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
3.1. File System Terms
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 care.
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,