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namei - follow a pathname until a terminal point is found


namei [-mx] pathname [ pathname ... ]


Namei uses its arguments as pathnames to any type of Unix file (symlinks, files, directories, and so forth). Namei then follows each pathname until a terminal point is found (a file, directory, char device, etc). If it finds a symbolic link, we show the link, and start following it, indenting the output to show the context.

This program is useful for finding a “too many levels of symbolic links” problems.

For each line output, namei outputs a the following characters to identify the file types found:

f: = the pathname we are currently trying to resolve d = directory
l = symbolic link (both the link and it’s contents are output) s = socket
b = block device
c = character device
- = regular file
? = an error of some kind

Namei prints an informative message when the maximum number of symbolic links this system can have has been exceeded.


Show mount point directories with a ‘D’, rather than a ‘d’.

Show the mode bits of each file type in the style of ls(1) , for example ‘rwxr-xr-x’.


Roger Southwick (


To be discovered.


Namei will follow an infinite loop of symbolic links forever. To escape, use SIGINT (usually ^C).

See Also

ls(1) , stat(1)

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