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Something I've never understood with linux is why a status file is stored under /etc. As far as I know /etc/ is for configuration (relatively static) configuration files. But /etc/mtab shows the current status of mounts on the system.

Under debian this has even been replaced with a symbolic link to ../proc/self/mounts (ie: /proc/self/mounts). This is actually important because with the creation of mount namespaces different processes can see different mounts.

Is there a particular historic reason for this and is there a good reason why it has not been removed entirely (in favor of /proc/self/mounts)?