why doesn't ln -sf work?


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  1. #1
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    why doesn't ln -sf work?

    I've noticed in that a lot of times ln -sf does not work. for example:
    Code:
    root@JT-Linux-Server root # cd /usr/src/
    root@JT-Linux-Server src # ls -l
    total 8
    lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root           19 Nov 18 03:22 linux -> linux-2.4.20-xfs-r3
    drwxr-xr-x   17 root     root         4096 Dec  3 11:37 linux-2.4.20-xfs-r3
    drwxr-xr-x   17 root     root         4096 Dec  3 10:28 linux-2.4.20-xfs-r4
    root@JT-Linux-Server src # ln -sf linux-2.4.20-xfs-r4/ linux
    root@JT-Linux-Server src # ls -l
    total 8
    lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root           19 Nov 18 03:22 linux -> linux-2.4.20-xfs-r3
    drwxr-xr-x   17 root     root         4096 Dec  3 11:49 linux-2.4.20-xfs-r3
    drwxr-xr-x   17 root     root         4096 Dec  3 10:28 linux-2.4.20-xfs-r4
    Why doesn't this work? I've tried every combination of adding leading slashes, but it still doesn't work. For example:
    ln -sf linux-2.4.20-xfs-r4 linux
    ln -sf linux-2.4.20-xfs-r4/ linux
    ln -sf linux-2.4.20-xfs-r4 linux/
    ln -sf linux-2.4.20-xfs-r4/ linux/
    ln -s -f linux-2.4.20-xfs-r4/ linux

    Still nothing. I read straight from the ln man page:
    -f, --force
    Remove existing destination files.
    Even when I used -i it didn't work. There is a way to make a new symlink without manually rm-ing the original symlink, right?

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    if I have to delete it manually, then what does -f or --force do? What's it used for then?

  4. #4
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    Re: why doesn't ln -sf work?

    sharth@mini-sharth:~/blah$ ln -sf linux os
    sharth@mini-sharth:~/blah$ ls -l os
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 sharth sharth 5 Dec 3 15:29 os -> linux
    sharth@mini-sharth:~/blah$ ln -sf new-destination os
    sharth@mini-sharth:~/blah$ ls -l os
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 sharth sharth 15 Dec 3 15:29 os -> new-destination
    sharth@mini-sharth:~/blah$ ln -s -f even-newer os
    sharth@mini-sharth:~/blah$ ls -l os
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 sharth sharth 10 Dec 3 15:29 os -> even-newer
    sharth@mini-sharth:~/blah$ ln --version
    ln (coreutils) 5.0
    Written by Mike Parker and David MacKenzie.

    Copyright (C) 2003 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO
    warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
    sharth@mini-sharth:~/blah$
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  5. #5
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    I think the -f pertains to individual files only. In the example you provided, it shows that you are trying to link directories. I'll bet that if you just created some files and did the same thing it would work. Not necessarily the same case with directories, I presume.

    EVAC

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by evac-q8r
    I think the -f pertains to individual files only. In the example you provided, it shows that you are trying to link directories. I'll bet that if you just created some files and did the same thing it would work. Not necessarily the same case with directories, I presume.

    EVAC
    yep. didn't work with directories.. use -snf
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  7. #7
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    but doing
    ln -s madeup/ crap
    works fine. I'm still not sure what -f is for.

  8. #8
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    -f is needed to replace the file if they are files themselves...

    -n makes ln not care if its dealing with directories or files.
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  9. #9
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    Talking

    Perfect! Thank you so much, I'm going to sleep a lot better tonight thanks to you!

    Here I am making it work:
    jt@JT-Linux-Laptop jt $ echo poop > crap.txt
    jt@JT-Linux-Laptop jt $ ln -sf madeup crap.txt
    jt@JT-Linux-Laptop jt $ ls -l
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 jt users 6 Dec 3 13:14 crap.txt -> madeup


    But shouldn't it overwrite a symlink too? I guess it would make sense to, but it just doesn't...
    I'm so anal, I'm probably gonna go search for a patch or try to decrypt C code.

  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    Nobody else thinks that ln -sf crap poop should overwrite the poop symbolic link when invoked? I think it just makes sense.

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