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I've just noticed a root directory (/build) which I can't seem to find any information for.

It looks like it's some sort of staging ground for PEAR (PHP). There are only two folders of different php versions in it, and each of those has a few PEAR tar files I've installed (via the PEAR command line).

I'm really only asking this question because I find is strange PEAR (and only PEAR) would create its own root directory to store files. Is this normal? Does Ubuntu provide a /build directory for applications to use?

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I guess this link , explains it all .It is PEAR Installer download Directory. – atenz Jun 28 '12 at 8:02
Yup, that's it. Strange it would download into a root directory! (Not /tmp, not ~/something, etc). If you can repeat that as an answer I will accept it. – Paul Jun 28 '12 at 8:09
Ok fine, thanks. – atenz Jun 28 '12 at 8:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As stated in Pear Manual and also explained the same here, it is PEAR Installer download Directory.

$ pear config-show
Configuration (channel
Auto-discover new Channels     auto_discover    <not set>
Default Channel                default_channel
HTTP Proxy Server Address      http_proxy       <not set>
PEAR server [DEPRECATED]       master_server
Default Channel Mirror         preferred_mirror
Remote Configuration File      remote_config    <not set>
PEAR executables directory     bin_dir          /usr/bin
PEAR documentation directory   doc_dir          /usr/share/php/doc
PHP extension directory        ext_dir          /usr/lib/php5/20090626+lfs
PEAR directory                 php_dir          /usr/share/php
PEAR Installer cache directory cache_dir        /tmp/pear/cache
PEAR configuration file        cfg_dir          /usr/share/php/cfg
PEAR data directory            data_dir         /usr/share/php/data
PEAR Installer download        download_dir     /build/buildd/php5-5.3.6/pear-build-download
PHP CLI/CGI binary             php_bin          /usr/bin/php
php.ini location               php_ini          <not set>
--program-prefix passed to     php_prefix       <not set>
PHP's ./configure
--program-suffix passed to     php_suffix       <not set>
PHP's ./configure
PEAR Installer temp directory  temp_dir         /tmp/pear/temp
PEAR test directory            test_dir         /usr/share/php/test
PEAR www files directory       www_dir          /usr/share/php/htdocs
Cache TimeToLive               cache_ttl        3600
Preferred Package State        preferred_state  stable
Unix file mask                 umask            2
Debug Log Level                verbose          1
PEAR password (for             password         <not set>
Signature Handling Program     sig_bin          /usr/bin/gpg
Signature Key Directory        sig_keydir       /etc/pear/pearkeys
Signature Key Id               sig_keyid        <not set>
Package Signature Type         sig_type         gpg
PEAR username (for             username         <not set>
User Configuration File        Filename         /home/cb/.pearrc
System Configuration File      Filename         /etc/pear/pear.conf
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