrwx 1 root ...
33
votes
4answers
25k views

Changing the timestamp of a symlink

I know how to change the timestamp of a regular file: touch -t 201301291810 myfile.txt I was not able to do the same with a symlink. Is it possible? Distro: RHEL 5.8
33
votes
5answers
17k views

Convert absolute symlink to relative symlink with simple Linux command

I have a complete sub-filesystem inside a path /home/user/system containing the standard Linux structure with directories /bin, /home, /root, /usr, /var, /etc,... This sub-filesystem contain symbolic ...
31
votes
4answers
52k views

How to copy directory structure without removing symlinks?

I need to "install" a bunch of files to another directory keeping the directory structure of the source files intact. For example, if I have ./foo/bar/baz.txt going to /var/www/localhost/webroot/ I ...
31
votes
4answers
7k views

Should I include a trailing slash / in a symlink to a directory?

Symlinking to a directory gives to different results with ls -l depending on whether I ln -s dir or ln -s dir/. But what's the actual difference, and which one should I prefer why?
30
votes
4answers
87k views

How do I tell if a folder is actually a symlink and how do I fix it if it's broken?

How do I tell if I have a symlink, a shortcut of some sort, or a folder in Linux? Please see following screenshot. As you can see, the ls command lists objects where some are colored in dark blue ...
29
votes
4answers
28k views

ln -s with a path relative to pwd

I'm trying to create a bunch of symbolic links, but I can't figure out why this is working ln -s /Users/niels/something/foo ~/bin/foo_link while this cd /Users/niels/something ln -s foo ~/bin/...
29
votes
4answers
63k views

Adding to path vs. linking from /bin

Our sys admin installed a software application (Maven) on the server and told everyone to add the /usr/local/maven/bin/ folder to their path. I think it could be more convenient to just link the few ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does ln -s accept a single argument

> cd /tmp > ln -s foo > ls -alhF /tmp lrwxrwxrwx 1 user user 3 Jul 29 14:00 foo -> foo Is this a bug in ln or is there a use case for symlinking a file to itself? This is with ...
28
votes
1answer
12k views

Why are reboot, shutdown and poweroff symlinks to systemctl?

In Arch Linux, if I do ls -l in /sbin, I can see that reboot, shutdown and poweroff are all symlinks to /usr/bin/systemctl. But issuing reboot, shutdown and systemctl commands obviously does not all ...
27
votes
2answers
57k views

Executable symbolic link results in “command not found”

I created a symbolic link (yesterday) like this: sudo ln -s bin/python /usr/bin/prj-python When I run: prj-python file.py I get: prj-python: command not found When I try creating the link again, ...
27
votes
4answers
7k views

How do I prevent sed -i from destroying symlinks?

Why does sed -i executed on symlink destroys that link and replaces it with destination file? How to avoid this? eg. $ ls -l pet* -rw-rw-r-- 1 madneon madneon 4 mar 23 16:46 pet lrwxrwxrwx 1 madneon ...
27
votes
2answers
11k views

How does the /proc/<pid>/exe symlink differ from ordinary symlinks?

If I start a process and then delete the binary of it, I can still recover it from /proc/<pid>/exe: $ cp `which sleep` . $ ./sleep 10m & [1] 13728 $ rm sleep $ readlink /proc/13728/exe ...
26
votes
6answers
16k views

Getting relative links between two paths

Say I have two paths: <source_path> and <target_path>. I would like my shell (zsh) to automatically find out if there is a way to represent <target_path> from <source_path> as ...
25
votes
8answers
33k views

How to copy a folder structure and make symbolic links to files?

I have a folder SOURCE that contains several sub-level folders, each with its own files. I want to copy this folder in a new folder COPY where I need to copy the directory structure but keep the ...

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