ln(1)ln(1)NAMEln - link files and directories
file1 [file2]... dest_directory
directory1 [directory2]... dest_directory
The command links:
· file1 to a new or existing new_file,
· file1 to a new or existing file named file1 in existing
· file1, file2, ... to new or existing files of the same name
in existing dest_directory,
· directory1, directory2, ... to new directories of the same
name in existing dest_directory,
· or it creates symbolic links between files or between direc‐
If links are to dest_directory, corresponding file or directory names
in that directory are linked to file1, file2, ..., or directory1,
directory2, ..., etc., as appropriate. If two or more existing files
or directories (excluding destination file name new_file) are speci‐
fied, the destination must be a directory. If new_file already exists
as a regular file (or link to another file), its contents (or the
existing link) and its ACL are destroyed only if the option is speci‐
fied. The ACL on the new_file after the link is the same as that of
the source_file file.
If the and options are specified and the link being created is the name
of an existing link or ordinary file and the access permissions of the
file forbid writing, asks permission to overwrite the file. If the
access permissions of the directory forbid writing, aborts and returns
with the error message:
(even if the file is an ordinary file and not a link to another file).
When asking for permission to overwrite an existing file or link,
prints the mode (see chmod(2) and below), followed by the first letters
of the words and in the current native language, prompting for a
response, and reading one line from the standard input. If the
response is affirmative and is permissible, the operation occurs; if
not, the command proceeds to the next source file, if any.
Hard links are created with the same ownerships and permissions as the
file or directory to which they are linked. If ownership or permis‐
sions are changed on a link or file, the same changes appear on corre‐
sponding hard links. The command does not permit hard links to a
Symbolic links are created with the ownership of the creator and the
permissions are of the creator's current umask. Once created, the sym‐
bolic link ownership and permissions will not change, since the mode
and ownership of the symbolic link is ignored by the system.
If file1 is a file and new_file is a link to an existing file or an
existing file with other links, new_file is disassociated from the
existing file and links and linked to file1. When creates a link to a
new or existing file name, ownerships and permissions are always iden‐
tical to those for the file to which it is linked. If or is used to
change ownership or permissions of a file or link, the change applies
to the file and all associated links. The last modification time and
last access time of the file and all associated links are identical
(see chown(1) and chmod(1)).
For a discussion of symbolic links, see symlink(4).
The command recognizes the following options:
Force existing destination
path names to be removed to allow the link.
Write a prompt to the standard error output
requesting confirmation for each link that would over‐
write an existing file. This option takes effect only
if used in conjunction with the option.
Cause to create symbolic links instead of the usual hard
links. A symbolic link contains the name of the file to
which it is linked. The referenced file is used when an
operation is performed on the link (see open(2)). A on
a symbolic link returns the linked-to file; an must be
performed to obtain information about the link (see
stat(2)). A call can be used to read the contents of
the symbolic link (see readlink(2)). Symbolic links may
span file systems and refer to directories.
Access Control Lists (ACLs)
If optional ACL entries are associated with new_file, displays a plus
sign after the access mode when asking permission to overwrite the
If new_file is a new file, it inherits the access control list of
file1, altered to reflect any difference in ownership between the two
files (see acl(5) and aclv(5)). In JFS file systems, new files created
by do not inherit their parent directory's default ACL entries (if
any), but instead retain their original ACLs.
determines the interpretation of text as single byte and/or multibyte
and determine the local language equivalent of (for yes/no queries).
determines the language in which messages are displayed.
If is not specified in the environment or is set to the empty string,
the value of is used as a default for each unspecified or empty vari‐
able. If is not specified or is set to the empty string, a default of
(see lang(5)) is used instead of If any internationalization variable
contains an invalid setting, behaves as if all internationalization
variables are set to See environ(5).
International Code Set Support
Single byte and multibyte character code sets are supported.
The following command creates and in which are linked back to the orig‐
inal files and
If and/or exists in the destination directory, it is removed and
replaced by a link to or respectively. If existing file or is a link
to another file or a file with links, the existing file remains. Only
the link is broken and replaced by a new link to or
does not create hard links across file systems.
Access control lists of networked files are summarized (as returned in
by but not copied to the new file. When using on such files, a is not
printed after the mode value when asking for permission to overwrite a
was developed by AT&T, the University of California, Berkeley and HP.
SEE ALSOcp(1), cpio(1), mv(1), rm(1), link(1M), readlink(2), stat(2), sym‐
link(2), symlink(4), acl(5), aclv(5).