13.2 Default Directories

In Linux, all directories are attached to the root directory, which is identified by a forward slash (/). Directories that are only one level below the root directory are preceded by a slash, to indicate their position and prevent confusion with other directories that could have the same name. For example, the table below lists some common second-level directories:

Linux Directory



System binaries, user programs with normal user permissions


Executables that need root permission


A user-defined directory


System device tree


System configuration


Users’ home directories


A user’s personal home directory


System temporary files


Applications software


Executable files for programs with user permission


System variables


Libraries needed for installed programs to run

Every device and hard disk partition is represented in the Linux file system as a subdirectory of the root directory. For example, the floppy disk drive in Linux might be /etc/floppy. The root directory lives in the root partition, but other directories (and the devices they represent) can reside anywhere. Removable devices and hard disk partitions other than the root are mounted (attached) to subdirectories in the directory tree. This is done either at system initialization or in response to a mount command.

NOTE:There are no standards in Linux for which subdirectories are used for which devices.

All the file systems use directories and subdirectories. NetWare separates directories with a backslash, and Linux uses a forward slash. NetWare file names are case insensitive. Linux file names are case sensitive. For example “abc” and “aBc” are different files in Linux, but in NetWare, they refer to the same file.