Visible symlinks under Windows

Corinna Vinschen corinna at
Wed Feb 6 12:30:06 GMT 2008

On Feb  6 12:50, Volker Lendecke wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 06, 2008 at 12:27:07PM +0100, Corinna Vinschen wrote:
> > as Cygwin developer, it's sort of frustrating that there isn't a way to
> > identify symlinks on Samba shares from a Windows user space application
> > for what they really are.
> Well, why stop at symlinks? If you do those, why not the
> whole set of posix inode types like devices, sockets and
> other stuff also?

Sure, why not?  My first concern are symlinks because most devices
on the remote machine only make limited sense to a remote application.
Cygwin supports its own devices already and I'm not sure about the
gain of having access to the device information on remote devices.
That would have to be tested rather carefully.  Right now, if I access,
for instance, /dev/zero on the Samba box, I can access it from Cygwin
rather neatly like a file, without device knowledge.

Symlinks are somewhat different because they have the annoying feature
to be identical to the target they point to.  They have the same i-node
number, the same timestamps, the same of eveything, except for the name.

One problem with this I reported in

Another problem is that deleting a symlink pointing to an existing
directory from Windows explorer removes the files in the directory
first.  While we probably can't do anything about that, we could easily
do the "right thing"(tm) in Cygwin, or any other Windows application
willing to go the same way.

> This was the original purpose of the Unix extensions, but
> nobody at that point thought about using that stuff from
> Windows user space, so we carved our own number space in the
> protocol. As hardly anybody uses SMB EAs these days, I would
> say this could be a clever trick to pass information from
> Windows user space into smbd and vice versa.
> Jeremy, what do you think?
> Volker


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