Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Click here to return to the '"Old" symlinks? Aliases are so old they are rancid...' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
"Old" symlinks? Aliases are so old they are rancid...
Authored by: rcfa on Aug 12, '08 11:15:05AM

Obviously symlinks work better. Symlinks are the real thing, aliases are some strange Mac OS Classic left-overs.

Symlinks are handled at the file system level, i.e. they are transparent to all apps, aliases must be resolved at the application level.

The only thing that breaks symlinks is Apple's brain-damaged preferences scheme where Apple writes all paths containing symlinks EXPANDED instead of keeping the logical path intact, which would be required for symlinks to do their work properly, i.e. allowing the user to point the symlink elsewhere and things continuing to work.

example: you move your home folder to another drive, thus /Users/me points to /Volumes/USBStick/me and later you decide to move me from /Volumes/USBStick/me to /Volumes/SuperLargeHD/me and change the symlink accordingly, then lots of Apple software will break because it expands e.g. something like /Users/me/Library/Mail into /Volumes/USBStick/me/Library/Mail which will no longer be found. If Apple wouldn't expand paths, then it would store in Preferences /Users/me/Library/Mail which would then be expanded as needed when the file/folder is accessed.

99% of issues with symlinks are due to this IMO faulty behavior in Apple's preferences system. Symlinks are well superior to aliases, because they behave in a very simple and predictable way and don't need any code at the application level to deal with them.

[ Reply to This | # ]
"Old" symlinks? Aliases are so old they are rancid...
Authored by: tatilsever on Aug 12, '08 11:59:24AM

I also preferred to use symbolic links when I first switched to Mac, as I was already familiar with them from my UNIX or Linux experience. I don't know how exactly aliases work, but I noticed that aliases keep track of the destination, so for example if I move the destination folder, I don't have to manually update the symbolic link. That is a big advantage.

[ Reply to This | # ]
"Old" symlinks? Aliases are so old they are rancid...
Authored by: osxpounder on Aug 14, '08 08:16:45PM

I like it when aliases work even after I've moved the destination folder, but it doesn't always happen, so I've gotten out of the habit of trusting it. I don't why it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.

[ Reply to This | # ]