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HIER(7)                    Linux Programmer's Manual                   HIER(7)

       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

       /etc   Contains  configuration  files  which  are local to the machine.
              Some larger software packages, like X11, can have their own sub-
              directories  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 and XML

              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).

       /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.

       /lib   This  directory should hold those shared libraries that are nec-
              essary to boot the system and to run the commands  in  the  root
              file system.

       /media This directory contains mount points for removable media such as
              CD and DVD disks or USB sticks.

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

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

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

       /root  This directory is usually the home directory for the  root  user

       /sbin  Like /bin, this directory holds commands needed to boot the sys-
              tem, 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 separate 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 (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 boot-
              ing  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.

              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 /usr/etc.

              Binaries for games and educational programs (optional).

              Include files for the C compiler.

              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

              (Note that one should have include files there  that  work  cor-
              rectly  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 sys-
              tems don't do this and use headers from a known good kernel ver-
              sion, provided in the libc*-dev package.)

              Include files to use with the GNU C++ compiler.

              Object  libraries,  including  dynamic libraries, plus some exe-
              cutables which usually are not invoked directly.   More  compli-
              cated 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  usu-
              ally 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).

              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.

              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 archi-
              tectures of the same OS.

              Source code for locally installed software.

              Replaced by /usr/share/man.

              This  directory contains program binaries for system administra-
              tion 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.

              Documentation about installed programs.

              Static data files for games in /usr/games.

              Info pages go here.

              Locale information goes here.

              Manual pages go here in subdirectories according to the man page

              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 architec-
              tures of the same OS.

              The message catalogs for native language support go here.

              Files for SGML and XML.

              The database for terminfo.

              Troff macros that are not distributed with groff.

              Files for timezone information.

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

              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  sym-
              bolic link to /var/log.

              Reserved for historical reasons.

              Data cached for programs.

       /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.)

              Reserved for historical reasons.

              Variable state information for programs.

              Variable data for /usr/local.

              Lock  files are placed in this directory.  The naming convention
              for device lock files is LCK..&lt;device&gt;  where  &lt;device&gt;  is  the
              device's  name  in  the file system.  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 direc-
              tory 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.

              Replaced by /var/mail.

              Queued outgoing mail.

              Spool directory for news.

              Spooled files for rwhod(8).

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

              Spooled files for uucp(1).

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

              Database files for NIS.

       The  Filesystem  Hierarchy  Standard,  Version  2.2   <http://www.path-

       This  list  is not exhaustive; different systems may be configured dif-

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

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard

       This page is part of release 3.05 of the Linux  man-pages  project.   A
       description  of  the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
       be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.

Linux                             2001-09-07                           HIER(7)