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

       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

       /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

       /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 al-
              ways 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 in-
              stalled in /opt.

              This directory contains the configuration files  for  SGML  (op-

              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  (op-

       /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 nec-
              essary to boot the system and to run the commands  in  the  root

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

              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 direc-
              tories 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

       /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

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

       /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  shareable, 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  lo-
              cally 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  ma-
              chines  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.

              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

              (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.

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

              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.

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

              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 (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

              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  (op-

              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 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.

              Process accounting logs (optional).

              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.

              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

              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 de-
              vice'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 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 (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

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, Version 2.3 <http://www.pathname.com

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

       find(1), ln(1), proc(5), file-hierarchy(7), mount(8)

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard

       This  page  is  part of release 5.05 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, information about reporting bugs,  and  the
       latest     version     of     this    page,    can    be    found    at

Linux                             2017-11-26                           HIER(7)
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