The layout of the directory hierarchy — questions like “where does this file belong?” or “what is this directory for?”.

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15
votes
1answer
5k views

Where should a local executable be placed?

I have an executable for the perforce version control client (p4). I can't place it in /opt/local because I don't have root privileges. Is there a standard location where it needs to be placed under ...
80
votes
17answers
11k views

Where should I put software I compile myself?

I need to compile some software on my Fedora machine. Where's the best place to put it so not to interfere with the packaged software?
320
votes
3answers
108k views

What is the purpose of the lost+found folder in Linux and Unix?

There is a folder at the root of Linux and Unix operating systems called /lost+found/ What is it for? Under what circumstances would I interact with it? How would I interact with it?
6
votes
3answers
446 views

When you type “ls -a”, what is the significance of “.” and “..”?

Whenever you type ls -a into the command prompt, you usually get all of your folders, files, and then you see that the first two entries are . and .. Just curious, but what is the significance of ...
30
votes
5answers
5k views

Why do /usr and /tmp directories for Linux miss vowels in their spellings?

I have often started to think about this but never found a good answer. Why are these two Unix directories not /user and /temp instead? All the other directories under root seem to be exactly what ...
63
votes
8answers
38k views

What does etc stand for?

What does the "etc" folder in the root directory stand for? I think knowing this will help me remember where certain files are located. Update: Might be useful for others, the folder is used for ...
55
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does '/' have an '..' entry?

This just baffles me. Why does the root directory contain a reference to a parent directory? bob@bob:/$ ls -a . build home lib32 mnt .rpmdb sys vmlinuz .. cdrom ...
51
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I know where to put things in linux?

Installing something in windows takes a click of a button. But every time I try to install something in linux, which is not found in APT, I get so confused. You download a zipped folder, then what? ...
7
votes
2answers
993 views

How can I copy a subset of files from a directory while preserving the folder structure?

I want to move some subset of files from dirA to dirB (let's say files with "blah" in the filename), but I want all the nested directories to be the same in the new location. How can I do that?
1
vote
1answer
122 views

What is the “~/” directory?

I'm trying to locate where some files are stored and I can easily browse to them via ssh by going to "cd ~/foldername", however, I have no idea what directory "~/" actually is. When I browse around ...
91
votes
5answers
32k views

What is the difference between /opt and /usr/local?

According to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, /opt is for "the installation of add-on application software packages". /usr/local is "for use by the system administrator when installing software ...
37
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the difference between /tmp and /var/tmp?

On most FHS systems, there is a /tmp folder as well as a /var/tmp folder. What is the functional difference between the two?
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the linux directory structure obsolete and obtuse? [closed]

I genuinely feel that the Linux directory system presents an obstacle for users migrating from other systems as well as being a bottleneck for the evolution of Linux itself. Rest assured I am not here ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the advantages of the Unix file system structure

If I install an application in Linux for example Debian/Gnu Linux, the files of the applications are copied to many different directories in the file system. Some scripts goes into /usr/share .. ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Should /usr and /home be on different partitions?

In studying for the lcpi exam, I met the following statement. If multiple disks are available it is good practice to also have the /usr and /home directories on different partitions. ...
3
votes
1answer
327 views

How does the Linux file structure work?

I see the different folders bin, dev, mnt, proc, srv, sys, etc. What are the properties of all these different folders? What are there purposes? Are there files in some of them that I should not ...
5
votes
2answers
948 views

What's the difference between /etc/rc.d/rc*.d and /etc/rc*.d

I know that rc*.d directories are used at startup, or reboot, or so on time, for starting or stopping programs. Can anybody explain me what's the difference between the rc*.d folders placed under the ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Into which directory should I install programs in Linux?

I want to install a program in Linux and run it as a daemon. (Team Speak 3 in this case, but the question is general in nature). There is no package provided, only tarred binaries. Where in directory ...
2
votes
2answers
52 views

Where do I put my systemd unit file on Arch Linux?

Sometimes these things can be hard for first-timers. Being a do-it-myself person, I read that there are two folders for unit files (not in user mode). /usr/lib/systemd/system/: units provided by ...
2
votes
2answers
61 views

Who should own files shared by a group and where should they go

I am configuring a Linux work station that will be used by a small number of users (20-30). These users will belong to a small set of groups (5-10) with each user belonging to at least one group and ...
1
vote
2answers
68 views

Public, Non-Root Access to file system?

I'm trying to structure an android project for continuous integration/continuous delivery via gradle and git. The main code will be pulled from git on the build server without various files that ...
1
vote
3answers
255 views

mysql database no space available

I was restoring a 200 GB database into a newly installed RHEL machine. However, while restoring I ran into no space available issue. Is it possible to change the directory where the databases are ...
75
votes
12answers
6k views

Why is Linux's filesystem designed as a single directory tree?

Can anyone explain why Linux is designed as a single directory tree? Whereas in Windows we can have multiple drives like C:\, and D:\, there is a single root in Unix. Any specific reason there?
78
votes
3answers
13k views

Why is the root directory denoted by a / sign?

I have done some research about this on Google, but the results were cloudy. Why is the / sign used to denote the root directory. Are there any solid reasons behind it?
59
votes
7answers
21k views

What is the Linux equivalent to C:\Program Files?

