Sunday, December 23, 2007

What is different in the Linux vs. the Windows file system?

File management in Linux is very different and quite difficult to get used too for a windows_slave.

1. first the way the partitions are built and used and the way the files are stored and activated is quite different; the hierarchy of the way files are accessed and used is totally different( more precise: Linux doesn't have a hierarchy as such); the engine works completely different;
On most linux systems you will find:
/bin Essential command binaries
/boot Static files of the boot loader
/dev Device files
/etc Host-specific system configuration
/lib Essential shared libraries and kernel modules
/media Mount point for removeable media
/mnt Mount point for mounting a filesystem temporarily
/opt Add-on application software packages
/sbin Essential system binaries
/srv Data for services provided by this system
/tmp Temporary files
/usr Secondary hierarchy
/var Variable data

2. these differences are reflected in the way files can be managed or manipulated and the rights you have to do so. As a naive Windows user you have the feeling: why is this not possible; where can I find this etc? The logic behind it is the stability of the structure and a certain logic that is quite beautiful, if you are sensitive to technology in this way.

3. 'Windows Manager' + 'File Manager' = 'Explorer' in Win XP
The way files are managed and the way windows are shown are united in one mode in Windows but in Linux can be shown (windows) and managed (filesystem) in many different ways, exact to your own liking.
(for further reading see Header: File Managers.
4. Installing software is a totally different matter than in Windows: in Windows it comes down to downloading a zip and most of the time an installpogram will place it in Program Files and leave a shortcut on the desktop or so.
In Linux distro's the are many different options and ways of installing and more precautions. Each distro has its own packhouse of software and with a very easy program you can choose from the desktop what you want; but there many other ways like downloading a tar.gz (like zip) file that has to be unpacked, moved to the right location; installed under the right rights, there may be dependencies (like dll's) there are missing and can be tracked down with synaptic help program.


You will find a simple course on the Unix file system here.

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