This chapter is a guided tour of the infrastructure in a functioning Linux system, including the system directories, devices, and the kernel. A large part of the material in this chapter deals with filesystems. When you master the workings of Linux filesystems, you will find it much easier to deal with system crashes, manage software, and accommodate new hardware.


You must do most system configuration and maintenance work as the superuser; this and all remaining chapters assume that you have this capability.

Directory Hierarchy

As mentioned in Chapter 1, your Linux system has a root directory (/). The root contains several subdirectories and possibly a file or two. Keep this area clean; don't ...

Get How Linux Works now with O’Reilly online learning.

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