In this article I will be looking at the basics behind the Linux Directory Structure and what you should expect to find behind each directory. You will notice that the Linux directory structure is very different to that of a Windows PC. This is because the Linux directory structure comes from Unix and is built logically rather then simplistic. However once you know what is behind each directory then it is easy to know where to look for things. I will start with a couple of terms that you maybe unaware about. Source code -The code behind a program before it has been compiled.

In order to edit or modify a program you need its source code. While Windows you cannot get the source code for most programs in Linux most programs come with the source code so that you can modify the program to suit your needs if you want to. Executable program - Sometimes called executable, program, or binary. Once the source code has been compiled it becomes an executable, in windows they often have the extension .exe after them.

In Linux you will find a number of executable program types try to look for .rpm files as they are normally the simplest to Install. Linux executables often have the extension .bin. Process - Sometimes called task. A program that is executing may need additional information about how to run it. Kernel -A program that forms a bridge between applications and the hardware they run on. /bin - stores essential binaries (programs) needed when booting the system or working in single user mode to maintain the system. /boot - stores kernel images and boot configuration files. /dev - stores device special files used to access hardware devices. /etc - stores system configuration files. /home - stores the home directories for the individual users. /lib - stores library modules used by the commands. /lost+found ?

If your computer isn't shut down properly when it reboots the Kernel may find something that is corrupt, if so it will be put in this directory. /mnt - a mount point for other storage devices. /opt - This directory contains all the software and add-on packages that are not part of the default installation. Generally you will find KDE and StarOffice here. /proc - This is a special directory on your system.

It has special processes used by executables. /sbin - stores commands required to administer the system such as shutdown. /tmp - used for temporary files /usr - used for programs, libraries, documentation, etc used by normal users /var - stored system data that varies or changes frequently such as system logs, mail and print spool files, etc Not all distributions will have all these directories and don't worry if when you install a certain distribution one of these directories isn?t here. Most of the time you wont have to worry what is in any of these directories but it is good to know what the directory contains.