GNU bug report logs - #33155
cp: copy from symlink -> to symlink?

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Package: coreutils; Severity: wishlist; Reported by: L A Walsh <coreutils@HIDDEN>; dated Thu, 25 Oct 2018 19:59:02 UTC; Maintainer for coreutils is bug-coreutils@HIDDEN.
Changed bug title to 'cp: copy from symlink -> to symlink?' from 'rfe? cp from symlink -> to symlink? cp symlink meta-info(target) with "-a"? (vs. no diagnostic)' Request was from Assaf Gordon <assafgordon@HIDDEN> to control <at> debbugs.gnu.org. Full text available.
Severity set to 'wishlist' from 'normal' Request was from Assaf Gordon <assafgordon@HIDDEN> to control <at> debbugs.gnu.org. Full text available.

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From: L A Walsh <coreutils@HIDDEN>
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Subject: rfe?  cp from symlink -> to symlink? cp symlink meta-info(target)
 with "-a"? (vs. no diagnostic)
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Created following test dir (as seen by tree) in /tmp
>  tree mybin
Ishtar:/tmp> tree mybin
mybin
=E2=94=9C=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 iptool -> alt-tool         #broken link
=E2=94=9C=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 iptool-restore -> iptool   #broken link
=E2=94=9C=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 iptool-save -> iptool      #broken link
=E2=94=94=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 usr
    =E2=94=94=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 mybin
        =E2=94=9C=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 alt-tool
        =E2=94=9C=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 iptool -> alt-tool
        =E2=94=9C=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 iptool-restore -> iptool
        =E2=94=9C=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 iptool-save -> iptool
        =E2=94=9C=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 junka
        =E2=94=9C=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 junkb
        =E2=94=94=E2=94=80=E2=94=80 junkc

3 directories, 9 files
----
So first I try copying iptool-save from mybin/usr/mybin to /tmp/mybin

Ishtar:/tmp/mybin/usr/mybin> cp --preserve=3Dall iptool-save /tmp/mybin/
cp: not writing through dangling symlink '/tmp/mybin/iptool-save'

   then try:
Ishtar:/tmp/mybin/usr/mybin> /bin/cp -r --preserve=3Dall -iptool-save=20
/tmp/mybin/
(and get no error message)

It seems to have _re_copied the link (time is updated on that link)
but it didn't recursively follow the link and copy the destination.
(nor with -a).  Why did it act as though I said "force" and recopy the
link (unexpected), but didn't recursively follow the link to its target?
(not entirely expected, but wanted).

Especially if I use '-a', shouldn't copying a symlink also copy the
material pointed to -- i.e. duplicated the symlink structure at the targe=
t?

One *could* consider the target file "metadata" of the symlink, so at lea=
st,
"-a" could cover that case.

It seems odd to silence the diagnostic with "-r" and "-a", but not
recursively follow the link...(I know traditionally -r has referred to
directory structure, but in this case it would be more important & useful
to copy the symlink structure -- ESPECIALLY, since the target symlink
does not exist.  Maybe only overwrite symlink target with "-af"?













Acknowledgement sent to L A Walsh <coreutils@HIDDEN>:
New bug report received and forwarded. Copy sent to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN. Full text available.
Report forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#33155; Package coreutils. Full text available.
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