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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"Then the question has to be why doesn't the organizational requirements of the distro match the software that will be used with it? All bar a few of the other distros manage it..."

That's a good question, with open source software at least one can change the source code and recompile software specifically for the distro. For my distro, I seriously considered doing it, but it became too much work for something that would become an ongoing maintenance burden. Ideally 1) it wouldn't be necessary to modify the source and recompile software in the first place, and 2) one ought to be able to create a singular RPM/DEB which would work across distros. So long as it's necessary to hard code absolute paths in scripts/libraries/binaries, those packages impose legacy paths on the distros which use them. For example, Mint may not have wanted to use the same file system layout as Ubuntu, but since they're using the Ubuntu repositories, they have no choice.

If we migrated to "named resources" instead of absolute paths over time, as I suggested, I think linux app organization would be better off and it would aid distro developers in organizing their file systems as they saw fit.

For the record, it's not a lack of understanding about the current hierarchies, but rather the observation that those hierarchies are based around assumptions about storage which aren't valid for all of us. In other words, it's somewhat of an imposition of third party policy.

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