Fedora ponders merging /usr/bin and /usr/sbin

The split between /bin and /sbin is not useful, and also unused. The original split was to have “important” binaries statically linked in /sbin which could then be used for emergency and rescue operations. Obviously, we don’t do static linking anymore. Later, the split was repurposed to isolate “important” binaries that would only be used by the administrator. While this seems attractive in theory, in practice it’s very hard to categorize programs like this, and normal users routinely invoke programs from /sbin. Most programs that require root privileges for certain operations are also used when operating without privileges. And even when privileges are required, often those are acquired dynamically, e.g. using polkit. Since many years, the default $PATH set for users includes both directories. With the advent of systemd this has become more systematic: systemd sets $PATH with both directories for all users and services. So in general, all users and programs would find both sets of binaries.

↫ Proposal on the Fedora wiki

I think Arch already made this move a while ago, and it seems to make sense to me. There’s a lot of needless, outdated cruft in the directory structure of most Linux distributions that ought to be cleaned up, and it seems a lot more distributions have started taking on this task recently.


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