Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I use both Mac OS X an Ubuntu on two different, synced computers. On my Mac I often use aliases (not in the bash sense, in the Command-L sense) to link to files on my computer. Is there a way to do this compatibly with Ubuntu?

Very specifically, I would like some way (outside of a terminal) to make a link to another file (that I can click on) which works in Mac OS X and Ubuntu, that I can make in either system.

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Use the bash sense (ln -s). You create a unix symbolic link, handled as such in Ubuntu and displayed in Finder as a Mac alias.

You will have to use Terminal though.

share|improve this answer
You don't need the terminal: in gnome, Alt+drag/drop will give you a menu, with the possibility to "Link here", which will create a symbolic link. – Peltier Sep 8 '09 at 13:13
@Peltier - On the Mac side you would need to use the Terminal – Chealion Sep 8 '09 at 16:21
Of note, a symbolic link will not be followed in the Finder unless you have specified the full path. eg. ln -s ~/Dropbox/CoolFiles /Users/Chealion/Documents/CoolFiles – Chealion Sep 8 '09 at 16:22

Finder creates aliases, "ln -s" creates symbolic links; this are different concepts (for example if the original is moved the alias will follow but the symbolic link does not.

However there are ways to create a symbolic link via the Finder, too. One would be an Apple Script (, another would be a tool called SymbolicLinker (htttp://

I haven't tested these solutions myself, so be careful and check for yourself.

share|improve this answer

In Ubuntu, start dragging something from the destination, hold Alt, drop it on the destination. A menu comes up, choose link. This will make a symbolic link (just like ln -s would). These are slightly different from Aliases (ext3 lacks the feature that allows OSX's aliases to follow moved files, for example) but should do what you want.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.