hier(7) — Linux manual page


hier(7)             Miscellaneous Information Manual             hier(7)

NAME         top

       hier - description of the filesystem hierarchy

DESCRIPTION         top

       A typical Linux system has, among others, the following

       /      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 mknod(1).

       /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

              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

              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 (optional).

       /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 (optional).

              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 (optional).

       /run   This directory contains information which describes the
              system since it was booted.  Once this purpose was served
              by /var/run and programs may continue to use it.

       /sbin  Like /bin, this directory holds commands needed to boot
              the system, but which are usually not executed by normal

       /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

       /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 shareable, read-only data,
              so that it can be mounted by various machines running

              The X-Window system, version 11 release 6 (present in FHS
              2.3, removed in FHS 3.0).

              Binaries which belong to the X-Window system; often, there
              is a symbolic link from the more traditional /usr/bin/X11
              to here.

              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

              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

              Commands for the MH mail handling system (optional).

              This 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

              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 package.)

              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.

              Directory contains binaries for internal use only and they
              are not meant to be executed directly by users shell or

              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/libqual/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

              contains executables and include files for the GNU C
              compiler, gcc(1).

              Files for the GNU groff document formatting system.

              Files for uucp(1).

              This is where programs which are local to the site
              typically go.

              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 color management information, like International
              Color Consortium (ICC) Color profiles (optional).

              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

              Postscript Printer Definition (PPD) files (optional).

              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

              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

       /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.

              Variable files containing color management information

              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 support.

              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 (YP).

STANDARDS         top

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS), Version 3.0 
       ⟨https://refspecs.linuxfoundation.org/fhs.shtml⟩, published March
       19, 2015

BUGS         top

       This list is not exhaustive; different distributions and systems
       may be configured differently.

SEE ALSO         top

       find(1), ln(1), proc(5), file-hierarchy(7), mount(8)

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard

Linux man-pages (unreleased)     (date)                          hier(7)

Pages that refer to this page: proc(5)file-hierarchy(7)