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LN(1) General Commands Manual LN(1)

lnmake links

ln [-fhinsv] source_file [target_file]

ln [-fhinsv] source_file ... target_dir

The ln utility creates a new directory entry (linked file) which has the same modes as the original file. It is useful for maintaining multiple copies of a file in many places at once without using up storage for the “copies”; instead, a link “points” to the original copy. There are two types of links: hard links and symbolic links. How a link “points” to a file is one of the differences between a hard or symbolic link.

The options are as follows:

Unlink any already existing file, permitting the link to occur.
If the target_file or target_dir is a symbolic link, do not follow it. This is most useful with the -f option, to replace a symlink which may point to a directory.
Cause ln to write a prompt to standard error if the target file exists. If the response from the standard input begins with the character ‘y’ or ‘Y’, then unlink the target file so that the link may occur. Otherwise, do not attempt the link. (The -i option overrides any previous -f options.)
Same as -h, for compatibility with other ln implementations, namely GNU coreutils.
Create a symbolic link.
Cause ln to be verbose, showing files as they are processed.

By default ln makes hard links. A hard link to a file is indistinguishable from the original directory entry; any changes to a file are effective independent of the name used to reference the file. Hard links may not normally refer to directories and may not span file systems.

A symbolic link contains the name of the file to which it is linked. The referenced file is used when an open(2) operation is performed on the link. A stat(2) on a symbolic link will return the linked-to file; an lstat(2) must be done to obtain information about the link. The readlink(2) call may be used to read the contents of a symbolic link. Symbolic links may span file systems and may refer to directories.

Given one or two arguments, ln creates a link to an existing file source_file. If target_file is given, the link has that name; target_file may also be a directory in which to place the link; otherwise it is placed in the current directory. If only the directory is specified, the link will be made to the last component of source_file.

Given more than two arguments, ln makes links in target_dir to all the named source files. The links made will have the same name as the files being linked to.

link(2), lstat(2), readlink(2), stat(2), symlink(2), symlink(7)

The ln utility conforms to IEEE Std 1003.2-1992 (“POSIX.2”).

The -v option is an extension to IEEE Std 1003.2-1992 (“POSIX.2”).

A ln utility appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX.

October 29, 2007 NetBSD-7.0.1