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Linux Filesystem Layout

The contents of this page have primarily been adapted from the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard. It briefly summarizes key concepts and material that is necessary to understand when administrating Linux systems which fully (or even partially) adhere to the FHS standard.


The FHS recommends that the root partition be kept as small as possible in order to:

  1. Allow mounting it from small media
  2. Separating specific system files (i.e. kernel) from more sharable files
  3. To not assume that other individuals have large root partitions
  4. To reduce the surface area of disk errors impacting the root partition


The follow directories (or symlinks) are required:

Directory Description Link
bin Essential command binaries Link
boot Static files of the boot loader Link
dev Device files Link
etc Host-specific system configuration Link
lib Essential shared libraries and kernel modules Link
media Mount point for removable media Link
mnt Mount point for mounting a filesystem temporarily Link
opt Add-on application software packages Link
run Data relevant to running processes Link
sbin Essential system binaries Link
srv Data for services provided by the system Link
tmp Temporary files Link
usr Secondary hierachy Link
var Variable data Link

The following directories (or symlinks) are optional:

Directory Description Link
home User home directories Link
root Home directory for the root user Link

In particular, there's a growing convention for using the XDG Base Directory Specification for creating the home directory layout. See the specification here.