I understand that in Windows as well as Linux and Unix, a program|application|software can be installed in any directory. Also if packages are installed using the distribution's packaging system, ...
20
votes
5answers
24k views

Find the total size of certain files within a directory branch

Assume there's an image storage directory, say, ./photos/john_doe, within which there are multiple subdirectories, where many certain files reside (say, *.jpg). How can I calculate a summary size of ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

Standard and/or common directories on Unix/Linux OSes

Coming from the Windows world, I have found the majority of the folder directory names to be quite intuitive: \Program Files contains files used by programs (surprise!) \Program Files (x86) contains ...
5
votes
3answers
12k views

Adding to path vs. linking from /bin

Our sys admin installed a software application (Maven) on the server and told everyone to add the /usr/local/maven/bin/ folder to their path. I think it could be more convenient to just link the few ...
34
votes
2answers
12k views

What is this new /run filesystem?

I just ran df -h a minute ago and noticed a filesystem has been added that I'm not familiar with. Does anyone know why /run exists? Is this something that's been added by the kernel? By Arch Linux? ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

How does the Linux file system/organization differ from Windows?

One of the things that really slows me down in catching on with Linux is the huge difference between the file system in Linux versus Windows. Up until the last 3-4 years I only used Windows systems ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

How to copy only matching files, preserving subdirectories

Is there a way to do this: "How can I copy a subset of files from a directory while preserving the folder structure?", but without using rsync? Is it possible to be done using only cp, find and grep? ...
4
votes
1answer
998 views

How to utilize XDG directories and paths in Bash?

I wonder how to access not only the variables defined in ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs with xdg-user-dir, e.g. "$(xdg-user-dir VIDEOS)", but also the following standard variables: ...
13
votes
1answer
9k views

Difference between lib, lib32, lib64, libx32, and libexec

My 64 bit Ubuntu 13.04 system has the following directories in /: lib lib32 lib64 libx32 libexec In the /usr directory there is: lib lib32 libx32 libexec This seemed like something that could be ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

What's so special about directories whose names begin with a dot?

I was wondering what the difference between these two were: ~/somedirectory/file.txt and ~/.somedirectory/file.txt It's really difficult to ask this on Google since I didn't know how to explain ...
7
votes
2answers
845 views

What's the origin of rc, rc.d, share, proc in Linux?

I don't think I am a newbie at all, but I still can't figure out many abbreviations' origin like rc, rc.d, share, proc... I've heard someone says rc is "run command", .d is directory, but I'm not ...
3
votes
2answers
275 views

Where should I copy-paste-install software to?

I'm installing IntelliJ, and the readme tells me to choose an installation folder. Where is a good, standard place to put installed programs?
2
votes
2answers
333 views

How to determine whether a linux filesystem belongs to a running system or not

I need to write a program that receives a block device as input, like /dev/sda1, and has to perform a set of operations depending on if the filesystem inside are currently running or not. We'll ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

how to have find on a directory with a changing pattern?

I have a folder structure like this: /domains/some-domain-1/applications/j2ee-apps /domains/some-domain-2/applications/j2ee-apps /domains/some-domain-3/applications/j2ee-apps What is the best way ...
-2
votes
1answer
697 views

“Clean” Filesystem Hierarchy

The Linux filesystem hierarchy is full of unused folders that only exist for historical reasons. Do any distros install with only the directories that are actually used?
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How does /dev/fd relate to /proc/self/fd/?

$ ls -l /dev/stdin /dev/fd/0 lrwx------ 1 tim tim 64 2011-08-07 09:53 /dev/fd/0 -> /dev/pts/2 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 15 2011-08-06 08:14 /dev/stdin -> /proc/self/fd/0 $ ls -l /dev/pts/2 ...
5
votes
2answers
162 views

Why does a grep reboot the machine?

On a RHEL 6.5 Desktop, if I use: sudo grep -r foo /* my desktop reboots. Q: Why?? How to debug this? It's the third time my Desktop reboots because of this :D
4
votes
1answer
74 views

Where to store shared data in FHS 3.0?

I'm working on a FHS2-conforming application that used to store data in $sharedstatedir (i.e. $(prefix)/com, e.g. /usr/local/com). This directory is no more in FHS 3.0, and it seems that we need to ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Why can I only run a .sh file from the parent directory, not the child directory

I am a Linux noob. I noticed that this does not work: /tomcatDirectory/bin $ startup.sh //command not found but this does work /tomcatDirectory $ bin/startup.sh I am used to Windows. It seems ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What directories/file permissions should i ensure are set?

I have a similar question about default software configuration. For this question i would like to ask What directories/file permissions should i ensure are set? Aprrently Is it normal to get ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Where to locate “sockets”

I am new to this, so sorry if its obvious. I am running a Debian server and installing the likes of UWSGI, NGinx etc on there. The configurations keep talking about pointing to "sockets". In the ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Looping over directory entries in bash and saving to an array

(See update at the foot of the question). This is a followup question to "Make directory copies using find". This question involved manipulating a bunch of directories, This got too complicated to ...
-2
votes
3answers
62 views

Is there a designated place for scripts that are (indirectly) automatically executed by systemd?

Arch Linux Question (or any OS that uses systemd to manage processes and follows the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard by the Linux Foundation) I recently asked where to but a systemd unit file: Where ...