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8.2 Truenames and other dangers

One great innovation of the original ASDF was its ability to leverage CL:TRUENAME to locate where your source code was and where to build it, allowing for symlink farms as a simple but effective configuration mechanism that is easy to control programmatically. ASDF 3 still supports this configuration style, and it is enabled by default; however we recommend you instead use our source-registry configuration mechanism described below, because it is easier to setup in a portable way across users and implementations.

Additionally, some people dislike truename, either because it is very slow on their system, or because they are using content-addressed storage where the truename of a file is related to a digest of its individual contents, and not to other files in the same intended project. For these people, ASDF 3 allows to eschew the TRUENAME mechanism, by setting the variable asdf:*resolve-symlinks* to nil.

PS: Yes, if you haven’t read Vernor Vinge’s short but great classic “True Names... and Other Dangers” then you’re in for a treat.