Where are executables for programs stored in Ubuntu?

An application (Komodo Edit) is asking me to identify an application to be used as a web browser. I've become used to just entering the application name as a command for situations such as these, but this scenario got me thinking.

I know in Windows it would just be the relevant application folder in the 'program files' folder, but I'm assuming things are a bit different on Linux?

I thought somewhere like bin would be logical but this appears to standard Linux/Unix applications. Where would I find the binary executable for applications stored on my system?

4 Answers 4


The complete answer is to check out the Filesystem Hierachy Standard documentation on what stuff goes where.

But in your case, if you want to know where a particular executable is (for example firefox) use

which firefox

And you will get the full path like this

  • 2
    Filesystem Hierachy Standard... interesting... I won't be going through it with a fine-tooth comb, but its definitely good to know about it... It has given me another notch of insight into Linux...
    – Peter.O
    Oct 21, 2010 at 12:17

Applications installed through the package manager usually go to /usr/bin. Applications you compile yourself go to /usr/local/bin/ unless you explicitly set a different prefix when compiling.

You can find out where a specific application lives by typing which application_name into the terminal. E.g. which firefox will print /usr/bin/firefox (if you're using firefox from the Ubuntu packages).


A good CLI commad for this kind of questions is:

whereis <nameofwhatever>

or, of course which (see below)

  • 4
    This will find files named <nameofwhatever> which may or may not be executables. Some may even be directories. You should use which in place of whereis. Oct 21, 2010 at 11:47
  • Full ACK for standard installations (that we all hopefully have).
    – Takkat
    Oct 21, 2010 at 12:32

You can also try this if you're looking for the executable from a package name:

dpkg -L firefox

This will list all files owned by firefox. To get the executables, pass it through further processing

dpkg -L firefox | while IFS=$'\n' read -r line; do
    [[ -x "${line#*:}" ]] && echo "$line"

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