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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

Technical documentation

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hier — file system hierarchy


The HP-UX file system is a hierarchical tree organized for administrative convenience. Within the file-system tree structure, distinct areas are provided for files that are private to one machine, files that can be shared by machines, and home directories.

There are two types of files that are shared: those that can be shared by multiple machines of a common architecture, and those that can be shared by all machines. This organization allows sharable files to be stored on one machine (the server), but accessed by many machines (clients).

The following diagram illustrates the file system layout. Note that there are many directories that are not in this diagram, but are discussed below.

Diagram of Directory Layout

|---- dev | |---- bin |---- etc | |---- bin | |---- ccs ------ | |---- usr ------ | |---- lib / --- | |---- lib |---- sbin | | |---- sbin |---- var | | |---- lbin |---- home | | |---- include |---- dict |---- opt | | | |---- share ----- |---- lib |---- (export) | |---- man

The following listing discusses a representative HP-UX directory hierarchy. Some HP-UX applications may add additional directories, which are not shown.


Root directory.


Special files (block and character device files); see mknod(1M).


Host-specific configuration and administration databases.


Directory for application-specific configuration files. (Configuration information for optional packages.)


Startup configuration files.


Default root of exported file systems. Server only.


Default root for user directories.


Storage directory for connecting detached files; for use by fsck(1M).


Mounting point for local file systems.


Mounting point for remote file systems.


Root of subtree for optional application packages.


Essential system commands. Essential commands are defined as executables that are needed to boot the system and mount the file systems. A full complement of utilities is available only after /usr is mounted.


Startup and shutdown scripts.


Link files to scripts in /sbin/init.d for entering or leaving run level 0.


Link files to scripts in /sbin/init.d for entering or leaving run level 1.


Link files to scripts in /sbin/init.d for entering or leaving run level 2.


Link files to scripts in /sbin/init.d for entering or leaving run level 3.


Standalone binaries and kernel configuration files.


System-generated temporary files; generally cleared during the boot operation.


Mount point for sharable user and system administration commands, libraries and documentation.


Primary location for common utilities and user commands.


C compilation system. Tools and libraries used to generate C programs.


Development binaries; includes cc, make, strings, etc.


Development libraries.


Development backends.


Kernel configuration files.


Directory for user-contributed (unsupported, internal) commands, files, etc. Files in this directory come from outside the local site or organization (for example, from users groups or HP service engineers).


User-contributed commands.


User-contributed include files.


User-contributed libraries.


User-contributed man pages.


Included header files, for C and other programs. Some subdirectories are listed below.


Machine-specific C include files.


C include files for Network File System (NFS).


Kernel related C-language header files.


Directory for backend executables to other commands. A backend executable is an executable that is generally not invoked directly by the user.


Program libraries, object code and architecture-dependent databases.


Directory for Native Language Support.


Directory for site-local commands, files, etc. Files under this directory come from inside the local site or organization. See /usr/contrib for non-local unsupported commands and files.


Site-local commands.


Site-local libraries.


Site-local man pages.


Default operating system configuration data files. This directory is a directory hierarchy mirroring /. New versions of customizable configuration files and databases are shipped here so as not to overwrite current versions. Files in this directory are copied to regular locations for newly installed systems. System administrators may wish to keep them for later reference.


Files and programs that are being phased out or are obsolete.


System administration commands.


Architecture-independent sharable files.


Dictionaries for spell and ispell.


Miscellaneous sharable libraries.


Online documentation.


Root of subtree for "varying" files. These are files that are created at runtime and can grow to an arbitrary size. Some examples include log, temporary, transient, and spool files.


System administrative files, such as log files and accounting files. Some of the subdirectories are listed below.


For saving kernel crash dumps.


Directory for cron(1M) queuing.


Default location for software distribution depot.


Log files generated by syslog. See syslog(3C) and syslogd(1M).


Incoming mail.


Local-system news articles for news(1).


Root of subtree for varying files associated with optional software packages.


Place where ex(1) and vi(1) save lost edit sessions until recovered.


Files created when daemons are running. For example, the process ID (PID) file for syslogd, syslog.pid, is put here.


Miscellaneous directories for printer spooling, mail delivery, cron(1M), etc.


cron(1M) and at(1) spooling files.


Printer spool files.


Outgoing mail and log files containing messages from the mail system.


UUCP spool directory.


Application-generated temporary files. This directory generally is not cleared between system reboots.


UUCP administration files.


Some directories include commands or files not supported on all HP-UX implementations.

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