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How to understand the Ubuntu file system layout?

I am very new to Ubuntu and Linux and looking to learn Ubuntu/Linux. Which book should I buy to learn file system in Ubuntu in particular and Linux in general?

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marked as duplicate by Jorge Castro, izx, jokerdino, con-f-use, Jjed Aug 23 '12 at 19:33

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I noted your question is specifically about a book but you might want to look at this question on AU…. It has lots of useful information about the files system and links to official Ubuntu documentation. – stephenmyall Jul 19 '12 at 20:23
Top Tip: Good, seminal, books were written about UNIX, so authors often don't duplicate that essential wisdom for Linux. Any book on UNIX is 95% relevant to a Linux newbie. – JW. Apr 28 at 15:22
Here's how I did it. Foundation: (1) Get core understanding of *Nix by printing/reading the article that introduced Unix to the world in 1974: The UNIX Time- Sharing System by Dennis M. Ritchie & Ken Thompson - Bell Laboratories. (2) Search, find, print & read the "Filesystem Hierarchy Standard" (actual Standard, not just the Wiki page). Practice: (3) A book by Sander van Vugt called "Beginning Ubuntu LTS Server Administration" is very useful. He introduces files & directories as each topic is introduced. Now the key areas make sense. – JW. Apr 28 at 15:40
up vote 12 down vote accepted

There are several fantastic books that have been released on an open or creative commons licence and will give you a really good understanding of Linux and its filesystem- they are so good that I have never needed to buy a textbook:

  • For Ubuntu, you could start with the Ubuntu manual, which is bang up to date for 12.04. The Ubuntu pocket guide is useful for general concepts and principles, but does not cover more recent versions of Ubuntu from the last few years.

  • However, for a deep understanding of the filesystem, package management and system administration, the Debian Handbook is incredibly detailed and interesting, as Ubuntu is based on Debian.

  • In Unix as a whole, it is often said that everything is a file,and an older book such as Rute explains this well. It is well respected as a good Linux textbook and contains a full copy of the official specification of the Linux Filesystem Hierarchy. However, while that section is still very relevant, the book as a whole has not been updated since 2001, so it is best to use it for background information, and always refer to Ubuntu practice before copying any commands from there.

  • For Linux and the command line, I have learned a huge amount from this book; it is extremely well written and gives clear examples when explaining any difficult concepts. It really explains how Linux, its filesystem, and tools fit together. It is definitely worth reading all 500 pages plus!

  • A standalone copy of the official filesystem specification (2004) is available at the Linux Documentation Project, and this tutorial and summary also goes into some relevant general detail.

  • Finally, entering man hier in your terminal will give you a valuable summary of the filesystem hierarchy and is indeed a very useful basic reference guide that comes in handy when you want to quickly look up various aspects of the hierarchy.

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There are a lot of excellent books out there. When I decided to switch to Ubuntu, I went ahead and bought Ubuntu Linux For Dummies, and Linux For Dummies. For more details, I got Ubuntu Unleashed 2012 Edition.

You probably will be able to find these books and others at your local library. For a quick cheat- sheet you ma print this Simple Chest-Sheet.

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