The Linux Directory Tree

Let’s be clear: the structure of directories in any OS is a directory tree. You, I and everyone will want to call it a “file system.” That’s okay, and the other kids usually won’t laugh at you. But formally, a file system is the formatting that’s applied to a partition, like FAT32 or NTFS in Windows, or EXT3 in Linux.

Linux (and Unix and Mac) use slashes to separate directories:

/

Windows does things backwards, and uses the backward slash, which we won’t call a back(ward) slash. The cool kids call it a “whack.”

\

Think like a developer. We want a root for the file system (it uses a tree metaphor, sort of), which will be / .

Now we need a folder for all our binaries, because that’s what programming is all about, right? Writing executable binaries? So it’s /bin . You can think of this as being similar to the C:\Program Files folder in Windows.

Consider further:

/

/bin

/sbin

/lib

/var

/tmp

/proc

/mnt or /media

/usr

/opt