hier - Description of the file system hierarchy
A typical Linux system has, among others, the following directories:
/ This is the root directory. This is where the whole tree
/bin This directory contains executable programs which are needed in
single user mode and to bring the system up or repair it.
/boot Contains static files for the boot loader. This directory only
holds the files which are needed during the boot process. The
map installer and configuration files should go to /sbin and
/dev Special or device files, which refer to physical devices. See
/dos If both MS-DOS and Linux are run on one computer, this is a typical
place to mount a DOS file system.
/etc Contains configuration files which are local to the machine.
Some larger software packages, like X11, can have their own subdirectories
below /etc. Site-wide configuration files may be
placed here or in /usr/etc. Nevertheless, programs should
always look for these files in /etc and you may have links for
these files to /usr/etc.
When a new user account is created, files from this directory
are usually copied into the user's home directory.
Configuration files for the X11 window system.
/home On machines with home directories for users, these are usually
beneath this directory, directly or not. The structure of this
directory depends on local admininstration decisions.
/lib This directory should hold those shared libraries that are necessary
to boot the system and to run the commands in the root
/mnt is a mount point for temporarily mounted filesystems
/proc This is a mount point for the proc filesystem, which provides
information about running processes and the kernel. This
pseudo-file system is described in more detail in proc(5).
/sbin Like /bin, this directory holds commands needed to boot the system,
but which are usually not executed by normal users.
/tmp This directory contains temporary files which may be deleted
with no notice, such as by a regular job or at system boot up.
/usr This directory is usually mounted from a seperate partition. It
should hold only sharable, read-only data, so that it can be
mounted by various machines running Linux.
The X-Window system, version 11 release 6.
Binaries which belong to the X-Windows system; often, there is a
symbolic link from the more traditional /usr/bin/X11 to here.
Data files associated with the X-Windows system.
These contain miscellaneous files needed to run X; Often, there
is a symbolic link from /usr/lib/X11 to this directory.
Contains include files needed for compiling programs using the
X11 window system. Often, there is a symbolic link from
/usr/inlcude/X11 to this directory.
This is the primary directory for executable programs. Most
programs executed by normal users which are not needed for booting
or for repairing the system and which are not installed
locally should be placed in this directory.
is the traditional place to look for X11 executables; on Linux,
it usually is a symbolic link to /usr/X11R6/bin.
This directory holds files containing word lists for spell
You may find documentation about the installed software packages
in this directory.
Site-wide configuration files to be shared between several
machines may be stored in this directory. However, commands
should always reference those files using the /etc directory.
Links from files in /etc should point to the appropriate files
Include files for the C compiler.
Include files for the C compiler and the X-Windows system. This
is usually a symbolic link to /usr/X11R6/include/X11.
Include files which declare some assembler functions. This used
to be a symbolic link to /usr/src/linux/include/asm.
This contains information which may change from system release
to system release and used to be a symbolic link to
/usr/src/linux/include/linux to get at operating system specific
(Note that one should have include files there that work correctly
with the current libc and in user space. However, Linux
kernel source is not designed to be used with user programs and
does not know anything about the libc you are using. It is very
likely that things will break if you let /usr/include/asm and
/usr/include/linux point at a random kernel tree. Debian systems
don't do this and use headers from a known good kernel version,
provided in the libc*-dev package.)
Include files to use with the GNU C++ compiler.
Object libraries, including dynamic libraries, plus some executables
which usually are not invoked directly. More complicated
programs may have whole subdirectories there.
The usual place for data files associated with X programs, and
configuration files for the X system itself. On Linux, it usually
is a symbolic link to /usr/X11R6/lib/X11.
contains executables and include files for the GNU C compiler,
Files for the GNU groff document formatting system.
Files for uucp(1).
Files for timezone information.
This is where programs which are local to the site typically go.
Binaries for programs local to the site go there.
Configuration files associated with locally installed programs
Files associated with locally installed programs go there.
Info pages associated with locally installed programs go there.
Manpages associated with locally installed programs go there.
Locally installed programs for system admininstration.
Source code for locally installed software.
Manpages traditionally go in there, into their subdirectories.
These directories contain manual pages for the specified locale
in source code form. Systems which use a unique language and
code set for all manual pages may omit the <locale> substring.
This directory contains program binaries for system admininstration
which are not essential for the boot process, for mounting
/usr, or for system repair.
This directory contains subdirectories with specific application
data, that can be shared among different architectures of the
same OS. Often one finds stuff here that used to live in
/usr/doc or /usr/lib or /usr/man.
Manpages go in there, into their subdirectories.
These directories contain manual pages which are in source code
form. Systems which use a unique language and code set for all
manual pages may omit the <locale> substring.
Source files for different parts of the system, included with
some packages for reference purposes. Don't work here with your
own projects, as files below /usr should be read-only except
when installing software.
This has always been the traditional place where kernel sources
were unpacked. This was important on systems that
/usr/include/linux was a symlink here. You should probably use
another directory for building the kernel now.
Obsolete. This should be a link to /var/tmp. This link is
present only for compatibility reasons and shouldn't be used.
/var This directory contains files which may change in size, such as
spool and log files.
This directory is superseded by /var/log and should be a symbolic
link to /var/log.
This directory is used to save backup copies of important system
These directories contain preformatted manual pages according to
their manpage section.
Lock files are placed in this directory. The naming convention
for device lock files is LCK..<device> where <device> is the
device's name in the filesystem. The format used is that of HDU
UUCP lock files, i.e. lock files contain a PID as a 10-byte
ASCII decimal number, followed by a newline character.
Miscelanous log files.
This is where vi(1) saves edit sessions so they can be restored
Run-time variable files, like files holding process identifiers
(PIDs) and logged user information (utmp). Files in this directory
are usually cleared when the system boots.
Spooled (or queued) files for various programs.
Spooled jobs for at(1).
Spooled jobs for cron(1).
Spooled files for printing.
Spooled files for the smail(1) mail delivery program.
Spool directory for the news subsystem.
Spooled files for uucp(1).
Like /tmp, this directory holds temporary files stored for an
The Linux filesystem standard, Release 1.2
This list is not exhaustive; different systems may be configured differently.
find(1), ln(1), mount(1), proc(5), The Linux Filesystem Standard
Linux 1997-06-16 HIER(7)
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