Java 1.6 – determine symbolic links

The technique used in Apache Commons uses the canonical path to the parent directory, not the file itself. I don’t think that you can guarantee that a mismatch is due to a symbolic link, but it’s a good indication that the file needs special treatment.

This is Apache code (subject to their license), modified for compactness.

public static boolean isSymlink(File file) throws IOException {
  if (file == null)
    throw new NullPointerException("File must not be null");
  File canon;
  if (file.getParent() == null) {
    canon = file;
  } else {
    File canonDir = file.getParentFile().getCanonicalFile();
    canon = new File(canonDir, file.getName());
  return !canon.getCanonicalFile().equals(canon.getAbsoluteFile());

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