Linux Magazine: A Tour of the Linux Filesystem: Part II

“Last month we started talking about the “big picture”
differences between the Linux filesystem and the Windows
filesystem. Aside from the high-level differences, there are also
major differences in the directory structure under Linux and
Windows. If you remember from last time, we discussed the fact that
the filesystem is actually organized as a “tree” with a “root”
directory at the top level symbolized by a forward slash (/) under
Linux, and a back slash () under Windows… So, with that starting
place in mind, let’s take a look at the directories hanging off of
the root directory under Linux and comparing them to their Windows

“The /bin and /sbin directories serve as the home for a lot of
small executable programs that most people think of as part of the
operating system itself, but they really aren’t. … The “bin” part
of the name is yet another example of Linux/ Unix style shorthand.
It stands for “binaries,” which is what übergeeks sometimes
call programs. Under Windows these files are both stored in
C:WINDOWS and C:WINDOWS SYSTEM (and its subdirectories).”

“/boot is where the Linux kernel is stored. People often use the
term “operating system” to refer to the entire operating system
environment, but that is not really correct. Strictly speaking, the
kernel is the operating system itself. It is the program that
controls access to all the hardware and devices your computer
supports and allows multiple programs to run concurrently and share
that hardware. Most of the other programs that are a part of the
operating system environment are stored in /bin or /sbin (as we
just mentioned). The closest thing to this under Windows is a
combination of the DOS boot image in C: and a bunch of DLLs stored


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