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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It does make some sort of sense to split /bin and /sbin (or whatever you want to call them: e.g. /userbin vs. /systembin), so that normal users get /bin in their PATH and root gets /bin and /sbin in their PATH.

/usr/bin and /usr/sbin make no sense now of course plus most systems don't partition /usr separately either, so this "binaries won't be available if a non-/ partition isn't mounted" issue doesn't really apply nowadays.

To be honest, /bin and /sbin make sense to me both from the user vs. system split and also that they are about the shortest name they can be that remains somewhat descriptive of their contents.

I've never been too concerned about filing system paths to be honest - the fact that Linux doesn't use ludicrously archaic drive letters for mount points makes it already far superior to Windows already :-)

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