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Re: ls -Fl -- no @ on symlinks?

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: ls -Fl -- no @ on symlinks?
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 11:03:15 +0200

address@hidden (Bob Proulx) wrote:
> One of the folks at work called to my attention that 'ls -Fl' prints
> identifying characters at the end of the file for everything but not
> for a symlink.
>   lrwxrwxr-x  1 rwp  esl    3 Jul  5 23:02 bar1 -> foo
>   lrwxrwxr-x  1 rwp  esl    7 Jul  5 23:09 bar2 -> somedir/

As I recall, the final type indicator is intended to tell you the type
of the ultimate referent -- that is, the result of `stat'ing the symlink.

> The docs say:
>   `-F'
>   `--classify'
>   `--indicator-style=classify'
>        Append a character to each file name indicating the file type.
>        Also, for regular files that are executable, append `*'.  The file
>        type indicators are `/' for directories, `@' for symbolic links,
>        `|' for FIFOs, `=' for sockets, and nothing for regular files. Do
>        not follow symbolic links listed on the command line unless the
>        `--dereference-command-line' (`-H'), `--dereference' (`-L'), or
>        `--dereference-command-line-symlink-to-dir' options are specified.
> That seems to say an @ should be there.  I guess I would expect this.
>   lrwxrwxr-x  1 rwp  esl    3 Jul  5 23:02 bar1@ -> foo
>   lrwxrwxr-x  1 rwp  esl    7 Jul  5 23:09 bar2@ -> somedir/
> I can't say I have ever missed having that on a 'ls -l' listing.  I
> also note that the HP-UX behaves exactly the same as GNU ls in this
> regard.  So it is probably fine.  Is it?

I think that such an `@' would be redundant, coming just before
the `->' indicator.  Solaris 5.9's /bin/ls also does not display
the `@' there.  Why waste valuable screen real estate?

> I am impressed that it printed the classifier on the value of the
> symlink, however.  That is above and beyond. :-)  BTW the @ is missing
> from the value of the symlink too if the symlink is pointing to
> another symlink.

I suppose it might make sense to put an @ (or some other indicator)
there to indicate it's a dangling symlink, but would it be worth it?

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