A Filesystem's Guide

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UNIX filesystems organisation background

The main ideas to organize the files in the standard Unix filesystem are:

  • group files according to their life cycle.
  • visibility (convenience and access control).
  • historical constraints.


  • User data that should survive at all costs go to /home
  • Configuration files are precious and must be easy to reach, they go in /etc
  • Things that should not survive reboot go to /tmp
  • Things that physically come and go appear in /mnt (old style) or /media (new style)
  • Files that tend to grow too much unsupervised go to /var, so that they can only fill the partition containing this directory.
  • Pseudo files used to communicate with the kernel go to /proc (old style) or /sys (new style). Pseudo files used to communicate with other hardware devices go to /dev.
  • /boot can be used to keep the kernel file in a place the hardware can access easily
  • The remaining directories contain binaries. /lib is for shared libraries. The basic low-level UNIX toolbox is in /bin, the tools needed only by the administrator are in /sbin. Everything else go to /usr.

The Om 2008.8 filesystem

The root filesystem consists the following directories:

  • bin
  • dev
  • home
  • media
  • proc
  • sys
  • usr
  • boot
  • etc
  • lib
  • mnt
  • sbin
  • tmp
  • var

The first difference to the standard Linux filesystem is the lack of /root directory. This directory is located under /home/root/.

The config and data files for contacts, calendar, memos and tasks are located under the ~/Applications and ~/Documents folders, cf. the Backup article.

The file /home/root/.ash_history is a history of commands for the standard shell (ash). If you use bash, it will create the file /home/root/.bash_history.

The inserted micro SD card is mounted under /media/card.

See also

External links

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