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From: Daryle Walker (darylew_at_[hidden])
Date: 2003-11-27 00:20:29

Remember that there are two kinds of file-links:

1. The UNIX-style symlink is automatically followed by most of the file
APIs. It can refer to files in another file system, most likely by storing
the path to the original file.
2. The Windows shortcut and Mac alias are generally used by the main GUI
file interface. These systems didn't (originally) support [1]. However,
most file APIs do _not_ follow the links. Programs have to manually call
the file-following API before working with the original file. Their
internal data can be bigger, so they can contain extra mounting information,
so the link can be followed even through different mounts (and resulting

In both cases, the link is considered a separate file (at least by the
lowest file API levels). If a file-link is always followed, then there can
be no way of getting rid of the link itself. It's probably safer to always
never follow a link; an user can follow the link his/herself if the original
is to be deleted, and there's an option to remove the link itself.


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