The Linux filesystem explained
/sbin - This directory contains all the binaries that are essential to the
working of the system. These include system administration as well as
maintenance and hardware configuration programs. Find lilo, fdisk, init,
ifconfig etc here. These are the essential programs that are required by
all the users. Another directory that contains system binaries is /usr/sbin.
This directory contains other binaries of use to the system administrator.
This is where you will find the network daemons for your system along with
other binaries that only the system administrator has access to, but which are
not required for system maintenance, repair etc.
/bin - In contrast to /sbin, the bin directory contains several useful
commands that are used by both the system administrator as well as
non-privileged users. This directory usually contains the shells like
bash, csh etc. as well as much used commands like cp, mv, rm, cat, ls.
There also is /usr/bin, which contains other user binaries. These binaries
on the other hand are not essential for the user. The binaries in /bin
however, a user cannot do without.
/boot - This directory contains the system.map file as well as the Linux
kernel. Lilo places the boot sector backups in this directory.
/dev - This is a very interesting directory that highlights one important
characteristic of the Linux filesystem - everything is a file or a
directory. Look through this directory and you should see hda1, hda2 etc,
which represent the various partitions on the first master drive of the
system. /dev/cdrom and /dev/fd0 represent your CDROM drive and your floppy
drive. This may seem strange but it will make sense if you compare the
characteristics of files to that of your hardware. Both can be read from
and written to. Take /dev/dsp, for instance. This file represents your
speaker device. So any data written to this file will be re-directed to
your speaker. Try 'cat /etc/lilo.conf > /dev/dsp' and you should hear some
sound on the speaker. That's the sound of your lilo.conf file! Similarly,
sending data to and reading from /dev/ttyS0 ( COM 1 ) will allow you to
communicate with a device attached there - your modem.
/etc - This directory contains all the configuration files for your system.
Your lilo.conf file lies in this directory as does hosts, resolv.conf and
fstab. Under this directory will be X11 sub-directory which contains the