Symlinks are Bad

So you’re about to run ln -s fileName linkName are you? Wait!

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is the file in fact a directory?
  2. Is the file on a different partition to the link?
  3. Is there a need to determine the original filename from the link?

If you answered “no” to all three of these questions, make a hardlink instead!

Too many tools “helpfully” treat symlinks are more than a mere pointer to another file.

For example, if you symlink to a file which contains relative paths, these paths will often be interpreted relative to the original file, rather than the link.

So before you make a symlink, stop and ask yourself “is this really what I want?”