When I run:
I get something like:
-rwxrwxrwx 1 1000 1000 765528 2009-10-15 18:41 file1 drwxr-xr-x 10 1000 1000 4096 2010-12-07 20:50 dir1 drwxr-xr-x 3 1000 1000 4096 2010-10-24 16:57 dir2
What does the second column (the number) mean?
The second column is the number of hard links to the file. For a directory, the number of hard links is the number of immediate subdirectories it has plus its parent directory and itself.
Third nd Fourth Column:
For more information look at this link.
The answers given regarding directories will give the right number, but for the wrong reasons. The number is not a count of the subdirectories plus "." and ".."
The number is actually the same as for a file: the number of hard links to the directory. For example, let us create a new directory:
You can see that the number of links is 2. These links are the name "temp" and the "." directory within temp (aka "temp/.") Not the ".." directory. That is a link to the parent of "temp". Which kind of explains why creating a sub-directory creates a new link. Let's do it:
There are now 3 links to the directory. They are "temp", "temp/." and "subtemp/.." (that is, the ".." directory within "subtemp"). So that's why subdirectories add a link - because they all have a ".." directory referring to the parent.
This field specifies the number of links or directories inside this directory.
You can see the number of links or directories in the Desktop is 6. Let us check it.
Here you can see the links and directories inside the desktop are :
check this link for more info. http://www.go2linux.org/command-ls-file-permissions
This gives the number of links/directories immediately inside this file/directory. For files this number should be 1 and for directories it should be number of directories+2 i.e for . and .. directories