Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Linux Filesystem Need Not Be Mysterious

by Dietrich Schmitz

As intimidating as the Linux filesystem may appear at first, there is some sensibility to all of those folders you see.  Fear not. (Image Credit Right:

What's good is that you need not focus on any area other than your $HOME folder.

Essentially, every user (Linux is a true multi-user operating system) has his/her very own 'Home' directory structure.  Here is a terminal list of mine:

dietrich@AOD260 ~ $ ls
Desktop    Downloads        Music     Public     Videos
Documents  linux-advocates  Pictures  Templates
dietrich@AOD260 ~ $ pwd
dietrich@AOD260 ~ $ 

Note, the pink 'ls' is to list and 'pwd' is to print the working directory, in this case "/home/dietrich".

It's all very sensible and as you become more comfortable with Linux, you may get more familiar with how the filesystem works in more detail.  But for now, trust, that Linux inherits most of what you see from the venerable Unix operating system.  Unix was designed to be secure, safe, and reliable and has a proven track record in the computer industry of doing major heavy lifting production work.

So, whether you come from Windows or Apple or are just a computer newbie, welcome, and know that you have made a good choice with Linux.  In fact, most often you will seldom need to go out to a terminal as I just did.  I was just being a 'show-off'.

Every Linux Distro will come with its own Filesystem navigation application, like Explorer is to Windows.  In my case, I am using Fuduntu which comes with Gnome Nautilus Elementary.  Here's what opening the home folder looks like:

Gnome Nautilus Elementary on Fuduntu viewing my home folder

It's pretty easy to find your way around in Linux--contrary to popular belief--today it's easier to use than Windows and more flexible.

I'm not going to go into further detail regarding the Linux filesystem today, but will let you watch the above video from NixieDoesLinux.  It's a great way to get introduced to the subject.  Ease into it.  Find your way around, slowly and don't worry.  With time you will be winging your way around the system without giving it a thought.  

You will be fine.  -- Dietrich

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