Ubuntu Filesystem Hierarchy Standard

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The majority of these directories exist in all UNIX operating systems and are generally used in much the same way; however, the descriptions here are those used specifically for the FHS, and are not considered authoritative for platforms other than Linux.

Directory Description

/ Primary hierarchy root and root directory of the entire file system hierarchy.

/bin/ Essential command binaries that need to be available in single user mode; for all users, e.g., cat, ls, cp.

/boot/ Boot loader files, e.g., kernels, initrd; often a separate partition8

/dev/ Essential devices, e.g., /dev/null.

/etc/ Host-specific system-wide configuration files

There has been controversy over the meaning of the name itself. In early versions of the UNIX Implementation Document from Bell labs, /etc is referred to as the /etcetra directory,9 as this directory historically held everything that did not belong elsewhere (however, the FHS restricts /etc to static configuration files and may not contain binaries).10 Since the publication of early documentation, the directory name has been re-designated in various ways. Recent interpretations include Backronyms such as "Editable Text Configuration" or "Extended Tool Chest".11