The Root Folders of Linux

folder-linux-iconEver wonder what the purpose of each folder is at the root level on a Linux operation system?
Well, here’s a short description to most of the folders you will find at the bottom of the file structure.




Root directory that forms the base of the file system. All files and directories are logically contained inside the root directory regardless of their physical locations.


Contains the executable programs that are part of the Linux operating system. Many Linux commands, such as cat, cp, ls, more, and tar, are locate in /bin


Contains the Linux kernel and other files needed by LILO and GRUB boot managers.


Contains all device files. Linux treats each device as a special file. All such files are located in /dev.


Contains most system configuration files and the initialization scripts in /etc/rc.d sub directory.


Home directory is the parent to the home directories of users.


Contains library files, including loadable driver modules needed to boot the system.


Directory for lost files. Every disk partition has a lost+found directory.


Directory for mounting files systems on removable media like Optical drives, floppy disks, etc. (not USB, as these are located in /mnt)


A directory for temporarily mounted filesystems.


Optional software packages copy/install files here.


A special directory in a virtual filesystem. It contains the information about various aspects of a Linux system.


Home directory of the root user.

Linux Folder


Contains administrative binary files. Commands such as mount, shutdown, umount, reside here.


Contains data for services (HTTP, FTP, etc.) offered by the system.


A special directory that contains information about the devices, as seen by the Linux kernel.


Temporary directory which can be used as a scratch directory (storage for temporary files). The contents of this directory are cleared each time the system boots.


Contains sub directories for many programs such as the X Window System.


Contains executable files for many Linux commands. It is not part of the core Linux operating system.


Contains header files for C and C++ programming languages


Contains libraries for C and C++ programming languages.


Contains local files. It has a similar directories as /usr contains.


Contains administrative commands.


Contains files that are shared, like, default configuration files, images, documentation, etc.


Contains the source code for the Linux kernel.


Contains various system files such as log, mail directories, print spool, etc. which tend to change in numbers and size over time.


Storage area for cached data for applications.


Contains information relating to the current state of applications. Programs modify this when they run.


Contains lock files which are checked by applications so that a resource can be used by one application only.


Contains log files for different applications.


Contains users’ emails.


Contains variable data for packages stored in /opt directory.


Contains data describing the system since it was booted.


Contains data that is waiting for some kind of processing.


Contains temporary files preserved between system reboots.

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