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Link behavior
Authored by: lullabud on Aug 15, '12 08:16:24AM

I use links extensively with dropbox. They are very useful, but it's important to understand how they work.

Symlinks will work exactly like you had copied the folder into your dropbox. If you modify a file, such as edit the exif or id3 data, it will be modified on all computers. This means that if you share a folder via symlink with somebody, and they delete those files, they delete *your* files. Beware of that. This option is best used for synchronization across computers, not sharing.

Hard links, however, do not function this way, and still save disk space. If you hard link a file into dropbox, whenever it is edited in its dropbox location by any computer, that link is broken and the original file stays the same. If the dropbox versions are deleted, the original hard linked copy stays on the disk. This makes hard links much more useful for sharing, but not useful for synchronization across computers. Unfortunately you can't hard-link a folder, so you have to resort to things like gnu cp or rsync --link-dest to make a tree of hard linked files.


And remember the safety net that dropbox provides. Don't be scared to try it out, you can go back within the last 30 days and download your old versions from your dropbox history if something goes wrong. :)



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