Symlinks support status?

Matt Mackall mpm at
Mon Nov 5 16:56:12 CST 2007

On Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 11:31:45PM +0200, Dov Feldstern wrote:
> >Symlinks are nice, but by no means essential (as evidenced by the
> >numerous filesystems and operating systems that get by just fine
> >without them). Mercurial supports them (grudgingly) but there's no
> >reason a build environment can't get by without them either. Going to
> >Herculean lengths to emulate them (poorly) on systems where they're
> >not supported is not likely to happen.
> >
> Err, I beg to differ about the "get by just fine without them" part. I 
> hate every minute that I have to, unfortunately, work on Windows --- 
> although arguably, symlinks is only a minor --- though not negligible 
> --- factor in that... ;)

Well people seem to be happy enough with OS X (and their pre-UNIX
offerings too), where the average user is never exposed to a symlink.

> Seriously, though, I don't think that you need to take such a grudging 
> view of the symlinks support you've added. It's a nice feature to have, 
> and I, at least, thank you for it!

As someone building a cross-platform tool, supporting any deviation
from the lowest common denominator tends to be a major nuisance. Exec
bits, braindead case handling, and symlinks are about the limit of
what it's reasonable to support.

Mathematics is the supreme nostalgia of our time.

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