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Re: Symlinks on Windows

From: Branko Čibej <brane_at_apache.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2018 11:37:42 +0100

On 02.11.2018 11:07, Albertsen, Ketil wrote:
> So where did this idea about “… working copies on systems such as
> Windows that do not support symlinks” come from?

It comes from a time when Windows did not support symlinks. However ...

> NTFS supports symlinks, and has supported it for many years.

... it's not so simple. Even though NTFS supports symlinks, there are
two problems:

  * Symlinks to files and symlinks to directories are different on
    Windows, whereas Unix doesn't care. Obviously Subversion doesn't
    know what the target of the symlink is supposed to be.
  * You need special permissions to create a symlink. You either have to
    be in Administrator mode, or — if the code is written differently —
    have the Development Mode turned on. The vast majority of users
    aren't able to create them.

And, of course, NTFS is not the only filesystem people can use,
Subversion would have to decide on a case-by-case basis if the
filesystem where the working copy is stored supports symbolic links.
This is, however, a minor problem compared to the other two.

> If my memory is correct, it wasn’t avialable in the CLI interface,
> cmd.exe, utntil long after the file system API provided it – but now
> we are talking history!

For the reasons mentioned above, supporting symbolic links on Windows is
a much more complex problem than you think. Even if we somehow solved
the file/directory link problem, adding a feature that requires special
permissions to use is a non-starter.

-- Brane

> *From:* Pavel Lyalyakin <pavel.lyalyakin_at_visualsvn.com>
> *Sent:* 1 November, 2018 17:49
> *To:* Bengt Nilsson <bengt.nilsson.external_at_veoneer.com>
> *Cc:* users_at_subversion.apache.org
> *Subject:* Re: Symlinks on Windows
> Hello,
> On Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 6:39 PM, Bengt Nilsson
> <bengt.nilsson.external_at_veoneer.com
> <mailto:bengt.nilsson.external_at_veoneer.com>> wrote:
> Hi!
> We have a SVN-server running on Windows and there we get problem
> with symlinks.
> If we put up a SVN-server on a Linux-server would that work better
> with the symlinks although  the clients (TortoiseSVN) are on Windows?
> Or do we have to have clients on Linux as well?
> Please, see SVNBook | Versioning Symbolic Links
> <http://svnbook.red-bean.com/en/1.8/svn.tour.cycle.html> (scroll down
> to the "Versioning Symbolic Links" section). Is this what you are
> asking about?
> If the answer is "yes", then the platform where the SVN server runs
> does not matter. You need the clients to be on Linux, but the server
> can be on Windows.
> --
> With best regards,
> Pavel Lyalyakin
> VisualSVN Team
Received on 2018-11-02 11:37:52 CET

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