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What is the Unix file tree?

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In `What is a directory?', we learned that a directory is a container that can hold files and also other directories. If directory B lives in directory A, directory B is said to be a subdirectory of A.

The entire file structure is sometimes referred to as the file tree or directory tree. The files are like "leaves" and the directories are like places where branches join.

Any file or directory can be referred to by its pathname, which gives directions for traveling around the tree to get to a given place.

There is a unique directory called the root directory that is the parent of all other files and directories. Every file on the system lives either in the root directory, or in a subdirectory of the root, or in a subdirectory of a subdirectory of the root, and so forth.

Next: What is a pathname?
See also: How to organize large collections of files
Previous: What is a directory?
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John Shipman,
Last updated: 1995/12/04 19:39:34 UT
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