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       hier - description of the filesystem hierarchy


       A typical Linux system has, among others, the following directories:

       /      This is the root directory.  This is where the whole tree starts.

       /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  holds  only  the  files
              which  are  needed  during  the  boot process.  The map installer and configuration
              files should go to /sbin  and  /etc.   The  operating  system  kernel  (initrd  for
              example) must be located in either / or /boot.

       /dev   Special or device files, which refer to physical devices.  See mknod(1).

       /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.

              Host-specific configuration files for add-on applications installed in /opt.

              This directory contains the configuration files for SGML (optional).

              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 (optional).

              This directory contains the configuration files for XML (optional).

       /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
              administration decisions (optional).

       /lib   This directory should hold those shared libraries that are necessary  to  boot  the
              system and to run the commands in the root filesystem.

              These directories are variants of /lib on system which support more than one binary
              format requiring separate libraries (optional).

              Loadable kernel modules (optional).

              This directory contains items lost in the  filesystem.   These  items  are  usually
              chunks of files mangled as a consequence of a faulty disk or a system crash.

       /media This  directory  contains mount points for removable media such as CD and DVD disks
              or USB sticks.  On systems where more than one device exists for mounting a certain
              type of media, mount directories can be created by appending a digit to the name of
              those available above starting with '0', but the unqualified name must also exist.

              Floppy drive (optional).

              CD-ROM drive (optional).

              CD writer (optional).

              Zip drive (optional).

              USB drive (optional).

       /mnt   This directory is a mount point for a  temporarily  mounted  filesystem.   In  some
              distributions, /mnt contains subdirectories intended to be used as mount points for
              several temporary filesystems.

       /opt   This directory should contain add-on packages that contain static files.

       /proc  This is a mount point for the proc filesystem,  which  provides  information  about
              running  processes  and  the  kernel.   This pseudo-filesystem is described in more
              detail in proc(5).

       /root  This directory is usually the home directory for the root user (optional).

       /sbin  Like /bin, this directory holds commands needed to boot the system, but  which  are
              usually not executed by normal users.

       /srv   This directory contains site-specific data that is served by this system.

       /sys   This  is  a  mount point for the sysfs filesystem, which provides information about
              the kernel like /proc, but better structured, following the  formalism  of  kobject

       /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 separate partition.  It should  hold  only
              sharable,  read-only  data,  so  that it can be mounted by various machines running

              The X-Window system, version 11 release 6 (optional).

              Binaries which belong to the X-Window system; often, there is a symbolic link  from
              the more traditional /usr/bin/X11 to here.

              Data files associated with the X-Window 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/include/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.

              Commands for the MH mail handling system (optional).

              is  the  traditional  place  to look for X11 executables; on Linux, it usually is a
              symbolic link to /usr/X11R6/bin.

              Replaced by /usr/share/dict.

              Replaced by /usr/share/doc.

              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  in

              Binaries for games and educational programs (optional).

              Include files for the C compiler.

              BSD compatibility include files (optional).

              Include  files  for  the  C  compiler  and  the X-Window 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 information.

              (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

              These directories are variants of /usr/lib on system which support  more  than  one
              binary   format  requiring  separate  libraries,  except  that  the  symbolic  link
              /usr/lib<qual>/X11 is not required (optional).

              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

              contains executables and include files for the GNU C compiler, gcc(1).

              Files for the GNU groff document formatting system.

              Files for uucp(1).

              This is where programs which are local to the site typically go.

              Binaries for programs local to the site.

              Local documentation.

              Configuration files associated with locally installed programs.

              Binaries for locally installed games.

              Files associated with locally installed programs.

              These directories are variants of /usr/local/lib on system which support more  than
              one binary format requiring separate libraries (optional).

              Header files for the local C compiler.

              Info pages associated with locally installed programs.

              Man pages associated with locally installed programs.

              Locally installed programs for system administration.

              Local application data that can be shared among different architectures of the same

              Source code for locally installed software.

              Replaced by /usr/share/man.

              This directory contains program binaries for system administration  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.

              Contains the word lists used by spell checkers (optional).

              List of English words (optional).

              Documentation about installed programs (optional).

              Static data files for games in /usr/games (optional).

              Info pages go here (optional).

              Locale information goes here (optional).

              Manual pages go here in subdirectories according to the man page sections.

              These directories contain manual pages for the specific locale in source code form.
              Systems which use a unique language and code set for all manual pages may omit  the
              <locale> substring.

              Miscellaneous data that can be shared among different architectures of the same OS.

              The message catalogs for native language support go here (optional).

              Files for SGML (optional).

              DocBook DTD (optional).

              TEI DTD (optional).

              HTML DTD (optional).

              MathML DTD (optional).

              The database for terminfo (optional).

              Troff macros that are not distributed with groff (optional).

              Files for XML (optional).

              DocBook DTD (optional).

              XHTML DTD (optional).

              MathML DTD (optional).

              Files for timezone information (optional).

              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 (optional).

              This  was the traditional place for the kernel source.  Some distributions put here
              the source for the default kernel they  ship.   You  should  probably  use  another
              directory when building your own kernel.

              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

              Process accounting logs (optional).

              This directory is superseded by /var/log and should be a symbolic link to /var/log.

              Reserved for historical reasons.

              Data cached for programs.

              Locally-generated fonts (optional).

              Locally-formatted man pages (optional).

              WWW proxy or cache data (optional).

              Package specific cache data (optional).

       /var/catman/cat[1-9] or /var/cache/man/cat[1-9]
              These  directories  contain  preformatted  manual pages according to their man page
              section.  (The use of preformatted manual pages is deprecated.)

              System crash dumps (optional).

              Reserved for historical reasons.

              Variable game data (optional).

              Variable state information for programs.

              State directory for hwclock (optional).

              Miscellaneous state data.

              X display manager variable data (optional).

              Editor backup files and state (optional).

              These directories must be used for all distribution packaging support.

              State data for packages and subsystems (optional).

              Packaging support files (optional).

              Variable data for /usr/local.

              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, that is, lock files contain a PID as  a
              10-byte ASCII decimal number, followed by a newline character.

              Miscellaneous log files.

              Variable data for /opt.

              Users' mailboxes.  Replaces /var/spool/mail.

              Reserved for historical reasons.

              Reserved for historical reasons.

              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(8).

              Spooled files for printing (optional).

              Spools for a specific printer (optional).

              Replaced by /var/mail.

              Queued outgoing mail (optional).

              Spool directory for news (optional).

              Spooled files for rwhod(8) (optional).

              Spooled files for the smail(1) mail delivery program.

              Spooled files for uucp(1) (optional).

              Like /tmp, this directory holds temporary files stored for an unspecified duration.

              Database files for NIS, formerly known as the Sun Yellow Pages (YP).


       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, Version 2.3 ⟨⟩.


       This list is not exhaustive; different systems may be configured differently.


       find(1), ln(1), proc(5), mount(8)

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard


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       project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of  this  page,  can  be
       found at