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What is a pathname?

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You can refer to any file in any directory on the system by using its pathname. A pathname is a string of characters that describes what directory the file is in, as well as the name of the file.

The pathname of a file in the current working directory is just the name of the file by itself. For example, when you first log in, the current working directory is your home directory. If you create a file called foo in that directory, you can refer to it simply as foo.

Files that are in a different directory than the current working directory can be referred to by three different methods:

  1. An absolute pathname describes another directory in a way that does not depend on where you are.
  2. A relative pathname describes some other directory's relocation relative to the current working directory.

Next: Changing your current working directory
See also: How to organize large collections of files
Previous: What is the Unix file tree?
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John Shipman,
Last updated: 1995/12/04 19:39:34 UT
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