Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Finder aliases in Unix

From: Unix for Mac OS X Users

Video: Finder aliases in Unix

Over the course of the next several movies I want to take a look at how to work with links in Unix. Conceptually, links are similar to file aliases that you create in the Mac OS X Finder. You may already be familiar with those, but they're not the same thing and it's important for us to understand the differences between them. We'll start by taking a look at the way that the Mac OS X Finder aliases work. And to begin with, let's just create a simple file. So notice that I am already inside my unix_files directory and I'll create a new file. I'll call it linkedfile.txt and in it, I'll just put some sample text, Link test.

Finder aliases in Unix

Over the course of the next several movies I want to take a look at how to work with links in Unix. Conceptually, links are similar to file aliases that you create in the Mac OS X Finder. You may already be familiar with those, but they're not the same thing and it's important for us to understand the differences between them. We'll start by taking a look at the way that the Mac OS X Finder aliases work. And to begin with, let's just create a simple file. So notice that I am already inside my unix_files directory and I'll create a new file. I'll call it linkedfile.txt and in it, I'll just put some sample text, Link test.

Ctrl+X to exit, yes to save the changes, and return to accept the name that it wanted to give me. Now if we do ls -la, we can see that file we just created right here. Notice that the size of the file is 10. That's because there are just ten characters in it. That's what it's storing and keeping track of, and it's just a normal regular file here. That's what this dash at the beginning indicates. Pay attention to those as we look at all these example, because they will change between the different options that we are going to look at. Now let's create an aliases to it in the Finder. This is not in Unix, this is in the Mac OS X Finder.

We find the file inside unix_file, here is linkedfile.txt, and then we can create an alias in a couple of ways. From the File menu, we can select Make Alias or we can use the Command+L shortcut that you see there, or we can actually Option+Command+Drag the file and it'll create an alias that way. I am just going to choose the File menu item and I am going to rename this file as well to be alias_to_linkedfile, okay. Notice that it has an arrow on the icon to indicate that's it's an alias. That's an indication in the Finder that if we were to double-click on this file it would act as if it were opening the original file.

It would find that original and open that file up. Now, there's a couple of important points about the way that the Finder aliases work. First if the file or the alias moves it still points to the file. The alias still points to the file, no matter where we relocate the two of them in the file system. The Finder will help make sure that the two can always find each other. And if the file is deleted, then the alias will break, because the alias will still be sitting there but when we double-click on it, it will try go and find the original file. But the original file is now gone so it can't open it up.

So the alias essentially still sits there as a dead end. We can also make aliases of folders as well. So if we click on test1 and we pick Make Alias, it will make and alias for that as well, and I'll just rename that alias_ to_test1, and I will pop back up to the top. Now, lets take a look at these in Unix. So ls -la, I'll just clear my screen first. So take a look at each of these. Notice that both of them have much larger file sizes. This one right here is significantly larger. They both also are just regular files. Notice the dash at the beginning.

So that just lets us know that they're just regular files that point to these other ones. So what's in these files that makes them be so large? Well, that's the information that the Finder is using to be able to keep track of these things. So that as the two move around in the file system, it has all the information it needs to be able to locate that file. That's what's inside there. So on the Finder side, if we were to double-click on alias_to_test1, it opens test1 for us. If we click alias_to_linkedfile, you see that it opens up for us.

But on the Unix side, that's not the case. Lets try opening up the file in our text editor. nano alias_to_linkedfile. Well, look what we get back. All sorts of information that Finder is using, but it did not actually use the file. It did not alias the original file. And if we do cd alias_to_test1 and try and change directory, it says oops, that's not a directory. We can't change directory into that. That's a file. So these files are very useful to the Finder and for the Finder to do its thing, but they are useless to us outside of the Finder.

