Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 30th Jan 2012 20:39 UTC
General Unix Finally something really interesting to talk about. If you've used UNIX or any of its derivatives, you've probably wondered why there's /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin in the file system. You may even have a rationalisation for the existence of each and every one of these directories. The thing is, though - all these rationalisations were thought up after these directories were created. As it turns out, the real reasoning is pretty damn straightforward.
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Between K&R and today..
by Slowcoder on Mon 30th Jan 2012 22:19 UTC
Slowcoder
Member since:
2012-01-30

While it's hard to argue with why the inventors of UNIX did it a certain way, the proliferation of it is actually simple, and quite sane as well.

It goes back to the day when people used NFS extensively for workstations. Here's what they were all used for:

/bin - Local disk, dynamically linked binaries (against libraries in /lib)
/sbin - Local disk, statically linked binaries
/usr - NFS share
/usr/bin - Shared binaries (apps..) dynamically linked against libs in /usr/lib
/usr/sbin - Statically linked binaries

Basically, /bin and /sbin contained what was needed for system maintenance, and enough programs to mount the NFS share.
Before you mounted the NFS share, /usr simply was not there.

It annoys me to no end that many Linux distros today put dynamically linked binaries in /sbin...

But, I digress.. The usefulness of this layout got outdated the moment cheap large-capacity harddisks entered the market.

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