21.1 The Standard Linux Directory Structure

Debian can install files almost anywhere within the filesystem, except for /usr/local. The Debian Policy Manual and the FSB (Filesystem Base) definition provide guidelines on what goes where.

  • /usr/local contains programs and data files that have been added locally to the system, independently of the particular GNU/Linux distribution. These are intended to be kept separate from the main system directories that are managed by the distribution.

  • /var contains administrative files (such as system logs) and data that changes frequently (such as spool directories and caches like incoming mail and news).

Other file managers for GNU/Linux are also available, including the KDE offering, Konqueror, and the Midnight Commander which has a long history and provides both a GNOME interface and a terminal interface (for those not into GUIs).



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