I'm currently setting up my new system (OS X) and trying to link ~/Git/ to /Library/WebServer/Documents/, so that I can access all my git repositories via However, that doesn't work as expected.

While I was able to symlink other directories:

ln -s / ~/Desktop/root
ln -s ~ ~/Desktop/home

it just doesn't want to work with my ~/Git directory:

sudo ln -s ~/Git /Library/WebServer/Documents/Git
ln -s ~/Git ~/Desktop/Git

The link is created, but it's telling me The operation can’t be completed because the original item for “Git” can’t be found. Wherever I place it, the behaviour is always the same. It also seems to be the same with other directories in my home directory (except for the home directory itself).

ls -l ~/Desktop
lrwxr-xr-x  1 user  staff   1 Jul  8 08:31 : -> /
lrwxr-xr-x  1 user  staff   4 Jul  9 12:50 Git -> /Users/user/Git
lrwxr-xr-x  1 user  staff  29 Jul  8 08:38 wwwroot -> /Library/WebServer/Documents/
lrwxr-xr-x  1 user  staff  19 Jul  8 08:31 ~ -> /Users/user

Normally (because the default shell on OSX is bash), tilde (~) is expanded to your home directory. That is documented in the Bash Reference Manual: Tilde Expansion.

However, your directory listing shows that you have created an entry "~" in your desktop, either by bypassing the default behavior (quoting, as mentioned in How to manually expand a special variable (ex: ~ tilde) in bash), or due to some error finding the actual home-directory. Since you say this is in any directory, it sounds as if (during the account creation), you have moved/renamed things, e.g., a different disk drive, so that bash finds no actual directory at the location where it should. So you get a literal "~".

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  • Uhm, to think of it now, I changed the language from German to English. After doing this, I noticed that OS X actually didn't rename the stuff in my home directory. So, when working with the shell, I can access it via the English directory names. However, when working with the Finder, everything is still shown in German. I haven't found the reason for this yet. Could this maybe be the problem? If so, how can I rename this stuff, so my Finder finds the actual directory? – Marcello Mönkemeyer Jul 9 '15 at 10:32
  • Nevermind, they're just symlinks I needed to rename... still working in the dark now. Everything is correctly named in English, and the shell does expand ~ to my home directory. Still, it doesn't find the source (which exists, though). It's driving me crazy right now... – Marcello Mönkemeyer Jul 9 '15 at 10:45
  • Okay, I fixed it. You were right: the guy who installed OS X for me did change and rename quite many things. I created a completely new user and it works now. Thank you for the essential hint. :) – Marcello Mönkemeyer Jul 9 '15 at 11:10

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