Man Linux: Main Page and Category List


       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
              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 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
              necessary 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
              system, but which are usually not executed by normal users.

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

       /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
              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.

              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
              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).

              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
              architectures of the same OS.

              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.

              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
              architectures 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
              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 files.

              This  directory  is  superseded  by  /var/log  and  should  be a
              symbolic 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..<device> where <device> 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
              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.

              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


       This list is  not  exhaustive;  different  systems  may  be  configured


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

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard


       This  page  is  part of release 3.24 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, and information about reporting  bugs,  can
       be found at