Under linux, I launch a software by typing, e.g., fluidplot. How can I find the installation path for this software?

  • Possible duplicate of 18472 – sakisk Aug 25 '11 at 12:51

You can use:

which fluidpoint

to see where it is executing from (if it's in your $PATH). Or:

find / -name fluidpoint 2> /dev/null

to look for a file named fluipoint and redirect errors on virtual filesystems.

Usually they are in /sbin, /usr/sbin, /usr/local/bin or ~ as a hidden directory.

From Manual:

       which - shows the full path of (shell) commands.

       which [options] [--] programname [...]

Full manual: https://linux.die.net/man/1/which

  • 4
    or check to see if the program is actually an alias, e.g. alias fluidpoint, – Chad Feller Aug 25 '11 at 2:56
  • 2
    @Chad Some versions of which (e.g. the one built in to ZSH) will do that for you – Michael Mrozek Aug 25 '11 at 3:32
  • @Michael excellent to know. Because of your comment, I just discovered that newer versions of bash also do this. +1 to your comment. – Chad Feller Aug 25 '11 at 4:06
  • The "Usually they are ..." line is pretty disingenuous, additional software should be in /opt/* or /usr/local/bin. ~ is your home directory, I'm confused why you call it "hidden". – Steve-o Aug 25 '11 at 5:24
  • Sorry to be ambiguous, I mean ~/.dir. The hidden directory is below the home directory. And I completely forgot about /usr/local/bin dop. – n0pe Aug 25 '11 at 5:35

If you use an RPM based distribution (CentOS, RHEL, SUSE, openSUSE) you can use rpm -ql


rpm -ql findutils

Things aren't installed to locations in the Linux/UNIX world like they are in the Windows (and even somewhat in the Mac) world. They are more distributed. Binaries are in /bin or /sbin, libraries are in /lib, icons/graphics/docs are in /share, configuration is in /etc and program data is in /var.

The /bin,/lib,/sbin contain the core applications needed for booting and the /usr contains all the other user and system applications.


The whereis command locates the binary, source, and manual-page files for a command, and the type command tells what exactly the shell executes when you run a certain command.

Try whereis -l fluidplot in your case. If it only returns "fluidplot:", but no path, that means the software is not installed. Note that this does not include files that may be hidden within the home folder under ~/.local/share/ (in my case).

Found on Linux Screw

  • Re: "this does not include...", it's not clear whether this refers to type, whereis, or both. – agc Jun 10 '16 at 1:57
  • @agc I merged the three lines into a single paragraph; is it clearer now? – 魔大农 Nov 19 '19 at 11:55
  • Yes, it's much clearer. – agc Nov 19 '19 at 18:19

Just to add some point to @djsumdog's answer, if you are using DPKG based dist, like Ubuntu, you can use

dpkg --status some_package

to check what it is about, and

dpkg --listfiles some_package

to check what files are included/relevant to this package. It's for packages that don't have a binary to run, like libnss3. And

dpkg --search some_file

to find what package includes this file.

For example, dpkg --listfiles libnss3 gives me:


Note that the folders are not only owned by this packages, but by others too. Just check the files.

And reversely, dpkg --search libnss3.so gives me:

firefox: /usr/lib/firefox/libnss3.so
thunderbird: /usr/lib/thunderbird/libnss3.so
libnss3:i386: /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libnss3.so
libnss3-1d:i386: /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libnss3.so.1d

Instead of using which (which probably isn't the right choice unless you're using csh) you can use command -v fluidplot to get the shell to boune like shell to tell you what it would do if you asked it to run the command (fluidplot in this example).

Some examples for me:

$ command -v ls
alias ls='ls --color=auto'
$ command -v cat
$ test_func() {
> :
> }
$ command -v test_func
$ which test_func
/usr/bin/which: no test_func in (/usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin)
$ if command -v noSuchFile; then echo "It exists"; else echo "does not exist"; fi
does not exist

so you can also use it to test if a command would even be found and attempted to run. Since most of us use Bourne-like shells (e.g., bash or zsh) this is often preferable to which


You can try to run:

ps aux | grep "THE_NAME_OF_A_PROGRAM"

There are pretty good chances you will see the path to the program (if it's running)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.