They are really for the Finder and they do their job very well, for the Finder. But in Unix, these kind of aliases are useless. Instead what we are going to need to use in Unix is Unix version of aliases which are called links.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Unix for Mac OS X Users
Unix for Mac OS X Users

82 video lessons · 25403 viewers

Kevin Skoglund
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 57s
    1. Introduction
      1m 14s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 43s
  2. 32m 2s
    1. What is Unix?
      7m 27s
    2. The terminal application
      4m 23s
    3. Logging in and using the command prompt
      5m 19s
    4. Command structure
      5m 22s
    5. Kernel and shells
      5m 25s
    6. Unix manual pages
      4m 6s
  3. 15m 58s
    1. The working directory
      2m 49s
    2. Listing files and directories
      3m 59s
    3. Moving around the filesystem
      4m 58s
    4. Filesystem organization
      4m 12s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. Naming files
      5m 41s
    2. Creating files
      2m 19s
    3. Unix text editors
      6m 39s
    4. Reading files
      5m 35s
    5. Reading portions of files
      3m 27s
    6. Creating directories
      2m 40s
    7. Moving and renaming files and directories
      8m 32s
    8. Copying files and directories
      3m 7s
    9. Deleting files and directories
      3m 38s
    10. Finder aliases in Unix
      4m 10s
    11. Hard links
      5m 30s
    12. Symbolic links
      6m 36s
    13. Searching for files and directories
      6m 32s
  5. 34m 58s
    1. Who am I?
      4m 3s
    2. Unix groups
      1m 52s
    3. File and directory ownership
      6m 41s
    4. File and directory permissions
      4m 27s
    5. Setting permissions using alpha notation
      6m 49s
    6. Setting permissions using octal notation
      3m 49s
    7. The root user
      1m 57s
    8. sudo and sudoers
      5m 20s
  6. 52m 34s
    1. Command basics
      4m 4s
    2. The PATH variable
      4m 13s
    3. System information commands
      3m 40s
    4. Disk information commands
      6m 8s
    5. Viewing processes
      5m 0s
    6. Monitoring processes
      3m 36s
    7. Stopping processes
      3m 19s
    8. Text file helpers
      6m 50s
    9. Utility programs
      7m 28s
    10. Using the command history
      8m 16s
  7. 20m 39s
    1. Standard input and standard output
      1m 24s
    2. Directing output to a file
      4m 13s
    3. Appending to a file
      2m 44s
    4. Directing input from a file
      5m 28s
    5. Piping output to input
      4m 40s
    6. Suppressing output
      2m 10s
  8. 41m 28s
    1. Profile, login, and resource files
      9m 11s
    2. Setting command aliases
      6m 59s
    3. Setting and exporting environment variables
      4m 54s
    4. Setting the PATH variable
      6m 10s
    5. Configuring history with variables
      6m 17s
    6. Customizing the command prompt
      6m 5s
    7. Logout file
      1m 52s
  9. 1h 25m
    1. grep: Searching for matching expressions
      5m 21s
    2. grep: Multiple files, other input
      4m 28s
    3. grep: Coloring matched text
      2m 57s
    4. Introduction to regular expressions
      3m 22s
    5. Regular expressions: Basic syntax
      3m 19s
    6. Using regular expressions with grep
      5m 20s
    7. tr: Translating characters
      8m 17s
    8. tr: Deleting and squeezing characters
      5m 30s
    9. sed: Stream editor
      7m 45s
    10. sed: Regular expressions and back-references
      7m 8s
    11. cut: Cutting select text portions
      7m 42s
    12. diff: Comparing files
      4m 35s
    13. diff: Alternative formats
      4m 30s
    14. xargs: Passing argument lists to commands
      7m 25s
    15. xargs: Usage examples
      7m 59s
  10. 42m 25s
    1. Finder integration
      4m 45s
    2. Clipboard integration
      5m 5s
    3. Screen capture
      3m 42s
    4. Shut down, reboot, and sleep
      3m 34s
    5. Text to speech
      2m 36s
    6. Spotlight integration: Searching metadata
      3m 41s
    7. Spotlight integration: Metadata attributes
      4m 24s
    8. Using AppleScript
      5m 23s
    9. System configurations: Viewing and setting
      5m 51s
    10. System configurations: Examples
      3m 24s
  11. 1m 26s
    1. Conclusion
      1m 26s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Unix for Mac OS X Users.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.