I'm trying to put together a small piece of software, and I wanted to know the appropriate place to put various items if I'm setting to use /usr/local.

For example, under /usr/local I will have:

bin etc lib

But what about variable data like logs? Does they still go to /var/log? It seems weird to pollute /var/log with something non-standard running out of /usr/local.

What about other input data that isn't considered runnable code? I noticed that some software uses /usr/local/PKG-NAME/ to store this kind of data.

Oh and I also have to put a lockfile somewhere.

1 Answer 1


Look at how other 3rd-party software does this on your system.

On OpenBSD, 3rd-party packages install under /usr/local but uses /var for variable data (since that's what /var is for). Some packages create /var/pkgname directories (like mysql) and some may create /var/log/pkgname (like ConsoleKit seems to do) depending on what type of data it needs to store under /var.

For private and local (small, datawise) projects, I see no real reason to not use /usr/local/var except with the important caveat that /, /usr or /usr/local (if these separate mount points from /var) may possibly fill up if the application produces huge datasets. If / fills up, this will possibly prevent the system from functioning properly (this is why /var is usually on its own filesystem). If /usr/local fills up, this will prevent installing further software.

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