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Organizing Your Home Directory
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4.8 Making Directories Made Easier

In article 4.7 , we told you that you should have lots of directories. Experienced UNIX users are creating new directories all the time. How do you make a directory?

It's easy. Use the mkdir command, followed by the name of your new directory:




This creates the new directory you want. It doesn't necessarily have to be in your current directory. For example:


cd /home/los/mikel


mkdir /src/books/power/articles/files

The only requirements are:

  • The parent of the directory you want to create must exist (in this case, /src/books/power/articles ).

  • You must have write access to the parent directory.

What if the parent directory doesn't already exist? Assume, for example, that /src/books already exists, but the power and articles directories don't. You can make these "by hand," or (on many UNIX systems, and with the GNU version on the CD-ROM) you can add the -p (parents) option:


mkdir -p /src/books/power/articles/files

This tells mkdir to create all the intermediate directories that are needed. So the above command creates three directories:

  1. /src/books/power

  2. /src/books/power/articles

  3. /src/books/power/articles/files

[If your mkdir doesn't have -p , you can use csh or bash history ( 11.2 ) :


mkdir /src/books/power



mkdir /src/books/power/articles


mkdir /src/books/power/articles/files

That's almost as quick. -JP  ]

If you are using System V, you can also supply the "file protection mode" to be assigned to the directory. (By default, the file protection mode is derived from your umask ( 22.4 ) .) To do so, use the -m option. For example:


mkdir -m 755 /src/books/power/articles/files

This creates the directory with access mode 755, which allows the owner to do anything with the directory. Note that this must be a numeric mode; see article 22.1 for an introduction to file and directory protection.

- ML

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