Could anyone please describe what the purpose of the Bin Directory in Linux is?
I have already had a browse online, but couldn't find a brief, yet comprehensive, answer.

  • Try searching Google with the phrase "what is the linux bin directory for". The first hit seems to be pretty clear to me. Oct 19, 2015 at 13:47
  • 3
    First hit is this question. Let's remember that Google results change with time and by the user, and this is a site for answering questions. Apr 26, 2017 at 15:30

2 Answers 2


Bin is an abbreviation of Binaries. It's just a directory where a user of an operating system can expect to find applications.

The different directories on a Linux system can be daunting or confusing if you aren't used to them. There's a good overview on wikipedia that explains what each standard directory is for.


It contains essential binary files (unlike /usr/bin directory) also for booting. It usually contains the shells like bash and commonly used commands like cp, mv, rm, cat, ls.
Unlike /sbin, the bin directory contains several useful commands that are of use to both the system administrator as well as non-privileged users.

  • 1
    In modern Linux, anyway, the distinction between /bin and /usr/bin is fairly obsolete, though it may hold in some other Unixes. (The original purpose of /bin — to hold enough of a system to boot successfully until you could mount /usr — is now served by initrd/initramfs; many distributions now put all system applications in /usr/bin and make /bin a symlink there.)
    – Tom Hunt
    Oct 19, 2015 at 15:11

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