I found that using the command sudo mount –bind olddir newdir gets me out of trouble. If you don’t have root access then this won’t work for you. See mount --help or man mount for some more info on binding but it basically mounts one directory on top of another so it has the same affect as a symlink but it gets around tomcat’s limitation with symlinks.

More precisely, executes the following command:

sudo mount --bind /path/to/your/app /var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/myapp

and then the /var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/myapp will be linked to /path/to/your/app.