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Re: cp -a not preserving timestamps on symlinks

From: Alan Ford
Subject: Re: cp -a not preserving timestamps on symlinks
Date: Tue, 27 May 2003 10:52:07 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.4i

On Mon, May 26, 2003 at 11:51:25PM -0600, Bob Proulx wrote:
> Alan Ford wrote:
> > I'm not sure if this is a bug or a limitation, but I'm reporting this
> > because I could find no mention of it in man pages etc.
> It is a kernel limitation.
> > When using cp -a, it doesn't preserve the timestamps of the symlinks.
> For kernel calls like stat(2) there is lstat(2).  But there is no
> lutime(2) equivalent for utime(2).  Therefore there is no way to
> change the times on a symlink.

OK, thanks. I was expecting it to be something like that.

I guess the chances of such a function ever being implemented is roughly
equivalent to a porcine aviation school opening down the street? :)

> But user, group, permissions, times, etc. of a symlink are completely
> cosmetic.  Which is why these have been ignored by the kernel.
> > This is very annoying for backup purposes.
> Hmm...  Not sure why.  Could you elaborate?

In one situation I work in, there is a bin directory that is full of 
hundreds of symlinks pointing to the places where the apps are actually
installed. Every year or so I end up moving this setup to a bigger hard 
disk, and it just annoys me to lose the history of when apps were linked
in, what recent changes were, etc. (I know I could follow the links, but
it's more inconvenient, and also not useful in some of the situations).

Thanks for the reply, anyway.

Alan Ford * address@hidden 

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