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

NAME         top

       hier - description of the filesystem hierarchy

DESCRIPTION         top

       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
              subdirectories below /etc.  Site-wide configuration files may
              be placed here or in /usr/etc.  Nevertheless, programs should
              always 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
              installed in /opt.

              This directory contains the configuration files for SGML

              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

       /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

       /lib   This directory should hold those shared libraries that are
              necessary to boot the system and to run the commands in the
              root filesystem.

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

              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
              directories 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 filesystems.

       /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
              system, 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 sharable, 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

              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
              booting or for repairing the system and which are not
              installed locally 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
              machines 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 information.

              (Note that one should have include files there that work
              correctly 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 systems don't do this and use headers
              from a known good kernel version, provided in the libc*-dev

              Include files to use with the GNU C++ compiler.

              Object libraries, including dynamic libraries, plus some
              executables which usually are not invoked directly.  More
              complicated programs may have whole subdirectories there.

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

              The usual place for data files associated with X programs, and
              configuration files for the X system itself.  On Linux, it
              usually 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

              Binaries for programs local to the site.

              Local documentation.

              Configuration files associated with locally installed

              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 (optional).

              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
              architectures of the same OS.

              Source code for locally installed software.

              Replaced by /usr/share/man.

              This directory contains program binaries for system
              administration 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 sections.

              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
              architectures of the same OS.

              The message catalogs for native language support go here

              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
              distributions put here the source for the default kernel they
              ship.  You should probably use another directory when building
              your own kernel.

              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
              symbolic 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 device'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 directory 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

CONFORMING TO         top

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, Version 2.3 

BUGS         top

       This list is not exhaustive; different systems may be configured

SEE ALSO         top

       find(1), ln(1), proc(5), mount(8)

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of release 4.08 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                            2015-03-29                          HIER(7)