In Unix-like operating systems such as Linux, everything is a file and a file is fundamentally a link to an inode (a data structure that stores everything about a file apart from its name and actual content). A hard link is a file that points to the same underlying inode, as another file. In case you delete one file, it removes one link to the underlying inode. Whereas a symbolic link (also known as soft link) is a link to another filename in the filesystem.
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