Linked by Kevin Adams on Fri 9th May 2003 23:04 UTC
Linux "Lately, there has been lots of discussion on the current state of Linux as a desktop system, and articles pop up here and there, occasionally with very good ideas. However, none have surprised me more than this one. It was all very hyphothetical, but had pretty radical ideas on how the author thought the Linux directory tree should be reorganized." Read more about GoboLinux, a Linux distro that uses a new style directory tree at
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by Rayiner Hashem on Sat 10th May 2003 15:19 UTC

Actually, I'd argue that the key to success on home desktops is widespread acceptance on corporate desktops. Most people who use computers both at home and at work got their computer skills at work. They most likely bought a computer so they could do work at home. Thus, at home, they use whatever they use at work. Let me give a concrete example. In the early 1990's, there were lots of home users that used WordPerfect. In the late 1990's, many of them had been forced to switch to Word. Why? Because the government mandated that all business with it be done with Word files, and offices that did business with the government were forced to switch to word. When those businesses switched, so did home users.

As for the merits of the UNIX FHS, they've been proven long ago. However, nobody has really given a good technical arguement for the merits of any of these alternatives. In particular, I have yet to hear a single specific reason why the Windows hierarchy, for example, is any easier than the UNIX one.

To be blunt, most of the supporters of these alternate arrangements are simply pushing what they're used to. Is /Programs really easier than /usr/bin? Think about that. Understanding what "/Programs" means requires a whole bunch of computer knowledge. It requires understanding the "file" abstraction. It requires understanding that their is a file hierarchy. It requires understanding the idea of programs vs user data. It requires understanding the idea of a program installation. Once you teach somebody all that information, simply having an obvious name like "Programs" vs a less obvious name like "/usr/bin" really saves no time at all. Now consider the organizational structure. UNIX likes to place each type of file in its one place. Most of these alternatives like to group all program files in one directory. Is the latter really a more natural structure? I remember hearing the joke about the new computer user who reorganized all her files into seperate directories for each file extension. Further, think about how you organize things in real life. If you're organizing tools, you put all the screwdrivers together, all the wrenches together, all the drills together, etc. You could very well do it differently, by arranging sets of related tools. You could put a wrench of a given size together with all the bolts and nuts of the same size, etc. But how may people do to latter vs the former?