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I'm a long-time Windows user in the middle of a multi-year personal migration to Linux-based development. On Windows when I installed an application it got put in the Program Files folder and I'd have the app store the files that I create while using the app in a separate data folder hierarchy that I could back up regularly.

What are the corresponding folders/directories in Linux (OK, I'm really running on a Mac)?

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Mac does things slightly differently from Linux, like their /Applications directory. For learning about general Linux file system organization, take a look at the FHS. – jw013 Aug 28 '12 at 20:37
Sorry - my bad for being unclear. I'm talking about generic Linux apps like apache tools and downloads (hadoop, cassandra, pig, etc as specific examples). I do understand about the /Applications folder for Mac-specific stuff. thx – Chris Gerken Aug 28 '12 at 20:42
up vote 11 down vote accepted

For Linux, the Linux Standard Base describes the filesystem layout and where and how applications and their data are installed.

The LSB references the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (even though it's terribly out of date) for most items in the filesystem.

As a practical matter, you will find that most applications have their program binaries installed in /usr/bin, their libraries installed in /usr/lib or /usr/lib64, their shared application data in /usr/share and their machine-specific application data in /var/lib.

These directories are where the system installs applications.

User-installed applications may be placed under /usr/local, the conventions for which mirror those for /usr, or in directories under /opt which slightly resembles Mac OS X's /Applications folder, in which each application has a folder directly underneath, and in that folder the directories typically mirror those found under /usr.

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Thanks. That's what I was looking for. – Chris Gerken Aug 28 '12 at 23:22
And there is /var/lib/PROGRAMNAME... – Nils Aug 29 '12 at 21:01

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