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Filesystem organization

From: Unix for Mac OS X Users

Video: Filesystem organization

Now that we have gone over the basics of working with the file system, we know how to view the files and directories and our present working directory and how to move around the file system, I want to stop and take a look at the big picture for what the file system looks like and how it's organized, because there is a very standard way that Unix goes about organizing it and Mac OS X then has its own sort of version of that. So in a typical Unix organization, you have the root of the hard drive, we saw that with just simply the slash, and inside the root there is typically several folders. bin which is where the binaries or programs are stored.

Filesystem organization

Now that we have gone over the basics of working with the file system, we know how to view the files and directories and our present working directory and how to move around the file system, I want to stop and take a look at the big picture for what the file system looks like and how it's organized, because there is a very standard way that Unix goes about organizing it and Mac OS X then has its own sort of version of that. So in a typical Unix organization, you have the root of the hard drive, we saw that with just simply the slash, and inside the root there is typically several folders. bin which is where the binaries or programs are stored.

These are Unix programs, not programs like Photoshop and Microsoft Word. Those are Mac applications. These are Unix programs. Sbin is for system binary, system program that it uses. dev is where there are references and files for different devices like hard drives keyboard, mouse, etcetera. /etc which is also pronounced as etcetera or "easy" by some people. That's where system configurations go. Then there is home, which is where user home directories go. On most Unix systems once you log in, you will be placed into a folder inside the home. That's where your files and folders would live. Not on Mac but on most Unix systems.

Lib is a place for storing libraries of code that need to be referred to various programs. tmp is temporary, that's for temporary files, things that you don't mind if someone comes in and wipes the file away. You won't miss it. That's where you would put in tmp. And then var is for various, mostly files that the system uses. Then there is usr, which is short for user and that's where the user would put programs tools and libraries, not their files. Their files would be in their home directory, but the programs that they would have installed just for them, they put those in the usr directory, not in the system bin.

There would be things that are for the users in the usr bin. Most players of Unix are going to adhere to this basic structure. They may make small changes here and there and maybe add a folder, take away a folder, but it's basically the same file structure and for putting things in the right place. On the Mac though there are some additional files that you should know about. Most of them are probably familiar to you. There are Applications, Library, Network, System, Users, and Volumes and it's kind of self-explanatory what all of those are. Just notice that the Applications and Library are for Mac programs, not Unix programs, Mac programs and Library is for Mac libraries of code.

We have a separate place for putting the libraries that Unix needs. These are just libraries that are used by Mac applications. System is where Mac OS X itself lives, and then Users is what it uses for its home directory. It does not use /home to put the user directories. It puts them all in /Users. Notice these are all capitalized. These are also all visible to you. If you go to the root of the hard drive in the Finder you will see them. The other ones are not. It's been told to hide them from you. Even though they are not .files names, it's still has said, these are some basic configuration files that Unix uses and the Mac user doesn't normally need to see those.

If they need to see it from the command line, they will still see it, but from the Finder we are going to hide them. There are also these dot files we talked about before. .DS_Store holds folder view options and icon positions that exists in a lot of your directories. You will see that in lot of places. Sometimes you will see .MacOSX. That's just the directory for Mac OS X to store some options. .Trash we talked about is the user trash and then two that you might see pop up here and there which are .hotfiles.btree and .Spotlight-V100.

Leave those alone if you see them. These are used by Spotlight or Mac OS X to quickly organize things. It's to better index and find files, things that it's going to need often. So that gives you sort of the big picture. You also have both of these in your Mac OS X. You have the Unix one and then you also have the Mac one sitting side by side. So if you want to surf around, you can go in the command line, you can use cd to move around, poke about, see what's in all these different directories. You will see that the Mac one does make some customizations to the original one. There are few things that are different but for the most part this is sort of what you can expect.

You can expect that the Unix one is going to exist on most Unix systems and Mac is going to add these other files in there. So hopefully that will just demystify it for you a little bit and get you a little bit familiar with where different code is going to live.

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This video is part of

Image for Unix for Mac OS X Users
Unix for Mac OS X Users

82 video lessons · 25445 viewers

Kevin Skoglund
Author

 
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  1. 3m 57s
    1. Introduction
      1m 14s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 43s
  2. 32m 2s
    1. What is Unix?
      7m 27s
    2. The terminal application
      4m 23s
    3. Logging in and using the command prompt
      5m 19s
    4. Command structure
      5m 22s
    5. Kernel and shells
      5m 25s
    6. Unix manual pages
      4m 6s
  3. 15m 58s
    1. The working directory
      2m 49s
    2. Listing files and directories
      3m 59s
    3. Moving around the filesystem
      4m 58s
    4. Filesystem organization
      4m 12s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. Naming files
      5m 41s
    2. Creating files
      2m 19s
    3. Unix text editors
      6m 39s
    4. Reading files
      5m 35s
    5. Reading portions of files
      3m 27s
    6. Creating directories
      2m 40s
    7. Moving and renaming files and directories
      8m 32s
    8. Copying files and directories
      3m 7s
    9. Deleting files and directories
      3m 38s
    10. Finder aliases in Unix
      4m 10s
    11. Hard links
      5m 30s
    12. Symbolic links
      6m 36s
    13. Searching for files and directories
      6m 32s
  5. 34m 58s
    1. Who am I?
      4m 3s
    2. Unix groups
      1m 52s
    3. File and directory ownership
      6m 41s
    4. File and directory permissions
      4m 27s
    5. Setting permissions using alpha notation
      6m 49s
    6. Setting permissions using octal notation
      3m 49s
    7. The root user
      1m 57s
    8. sudo and sudoers
      5m 20s
  6. 52m 34s
    1. Command basics
      4m 4s
    2. The PATH variable
      4m 13s
    3. System information commands
      3m 40s
    4. Disk information commands
      6m 8s
    5. Viewing processes
      5m 0s
    6. Monitoring processes
      3m 36s
    7. Stopping processes
      3m 19s
    8. Text file helpers
      6m 50s
    9. Utility programs
      7m 28s
    10. Using the command history
      8m 16s
  7. 20m 39s
    1. Standard input and standard output
      1m 24s
    2. Directing output to a file
      4m 13s
    3. Appending to a file
      2m 44s
    4. Directing input from a file
      5m 28s
    5. Piping output to input
      4m 40s
    6. Suppressing output
      2m 10s
  8. 41m 28s
    1. Profile, login, and resource files
      9m 11s
    2. Setting command aliases
      6m 59s
    3. Setting and exporting environment variables
      4m 54s
    4. Setting the PATH variable
      6m 10s
    5. Configuring history with variables
      6m 17s
    6. Customizing the command prompt
      6m 5s
    7. Logout file
      1m 52s
  9. 1h 25m
    1. grep: Searching for matching expressions
      5m 21s
    2. grep: Multiple files, other input
      4m 28s
    3. grep: Coloring matched text
      2m 57s
    4. Introduction to regular expressions
      3m 22s
    5. Regular expressions: Basic syntax
      3m 19s
    6. Using regular expressions with grep
      5m 20s
    7. tr: Translating characters
      8m 17s
    8. tr: Deleting and squeezing characters
      5m 30s
    9. sed: Stream editor
      7m 45s
    10. sed: Regular expressions and back-references
      7m 8s
    11. cut: Cutting select text portions
      7m 42s
    12. diff: Comparing files
      4m 35s
    13. diff: Alternative formats
      4m 30s
    14. xargs: Passing argument lists to commands
      7m 25s
    15. xargs: Usage examples
      7m 59s
  10. 42m 25s
    1. Finder integration
      4m 45s
    2. Clipboard integration
      5m 5s
    3. Screen capture
      3m 42s
    4. Shut down, reboot, and sleep
      3m 34s
    5. Text to speech
      2m 36s
    6. Spotlight integration: Searching metadata
      3m 41s
    7. Spotlight integration: Metadata attributes
      4m 24s
    8. Using AppleScript
      5m 23s
    9. System configurations: Viewing and setting
      5m 51s
    10. System configurations: Examples
      3m 24s
  11. 1m 26s
    1. Conclusion
      1m 26s

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