Linux system directories

Depending on your Linux Distro , e.g. Suse,RedHat,Fedora,Ubuntu,Debian the structure of system directories may vary.

In the below lists we explain shortly and in general what every directory stands for.

Briefly, Linux contains five filesystems. These filesystems can reside on a single or different physical hard drives and/or hard drive partitions, depending on the size and need of your system. (A single filesystem can also be distributed between different physical devices, if needed.)

The root "/" filesystem-- contains basic operating system and maintenance tools. The content of this filesystem should be sufficient to start up the system and perform emergency maintenance and repairs if they were necessary.

/usr filesystem--contains all commands, libraries, documentation, and other files that do not change during normal operation. This will also contain major applications, perhaps the ones that come with your distribution, for example Netscape.

/var filesystem--contains files that change: spool directories, log files, lock files, temporary files, and formatted manual pages.
/home filesystem--contains user files (users’ own settings, customization files, documents, data, mail, caches, etc).
/proc filesystem--contains entirely illusionary files. They don’t really exist on the disk and don’t take any space there (although ls -l will show their size). When viewing them, you really access information stored in memory. It is used to access information about the system.

The parts of the root filesystem are:

/bin--commands needed during bootup that might be used by normal users.
/sbin--commands not intended for use by general users (users may still use them).
/etc--system-wide configuration files for your operating system.
/root--the home directory of the system administrator (called super-user or root).
/dev--device files. Devices appear on Linux as files so it is easy to write to them.
/mnt--mount points for removable media (floppy, cdrom, zipdrive), partitions of other operatingsystems (like dos), network shares, and anything else that is mounted on the file system temporarily. It normally contains subdirectories for the mounting shares.
/lib--shared libraries for programs that reside on the root filesystem.
/boot--files used by LILO (a bootstrap loader, the thing that loads first when the computer is booted and perhaps gives you an option which operating system to boot, if you have more than one OS on your computer). It typically also contains the Linux kernel, but this can be stored somewhereelse, if only LILO is configured to know where it is.
/opt--optional large applications, for example kde under RedHat 5.2 (under RedHat 6.0, kde is distributed as any other X-windows distribution, main executables are in the /usr/bin directory).
/tmp--temporary files. This directory may clean automatically.
/lost+found--files recovered during the filesystem repair.

Posted on: 14/12/2009

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