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The Linux filesystem explained

configuration files for X. More importantly, the /etc/rc.d directory

contains the system startup scripts. This is a good directory to backup

often. It will definitely save you a lot of re-configuration later if you

re-install or lose your current installation.

/home - Linux is a multi-user environment so each user is also assigned a

specific directory which is accessible only to them and the system

administrator. These are the user home directories, which can be found

under /home/username. This directory also contains the user specific

settings for programs like IRC, X etc.

/lib - This contains all the shared libraries that are required by system

programs. Windows equivalent to a shared library would be a DLL file.

/lost+found - Linux should always go through a proper shutdown. Sometimes

your system might crash or a power failure might take the machine down.

Either way, at the next boot, a lengthy filesystem check using fsck will

be done. Fsck will go through the system and try to recover any corrupt

files that it finds. The result of this recovery operation will be placed

in this directory. The files recovered are not likely to be complete or

make much sense but there always is a chance that something worthwhile is


/mnt - This is a generic mount point under which you mount your filesystems

or devices. Mounting is the process by which you make a filesystem

available to the system. After mounting your files will be accessible

under the mount-point. This directory usually contains mount points or

sub-directories where you mount your floppy and your CD. You can also

create additional mount-points here if you want. There is no limitation to

creating a mount-point anywhere on your system but convention says that

you do not litter your file system with mount-points.

/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. Again, this directory is not used very often as it's

mostly a standard in Unix installations.

/proc - This is a special directory on your system. We have a more detailed

article on this one here.

/root - We talked about user home directories earlier and well this one is

the home directory of the user root. This is not to be confused with the

system root, which is directory at the highest level in the filesystem.