namei - follow a pathname until a terminal point is found


namei [options] 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 p = FIFO (named pipe) - = 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.


-l, --long Use a long listing format (same as -m -o -v).
-m, --modes Show the mode bits of each file type in the style of ls(1), for example ’rwxr-xr-x’.
-o, --owners Show owner and group name of each file.
-n, --nosymlinks Don’t follow symlinks.
-v, --vertical Vertical align of modes and owners.
-x, --mountpoints Show mount point directories with a ’D’, rather than a ’d’.


The original namei program was written by Roger Southwick <>.

The program was re-written by Karel Zak <>.


To be discovered.


ls(1), stat(1)


The namei command is part of the util-linux-ng package and is available from

openSUSE Logo