NOTE: CentOS Enterprise Linux is built from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code. Other than logo and name changes CentOS Enterprise Linux is compatible with the equivalent Red Hat version. This document applies equally to both Red Hat and CentOS Enterprise Linux.
Chapter 3. Managing Files and
This chapter explores the general format of your Red Hat
Enterprise Linux file system. It bridges the differences between
using Nautilus to manage the files on
your system and using a shell prompt to manage them. It does not go
into the minute details of using a shell prompt; those will be
covered in Chapter 4 Shell Prompt
Basics. This chapter orients you to the system as a whole,
and then you can choose which method of management you prefer.
Due to system security, unless you are root, you are not allowed
to gain access to all system-level files and directories. If you do
not have the permission to open, delete, or execute a file, an
error message is displayed showing your access has been denied.
This is normal behavior and is used to prevent non-privileged users
from modifying or deleting important system files.
3.1. File System
Below are a few terms to know before we begin our discussion of
the file system.
An extension is that part of a filename that is found after the
final ".". In the filename foo.txt ".txt"
is the file's extension. Extensions are used to indicate file
A path is the string of directories and sub-directories you
would have to navigate through in order to reach a given location
in the file system.
- root access (or root privileges)
To have root access means to be logged in using the root
account. This can be done from the main login screen, a shell
prompt, or any application that requires your root password. Root
access means that the user has permission to do anything on the system, so use root access with
- root directory
The root directory is the top-most directory of the file system.
All other files and directories exist in this directory or one of
its sub-directories. Do not confuse the root directory, /, with
root's home directory, /root/.