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Fedora Aims To Simplify Linux Filesystem

jfruhlinger (470035) writes | more than 2 years ago

Unix 3

jfruhlinger writes "Even Linux's most passionate partisans will admit that its filesystem, which stashes vital files in a variety of arcane directories, can be baffling to users. The developers at the Fedora project want to cut the Gordian know and consolidate all executables into /usr/bin and all libraries into /usr/lib or /usr/lib64. One downside: this system would conflict with the standards developed by the Linux Standard Base, or the (rarely used) Filesystem Hierarchy Standard."
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Fedora is a pile of crap (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 2 years ago | (#37924644)

Back in the day I too did this but I placed everything into /bin and /sbin. It was all good and I could not work out why there needed many bin directories. I thought about this a lot and realized that the /bin /sbin directories contain just enough to get a system up /usr/bin and /usr/sbin contained the general "user" binaries. Why was it like this? Back in the day when hard disks were measured in MB instead of GB, a full unix system would not fix on a single hard disk. The root file system "/" was on one which contained the files necessary to get the system to a point where it could then mount the user file system at the /usr directory. If the system was too large to be contained on two hard disks, a third one was introduced containing local or optional files (like the X Window system) and would be mounted either at /usr/local or /opt.

This system is not as confusing as one might think. In fact, most users who do visit the console on a modern system will not need to know which bin directory contains the program they are trying to run as the shell (usually bash) is smart enough to be able to find it without the need for the user to specify the path.

Further to the above historical note, if Fedora was to move everything into /usr/bin and /usr/sbin, will they also be moving /etc to /usr/etc? And what about /usr/local and /opt will they too be amalgamated into one huge blob under /usr? Also Fedora, if I still have my /usr directory being on a different partition, how will you boot with no binaries in the root partition?

Don't fsck with what works.

Typo and observation (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37926224)

It should be "knot" not "know". Editors may wish to correct this in the event of acceptance.

Observation: Tradition has it that /bin and /sbin should be capable of performing enough operations to recover a system in the event of a failure to mount a partition or in the event of a system compromise. These binaries should not be dynamically linked, for the same reasons. Tradition then states that anything else goes in /usr/bin and /usr/sbin -except- when /usr is shared, in which case anything that is local only goes in /usr/local/bin and /usr/local/sbin. I don't see anything overly complex about that, except I'd have argued that sharing is the less-common scenario so /usr/bin and /usr/sbin would be local-only and /usr/shared/bin and /usr/shared/sbin would be for binaries that were shared. You can then omit an unnecessary level rather than have special rules and special cases. I ignore the "official standards" wherever possible.

Instead of changing what works, educate your users (1)

recrudescence (1383489) | more than 2 years ago | (#37927416)

The filesystem is very logical once you understand what it's about, and not difficult to get your head round at all.

If Fedora wants to make things simple for new users, perhaps it should just have a nice newbie-friendly 'tour' of the filesystem instead, as an option at first boot of a new system. In particular pay attention to the differences between typical installation, installation to /opt, and to /usr/local.

Changing the entire convention is bound to cause more trouble than it's worth, and users will not necessarily be less confused by the changes

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