Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 4th Nov 2010 22:40 UTC, submitted by rhyder
Linux "For a fairly scruffy looking guy, I have a surprisingly healthy approach to organising my files. However, I'm constantly pushing up against the limitations of a system that is based around directories. I'm convinced that Linux needs to make greater use of tagging, but I'm also beginning to wonder if desktop Linux could abandon the hierarchical directory structure entirely."
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RE[2]: To sum it up...
by Neolander on Fri 5th Nov 2010 18:49 UTC in reply to "RE: To sum it up..."
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Why symlinks? Why not just show the files themselves?

Because file indexer only has to create a lot of symlinks in the folder once, instead of having to do some database query every time you open the folder.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: To sum it up...
by phoenix on Fri 5th Nov 2010 19:26 in reply to "RE[2]: To sum it up..."
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Yes, but then the "file indexer" has to continually check that the symlinks are valid, and has to continually recreate them. And, anyone accessing the GUI will see the same icon (link) for all files, regardless of the type of file. And, if you rename the "file" in the search area, it doesn't rename the actual file. Plus, each symlink is a 0-byte file using up an inode, so each search you create can potentially run your system out of inodes, leading to "disk full" errors when you are using 10% of your disk.

Using symlinks is a band-aid that would be worse than the cut it covers.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: To sum it up...
by bogomipz on Sat 6th Nov 2010 11:44 in reply to "RE[3]: To sum it up..."
bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

You could also use hard links, which would be a technically better solution.

Yes, but then the "file indexer" has to continually check that the symlinks are valid, and has to continually recreate them.

Yes, the indexer must run continuously to create the links. As Neolander said, this is not all bad because it means the work is then done only once, and the "search" is zero cost.

And, anyone accessing the GUI will see the same icon (link) for all files, regardless of the type of file.

Not true. Most X11 file managers will show the correct file icon, but with a symlink overlay (a small arrow). Some let you turn off the overlay if you wish. Use hard links rather than symlinks, and this issue is gone for sure.

And, if you rename the "file" in the search area, it doesn't rename the actual file.

Aha, yes because you want the file to exist in multiple folders, not to have multiple names.

Like I mentioned in another post, one usability issue with hard links that need to be fixed is that you must traverse the directory tree to find links to the same file. If finding the links to an inode was fast, the file manager could easily let you 1) remove all hard links to a file 2) rename all hard links when you rename one of them.

Plus, each symlink is a 0-byte file using up an inode, so each search you create can potentially run your system out of inodes, leading to "disk full" errors when you are using 10% of your disk.

Not so with hard links.

Reply Parent Score: 2