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Beginners Guides: Linux Part 1: Getting Familiar

Beginners Guides: Linux Part 1: Getting Familiar - PCSTATS
Abstract: Since its creation in 1991 by Linus Torvalds to the present day, Linux has been half operating system and half symbol. PCSTATS introduces you to Linux in this, the first part of a 3-part series focusing on Linux.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Apr 21 2008   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS Beginners Guides

Major Linux differences take 1: The file system

Probably the single most confusing thing for new Linux users is the file system. By this we mean the way files are stored, indexed and accessed on the hard drive and other media. If you've gotten used to the Microsoft Windows/DOS file systems (FAT32 and NTFS) you may be in for a bit of disorientation here. There are no familiar drive letters now, no c:, d:, etc. and no 'my computer' to provide a comforting overview of everything. The Linux virtual file system (VFS) works quite a bit differently; here's a quick overview:

In both Linux and Windows, the idea of the ROOT directory is important, though less so in Windows than in Linux. The ROOT is the base of your entire file system, the origin of all directories, etc. Now in Windows, every drive and piece of removable media has its own root directory, (c:, d:, e:, etc.) with folders and directories branching off it.

In Linux, there is one central ROOT directory and every device and file in the computer can be located somewhere branching off it. This is the Virtual File System, in which all devices and data (even drives using different file systems) are assembled together into one large branching directory.

Think of it like this. In windows, each drive is its own tree, with its branches being the files and folders contained within it. In Linux VFS, there is only one, much larger tree and everything (including hardware, drivers etc.) is contained somewhere within its branches.

When hard drives or removable media devices are added to a Windows system, a new drive letter is created (d:,e: etc.), and that drive letter is used to access and store data on that device.

When you add a new hard drive or removable media device to a Linux system, a directory is created (or activated) through which the data on that device can be accessed. This process is known as mounting the drive or device. Essentially, you tell the operating system that all the files on the device can be accessed by going to x directory. Like recent versions of Windows, most modern Linux variants (including the version of Knoppix we are using now) will perform this mounting operation automatically.

Now let's take a look at the directory structure of Linux and some of the more important built-in directories. Click the Konqueror browser program link on the taskbar ( a blue planet with metal spikes coming out of it)

In the address bar, type '/'

This brings you to the root of the Linux file system. The various directories pictured make up the entirety of the operating system and user files, including hardware drivers.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS Beginners Guides
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Linux Part 1: Getting Familiar
 Pg 2.  Is Linux is the same as Windows then?
 Pg 3.  Linux KDE Desktop
 Pg 4.  — Major Linux differences take 1: The file system
 Pg 5.  Various folders
 Pg 6.  Your 'home' Directory
 Pg 7.  Knoppix home directory
 Pg 8.  Setting up network connections with Knoppix Linux

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