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GNU/Linux Directory Structure
GNU/Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems follow a similar directory structure, as defined by the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, an organization maintained by the Linux foundation. There are also some directories that aren't defined by the standard.
/ or Root directory is the top-most directory in the
hierarchy. This is where all the other file systems or mounted when
the system boots up. Not to be confused with
/bin stands for binaries. It contains necessary coreutils
required to mount other directories. In most distributions, this
exists as a symlink to
/boot directory contains all the files necessary for
booting up the system. Mostly consists of bootloader and kernel
/dev abbreviates as devices. Everything is a file in GNU/Linux,
even devices. The hardware is represented as a special file. Also
contains some pseudo-devices, such as
/etc (et cetera) directory consists of system-wide
configuration files and databases.
/lib directory has some important C libraries required by
the /bin directory. There also exists lib32 and/or lib64 depending on
the system architecture. It exists as a symlink to /usr/lib in most
home directory has a folder for each user. It enables to
have user-specific configuration files. By default each user has read
and write access to their home directory and must need special
elevated permissions to modify files outside their home directory. If
your username is gentoo, then your home directory would be
The mount point for devices such as USB drives and other media devices.
/opt (Optional) is where locally installed software exists.
Temporary directories are mounted in
/mnt. For example, in a
dual-booted system, you'd mount the windows partition as
This is the place where temporary files are stored. This directory is cleaned during startup.
This is similar to a /home directory but for the root user, aka system administrator.
This is like a /bin directory but for commands used by system administrators. Consists of important commands for starting, maintaining and recovering the system.
The /usr directory contains executable, libraries, and other shared resources.
/usr/local is like the
/bin directory but executables which should not
be update as it could cause issues
The /var (variable) directory, is where important information like caches, log files, etc are stored. This is similar to /tmp but the files aren't clear during startup.
Example directory structure
bin -> usr/bin boot dev etc home lib -> usr/lib lib64 -> usr/lib lost+found mnt opt proc root run sbin -> usr/bin srv sys tmp usr var