File system architecture in UNIX

Dell Fluid File System
The UNIX file system is composed of two types of entities: files and directories. Every file and every directory has a pathname which indicates where that file or directory lives.

Files

Files store information. There are many types of files. Two of the more common types are text files, which you read, and executable files, which you run. If you choose the option "Save As..." at the bottom of this window, a dialog box will appear and prompt you for a "Name for saved document:". If you type in a name and choose "OK, " a text file will be created under the name you provided.

Files with names starting with a period (i.e. .xstartup) are invisible in normal UNIX use. You can see them by using a variation of the ls command. Just don't delete them. They are there (and invisible) for a reason. Filenames in UNIX generally do not contain embedded spaces. If you end up with a filename with embedded spaces, you can refer to it by enclosing the name in double quotes.

Directories

Directories organize files and other directories, creating the tree structure of UNIX. When you login to your account, you arrive in your personal home directory, the root of your personal section of the UNIX file system tree. Your home directory, in turn, is a subdirectory within other directories in the file system.

Pathnames

Files and directories are specified by pathnames. The pathname of a file indicates its location in the filesystem. Two files can have the same name as long as their pathnames are different. If you choose the option "Save As..." at the bottom of this window, the dialog box asking you for a filename will automatically fill in the pathname of your home directory. An example of a pathname for a user's home directory is /usr/jpower. The pathname for that user's mail directory might then be /usr/jpower/Mail. When you tell UNIX to look for a text file, it checks for that file in the current directory. If the file is in another directory, you must supply the pathname to the file. UNIX Survival home page

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