Linux Filesystem Info

I was listening to the podcast ‘Linux Reality’ via iTunes while I was working late this week. There’s some great stuff for Linux noobs. I definitely still fall into that category. The episode on the Linux file system had a lot of info I don’t want to forget.

OSX seems to be similar to Linux as far as the file system goes, but it is certainly much easier to understand by the average person. If you have ever made it so that the Finder shows you all of the hidden files in OSX, you know that Apple hides a lot of folders and files from their users. I found it disappointing. OSX has an illusory feeling to me now. More like a satin sheet covering the gears and pistons of a very complex machine. I have always disliked how Windows hides things from its users, but now I realize that Apple simply does a better job of keeping the wizard’s curtain closed. Here’s a quick break down of a generic Linux file system:

  • bin : Binary
    • Some programs that are used by all users
  • dev : Device
    • A virtual directory that contains folders that represent your computer’s hardware
  • etc : Etcetera
    • Configuration settings for programs
  • home : Home
    • Directories that contain each user’s documents and preferences
  • lib : Library
    • Shared libraries used by some programs
  • mnt : Mount
    • media drives are represented here (sometimes a directory named ‘media’ is used instead)
  • opt : Optional
    • optional programs, testing programs, additional programs
  • proc : Processor
    • A virtual directory containing system hardware information
  • root : Root User Home
    • root user’s home directory
  • sbin : Secure Binary
    • programs used by administrative users
  • temp : Temporary
    • Temporary information is stored here. Temporary means for the duration of time between boots in most cases.
  • usr : Unix System Resources
    • Shared data, images, libraries and applications are found here. You will find program icons here for instance.
  • var : Variable Files or Data
    • log files, databases for websites, etc

The person responsible for the Linux Reality podcast is Chess Griffin. There are many episodes already available. Here’s his site: