[TUHS] Understanding the /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin Split

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Wed Feb 1 19:26:39 AEST 2012

> http://www.osnews.com/story/25556/Understanding_the_bin_sbin_usr_bin_usr_sbin_Split

Cute, but most of the history is wrong.

The distinction between /bin and /usr/bin is true - / held the things
need to boot the system. Other things were on /usr.

The Berkeley guys did NOT invent shared libraries.  Shared libraries as
we know them came originally from Sun, on SunOS 4.x for sure, possibly
on SunOS 3.x. (Larry?)  Many commercial vendors adopted the design (Ultrix,
I think, and maybe others) and finally around 4.4 they found their way into
"pure" BSD.

/home and /opt came into the picture circa 1989 with SVR4 when Berkeley,
AT&T and Sun (and maybe a few others?) got together to standardize the
layout and make diskless booting possbile and reasonable with NFS sharing
of home directories. /sbin & /usr/sbin came into the picture at this
point also, to hold executables that until then had lived in /etc. The
idea was that /etc should only have per-machine configuration files.

The general point of the article and of some of the postings, that the
proliferation doesn't make a lot of sense today, is well taken. The
Bell Labs guys themselves recognized this when they did Plan 9.

The problem is even worse on 64 bit Linux systems, which can handle
two different architectures. /lib and /lib64 confuse a lot of the
older 'configure' programs.

Personally, I hate reading articles by "experts" where 85% of the facts
are wrong.  I lived through all of it, and I know better... :-)


More information about the TUHS mailing list