Organization and contents of the file tree

The file tree organizes files into directories containing similar information. This organization facilitates remote mounting of directories and files.

System administrators can use these directories as building blocks to construct a unique file tree for each client mounting individual directories from one or more servers. Mounting files and directories remotely, rather than keeping all information local, has the following advantages:

  • Conserves disk space
  • Allows easy, centralized system administration
  • Provides a more secure environment

The file tree has the following characteristics:

  • Files that can be shared by machines of the same hardware architecture are located in the /usr file system.
  • Variable per-client files, such as spool and mail files, are located in the /var file system.
  • Architecture-independent, shareable text files, such as manual pages, are located in the /usr/share directory.
  • The / (root) file system contains files and directories critical for system operation. For example, it contains a device directory, programs used for system startup, and mount points where file systems can be mounted onto the root file system.
  • The /home file system is the mount point for user home directories.