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A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming, Third Edition by Mark G. Sobell

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Symbolic Links

In addition to hard links, Linux supports symbolic links, also called soft links or symlinks. A hard link is a pointer to a file (the directory entry points to the inode), whereas a symbolic link is an indirect pointer to a file (the directory entry contains the pathname of the pointed-to file—a pointer to the hard link to the file).

Dereferencing symbolic links

To dereference a symbolic link means to follow the link to the target file rather than work with the link itself. See page 115 for information on dereferencing symbolic links.

Advantages of symbolic links

Symbolic links were developed because of the limitations inherent in hard links. You cannot create a hard link to a directory, but you can create a symbolic link to a ...

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