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I would like to be able to open the software "Julia" by simply typing julia in a terminal at any location (like I can do for, say, firefox). Currently, I have to type

cd ~/julia
./julia

According to the documentation I must:

Add a soft link to the julia executable in the julia directory to /usr/local/bin (or any suitable directory already in your path).

I don't fully understand softlinks, but I can't figure out why this doesn't work:

ln -s ~/julia /usr/local/bin

Why won't this allow me to access the contents of the ~/julia file (including the julia executable) directly?

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    You had created a softlink for Julia directory inside /usr/local/bin,try to create a softlink for Julia executable file inside /usr/local/bin. – Avinash Raj Feb 15 '14 at 8:42
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    ln -s /home/$USER/julia/julia /usr/local/bin – Avinash Raj Feb 15 '14 at 8:46
  • OK, now I understand - I thought a softlink would include all the contents of the linked directory in my search, but instead it works more like a Microsoft 'shortcut' to create a 'copy' of the file or program in another place, which of course isn't a real copy but instead links back to the original and runs it. Thanks! – Thomas Moore Feb 16 '14 at 12:19
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I assume the executable julia is under ~/julia/ folder. Use the following command in terminal to make a softlink in /usr/local/bin,

sudo ln -s /home/<username>/julia/julia /usr/local/bin

Replace <username> with your actual username. Or,

sudo ln -s "$HOME"/julia/julia /usr/local/bin

Note: you need to use sudo to access /usr/local/bin as it is system directory.

Alternate User level Method (if you do not have root access)

You can create a folder $HOME/bin and put it in path, use the following commands in terminal,

cd
mkdir bin
echo "export PATH=\$HOME/bin:\$PATH" >> ~/.bashrc
. ~/.bashrc

Now create a softlink in $HOME/bin as,

ln -s "$HOME"/julia/julia "$HOME"/bin
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You can also just right click on the Julia file and navigate to Make Link then copy the newly created link to anywhere on your home directory.

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