File System Concepts

A file system is a component of Unix that enables the user to view, organize, secure, and interact with files and directories that are located on storage devices. There are different types of file systems within Unix: disk-oriented, network-oriented, and special, or virtual.

  • Disk-oriented (or local) file system—Physically accessible file systems residing on a hard drive, CD-ROM, DVD ROM, USB drive, or other device. Examples include UFS (Unix File System), FAT (File Allocation Table, typically Windows and DOS systems), NTFS (New Technology File System, usually Windows NT, 2000, and XP systems), UDF (Universal Disk Format, typically DVD), HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, such as Mac OS X), ISO9660 (typically CD-ROM), and EXT2 (Extended Filesystem 2).
  • Network-oriented (or network-based) file system—A file system accessed from a remote location. These are usually disk-oriented on the server side, and the clients access the data remotely over the network. Examples include Network File System (NFS), Samba (SMB/CIFS), AFP (Apple Filing Protocol), and WebDAV.
  • Special, or virtual, file system—A file system that typically doesn't physically reside on disk, such as the TMPFS (temporary file system), PROCFS (Process File System), and LOOPBACKFS (the Loopback File System).

This chapter discusses disk-oriented file systems in depth and briefly covers the network-oriented and special file systems. Mac OS X users should keep in mind that, although their file system layout ...

Get Beginning Unix now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.