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2.10 Traversing symlinks

The following options modify how chown and chgrp traverse a hierarchy when the --recursive (-R) option is also specified. If more than one of the following options is specified, only the final one takes effect. These options specify whether processing a symbolic link to a directory entails operating on just the symbolic link or on all files in the hierarchy rooted at that directory.

These options are independent of --dereference and --no-dereference (-h), which control whether to modify a symlink or its referent.

If --recursive (-R) is specified and a command line argument is a symbolic link to a directory, traverse it.
In a recursive traversal, traverse every symbolic link to a directory that is encountered.
Do not traverse any symbolic links. This is the default if none of -H, -L, or -P is specified.