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Important Linux Directories

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

Important Linux Directories

Although organizations have made strides toward consistency via standards such as the Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS), different Linux distributions still have somewhat different directory structures.

The following rendering exemplifies a typical Red Hat effort toward standardization of where files are stored according to type and use.


  • /bin
    all binaries needed for the boot process and to run the system in single-user mode including essential commands such as cd, ls, etc.

  • /boot
    holds files used during the boot process along with the Linux kernel itself

  • /dev
    contains device files for all hardware devices on the system

  • /etc
    files used by application subsystems such as mail, the Oracle database, etc.

  • /etc/init.d
    contains various service startup scripts

  • /etc/profile.d
    holds application setup scripts run by

  • /etc/profile upon login

  • /etc/rc.d
    contains sub-directories which contain run

  • level specific scripts
    /etc/rc.d/init.d run level initialization scripts /etc/rc.d/rc?.d where ‘?’ is a number corresponding to the default run level. Contains symbolic links to scripts which are in /etc/rc.d/init.d. for services to be started and stopped at the indicated run level.

  • /etc/skel
    holds example ‘dot’ files used to populate a new user's home directory.

  • /etc/X11
    Contains sub-directories and configuration files for the X Window system

  • /home
    user home directories

  • /lib
    some shared library directories, files, and links

  • /mnt
    the typical mount point for the user-mountable devices such as floppy drives and CDROM

  • /proc
    virtual file system that provides system statistics. It doesn't contain 'real' files but runtime system information

  • /root
    home directory for the root user

  • /sbin
    commands used by the super user for system administrative functions

  • /tmp
    a standard repository for temporary files created by applications and users.

  • /usr
    directory contains subdirectories with source code, programs, libraries, documentation, etc.

  • /usr/bin
    contains commands available to normal users

  • /usr/bin/X11
    X Window system binaries

  • /usr/include
    holds include files used in C programs

  • /usr/share
    contains shared directories for man files, info files, etc.

  • /usr/lib
    library files searched by the linker when programs are compiled

  • /usr/local/bin
    common executable application files

  • /usr/sbin
    commands used by the super user for system administrative functions

  • /var
    administrative files such as log files, locks, spool files, and temporary files used by various utilities

The above book excerpt is from:

Easy Linux Commands
Working Examples of Linux Command Syntax

ISBN: 0-9759135-0-6   

Terry Clark 

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