Important directories in Linux

/bin

This is the binary directory which contains the executable files.When a program is installed , its binary files are stored here.


/dev

It contains the files that point to the hardware that make up the system.All peripherals are represented as files, and when the service
of a device is called for , the file is looked into for the service description and parameters.


/boot

The boot loader files are stored here.Sometimes, an image of the kernel is also maintained in this directory.


/etc

This folder contains various configuration files that can be manually edited to affect system changes.This is a particular feature of Linux by which, knowing what to alter in what files , the user can make almost any change to the system.The files are stored in .txt format and can be viewed and modified in any editor.
The files in this directory bear a crude analogy to the .ini files in Windows
.

/etc/passwd
The passwd file contains the essential information for each user. It is here that users are defined.
/etc/fstab
The fstab file contains a table of devices that get mounted when your system boots. This file defines your disk drives.
/etc/hosts
This file lists the network host names and IP addresses that are intrinsically known to the system.
/etc/init.d
This directory contains the scripts that start various system services typically at boot time.

/home

This directory contains the user’s files. Unless otherwise specified , work files  will be saved in a user directory that is created for each user in this /home directory. If a user is created by the name of “micman“, then his work files will get stored in “/home/micman” folder.


/root

This is the home directory of root user.


/lib

Frequently-used system files needed by programs or the OS – are stored here , just like the library files are stored in “c:\windows\system32” in Windows.


/mnt

All storage media other than Linux partitions are mounted here.Each drive has a folder created for it, for eg.,the CD-ROM and floppy drive. Windows drives or partitions too are mounted here. A FAT file system is seen as Windows drive . To access these devices , you need to get to the /mnt direcoty and open the appropriate device file there.There can be a shortcut to the devices on your desktop or elsewhere , depending  on the Linux distro you have,but then these shortcuts will access the devices mounted in this folder.


/opt

This directory stores “addon” components such as desktop environments , databases etc.


/tmp

This is a directory that the system uses for various purposes that we,as end users,need not be too worried about.


/usr

Non-critical system files are stored in this directory,which contains a copy of most of the directories in the root.You will find here a “bin” directory containing programs,a “lib” directory containing libraries etc. Currently , important or core Linux files are contained in the root directories,while others are put in the /usr sub-directories.

/usr/share/X11
Support files for the X Windows system
/usr/share/dict
Dictionaries for the spelling checker. Bet you didn’t know that Linux had a spelling checker. See look and ispell.
/usr/share/doc
Various documentation files in a variety of formats.
/usr/share/man
The man pages are kept here.
/usr/src
Source code files. If you installed the kernel source code package, you will find the entire Linux kernel source code here.


/var

contains various files such as log files,spools etc.

/var/log
Directory that contains log files. These are updated as the system runs. You should view the files in this directory from time to time, to monitor the health of your system.
/var/spool
This directory is used to hold files that are queued for some process, such as mail messages and print jobs. When a user’s mail first arrives on the local system (assuming you have local mail), the messages are first stored in /var/spool/mail


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