> Message: 4
> Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 23:28:16 -0500
> From: Earnie Boyd <earnie@...>
> Quoting Brian Dessent <brian@...>:
>> For local NTFS volumes, Windows supports hard links and junctions (aka
>> reparse points.) But neither of these are anything like symbolic links,
>> because they create a fixed mapping between two given files/folders, not
>> a symbolic target name that is evaluated on every access. And they
>> cannot span across volumes. And they don't work for network shares.
>> And they don't work with any version of Windows prior to 2k. And they
>> don't work on FAT32 volumes. As you can see, their usefulness is
>> severely limited and thus the MSYS ln command just creates copies, as
>> that is the only solution that works in all cases.
Unfortunately just copying the files loses the main feature that
symlinks provide - when the target is updated, the "symlink" remains out
of date because it's just a copy. For all their flaws and limitations,
using junctions as a symlink for a directory would present the
appearance of Doing The Right Thing most of the time, even if in reality
they are more akin to hardlinks than symlinks.
It's too bad Microsoft keeps their IFS kit closed source, which makes it
impossible/useless for anyone to write an open source symlink driver
that actually has the desired semantics.
> That all said and is true; however, the newer versions of windows are
> becoming smarter. The symlink functions could be looked at again to
> provide the possibility but I don't have time. I took out the Cygwin
> implementation from MSYS because of the reasons stated by Brian.
> Do a google for junction from sysinternals which MS now owns as well.
> It will provide directory level softlinks. And their is something
> resembling a mount system that will allow you to map a directory on
> another drive to a directory on a different drive. And Vista comes
> with something called symbolic links
The mount system is just another type of junction/reparse point. (Which
isn't a bad thing, it's still useful.)
-- Howard Chu
Chief Architect, Symas Corp. http://www.symas.com
Director, Highland Sun http://highlandsun.com/hyc
OpenLDAP Core Team http://www.openldap.org/project/