Root Directory in Linux File System

By: Clyde Boom

When you are a new Linux OS (operating system) user starting to get Linux training, you may become frustrated by Linux documentation that uses several different terms to refer to the same thing - or to a similar thing.

To help put an end this Linux frustration, this article describes the terms: / (root directory) and /root (the home directory of the root user) and root user, in relation to one another.

We are going to focus on describing the / (root) directory and then briefly describe the /root home directory and the root user.

Linux Tips: Articles names ending in "Linux Concepts & Terms" will help you learn how to use Linux "geek-speak". By learning Linux terms you will be able to understand Linux concepts and from this, you will learn how to use Linux! Understanding Linux concepts is the foundation for your Linux training.

The / (Root) Directory in the Linux File System

The root directory in the Linux file system is represented by a / (forwared slash). Think of this as being the root of a tree.

There are several directories that are always created by default on a Linux system, such as the directories named: home, bin and var.

And each of these directories always contains the same "type" of programs or data files.

Think of the directories located "off of" the root directory as being branches off of the root of the / (root) directory in the Linux file system.

Linux Tips: In some Linux documentation, the Linux "file system" is also often shown as "filesystem" (one word).

When you run Linux commands or use Linux documentation, there are times when you need to specify the full path (a.k.a. absolute path) to a directory or file. And when specifying the full path to a directory or file on a Linux system, you always specify the path, starting from the root directory.

The Linux Filesystem Hierarchy is defined in a document that outlines the requirements and guidelines for the placement of directories and files for the Linux OS (operating system).

Linux Tips: Just do an Internet search for "linux filesystem hierarchy" to see this document.

Similar Linux Terms: / (root) directory in the Linux file system , /root (the home directory of the root user) and root user

The /root Directory - The root User's Home directory

There is a directory named "root", which is located directly "off of" the / (root) directory. This is the "home" directory of the root user. The path of: /root is the full path to this directory.

The root User - Used for Linux System Administration

The root user has all permissions (rights and capabilities) to all of a Linux system. This user is used for Linux system administration.

Linux Tips: If you are using Ubuntu Linux, the root user is locked and is unusable (or disabled). To work as the root user and run Linux system administration commands, you need to run the Linux sudo command (along with the system administration commands)Article Submission, rather than logging in as root - or using the su command to log in as root.

Think of how easy it will be to learn how to use Linux when you are watching all these Linux terms and concepts being clearly described in a Linux video tutorial!

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