Fedora Goes Against the Linux Standard Base, Restructures the Filesystem

Since its early days, Linux has followed a stringent filesystem structure, one that is a tad obscure. Finally, the Fedora project has dared to step away from this arcane system and wants to get things right. The vital files in a Linux filesystem are arranged across various directories and sometimes, this gets redundant. Fedora project aims to consolidate all of this into a well-defined structure, even though this goes against the structure defined by the  Linux Standard Base.


The Linux Standard base is an effort by Linux distributions to standardize the Linux system structure. It is  best explained as,

The Linux Standard Base was created to lower the overall costs of supporting the Linux platform. By reducing the differences between individual Linux distributions, the LSB greatly reduces the costs involved with porting applications to different distributions, as well as lowers the cost and effort involved in after-market support of those applications.

The Linux filesystem suffers from redundancy in naming of directories. There are four directions in Linux, /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin, all with similar names. This is just for starters and there are many such directories.

A comment on Slashdot says,

Once upon a time discs were small, so that /usr would be mounted separately from the root partition. So /bin and /lib are small directories containing as much of the operating system as you need to get going before you mount /usr and get everything else.

The situation has changed today and most of the times, all these directories are put on the same partitions with the exception of the /boot directory. Perhaps, in wake of all the object-oriented concepts where systems are thought of in terms of data flow, the structuring of the Linux filesystem cannot be justified. However, it is intact and functional from a system-level.

This effort to polish the Linux filesystem will have to overcome many stumbling blocks. The filesystem has stayed for well over 30 years now. The proposal to restructure the filesystem appears on  this Fedora project page. If this change goes through, this will be the first such change in the history of Linux filesystem. It will make the  Linux Standard Base flexible and allow it to adapt to newer changes better.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. He rants occasionally at TomsVPN.com. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.