ln is another magic toy from coreutils, which is where all the good stuff is in Linux.
ln creates links, which you can use to make cool stuff happen.
I don’t use a hefty lot of links in my personal directory, but I can tell you about a few times when I’ve used
ln for fun and profit.
For example, I don’t use an automounting daemon or a desktop environment that will automatically mount drives or volumes.
Instead, I include them in /etc/fstab, and mount them to /media, like a true Internet superhero.
To save myself time typing out the path to the mountpoint, I use
ln -s /media/sdb1
from my home directory, which creates the symbolic link locally, for convenience. Best of all, I can issue the mount command directly, and it works fine.
I also use
ln to point to the most recent version of some financial files. I have some spreadsheets that increment on a monthly basis, but retain the date as part of the filename.
This makes them a little cumbersome to load, even with tab completion.
2013-07-01-finances.sc 2013-08-01-finances.sc 2013-09-01-finances.sc
Rather than type out the date each time or fumble through tab completion to get the right month and day, I make a new link with
ln whenever the newest file is created.
ln -s /home/kmandla/data/2013-10-01-finances.sc /home/kmandla/data/finances
Now I can open that link from within an application and the correct file bounces into view.
ln is good fun and there are a lot of other nifty tricks you can do with it. It’s worth experimenting with this, and in some cases it might be preferable to use a link over a fast directory switcher (like j2 or fasd), if your needs just aren’t that great.