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3.3.2.1. Making a mess...

... Is not a difficult thing to do. Today almost every system is networked, so naturally files get copied from one machine to another. And especially when working in a graphical environment, creating new files is a piece of cake and is often done without the approval of the user. To illustrate the problem, here's the full content of a new user's directory, created on a standard RedHat system:


[[email protected] user]$ ls -al
total 32
drwx------   3 user     user        4096 Jan 16 13:32 .
drwxr-xr-x   6 root     root        4096 Jan 16 13:32 ..
-rw-r--r--   1 user     user      24 Jan 16 13:32 .bash_logout
-rw-r--r--   1 user     user     191 Jan 16 13:32 .bash_profile
-rw-r--r--   1 user     user     124 Jan 16 13:32 .bashrc
drwxr-xr-x   3 user     user    4096 Jan 16 13:32 .kde
-rw-r--r--   1 user     user    3511 Jan 16 13:32 .screenrc
-rw-------   1 user     user      61 Jan 16 13:32 .xauthDqztLr

On first sight, the content of a "used" home directory doesn't look that bad either:


olduser:~> ls
app-defaults/ crossover/   [email protected]     mp3/      OpenOffice.org638/
articles/     Desktop/     GNUstep/  Nautilus/ staroffice6.0/
bin/          Desktop1/    images/   nqc/      training/
brol/         desktoptest/ [email protected] ns_imap/  webstart/
C/            Documents/   mail/     nsmail/   xml/
closed/       [email protected]       Mail/     office52/ Xrootenv.0

But when all the directories and files starting with a dot are included, there are 185 items in this directory. This is because most applications have their own directories and/or files, containing user-specific settings, in the home directory of that user. Usually these files are created the first time you start an application. In some cases you will be notified when a non-existent directory needs to be created, but most of the time everything is done automatically.

Furthermore, new files are created seemingly continuously because users want to save files, keep different versions of their work, use Internet applications, and download files and attachments to their local machine. It doesn't stop. It is clear that one definitely needs a scheme to keep an overview on things.

In the next section, we will discuss our means of keeping order. We only discuss text tools available to the shell, since the graphical tools are very intuitive and have the same look and feel as the well known point-and-click MS Windows-style file managers, including graphical help functions and other features you expect from this kind of applications. The following list is an overview of the most popular file managers for GNU/Linux. Most file managers can be started from the menu of your desktop manager, or by clicking your home directory icon, or from the command line, issuing these commands:

These applications are certainly worth giving a try and usually impress newcomers to Linux, if only because there is such a wide variety: these are only the most popular tools for managing directories and files, and many other projects are being developed. Now let's find out about the internals and see how these graphical tools use common UNIX commands.

Introducing Linux
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