How would I go about creating a symlink that creates multiple links to one file?

I would like ~/Desktop/foo.txt to "appear" in multiple locations; and the following doesn't work:

ln -s ~/Desktop/foo.txt /location/one /location/two

6 Answers 6


Check the man page -- you can only specify one destination. You'll have to loop:

for destination in /location/one /location/two ...; do
    ln -s ~/Desktop/foo "$destination"

For reference, in order to copy .gpl colour palettes into the appropriate GIMP, Inkscape and LibreOffice directories I did this:

read -e -p "Enter filename: " file

for destination in ~/.config/libreoffice/4/user/config/ ~/.config/inkscape/palettes/ ~/.gimp-2.8/palettes/ ...; do
    ln --symbolic --backup --force "$file" "$destination"

Relatively simple python one-liner can do the job:

$ python -c 'import sys,os;map(lambda x:os.symlink(sys.argv[1],x),sys.argv[2:])' ~/input.txt ~/Desktop/input.txt ~/Pictures/input.txt
$ ls -l ~/Desktop/input.txt                                                                                              
lrwxrwxrwx 1 xieerqi xieerqi 23 2月   4 19:10 /home/xieerqi/Desktop/input.txt -> /home/xieerqi/input.txt

The way this works is simple. We use sys module for processing command-line arguments, and use symlink() function from os module. The map() function essentially is used as replacement for the for loop, which takes a function and list as argument. Here, the function is lambda x:os.symlink(sys.argv[1],x), and it will be executed for each item in sys.argv[2:] list.

Note, ~/input.txt is original file (referred to as sys.argv[1] , second command-line argument ), and ~/Desktop/input.txt and ~/Pictures/input.txt are resulting symlinks. They are arguments 2 and 3, thus we use sys.argv[2:] list slice starting from 3rd item till the end of list. You may be wondering , well , where is the first argument. That's -c flag.

A script form of the same thing would be

#!/usr/bin/env python
import sys,os
for item in sys.argv[2:]:

You need two commands.

ln -s Desktop/foo.txt location1; ln -s Desktop/foo.txt location2

try this:

ln -s /path/dir/{dir1,dir2,dir3} /path/destination

This example will create two links vi and view for the vim binary with verbose output.

$ for link in /usr/bin/{vi,view}; do ln -sv /usr/bin/vim $link; done;
'/usr/bin/vi' -> '/usr/bin/vim'
'/usr/bin/view' -> '/usr/bin/vim'

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