04. The Linux File System pwd, ls, cd

What is a File System?

Computers organize their files using a tree-like structure known as a file system.

Linux has a single file tree system, which starts with the root directory (/). On a Windows, the "root" would be something like C:\.

The following image shows what a Linux File System would look like.

UNIX file structure
The Linux file system

Everything in Linux is a file

In Linux, almost everything is represented as a file (or directory) on the File System. This includes USB devices and hard disks, which are stored under /dev.

Naming files

A filename can contain uppercase or lowercase letters, numbers and most punctuation characters. Note that filenames are case sensitive!

Special characters

Some files begin with a dot (.) and are used for configuration settings. Others can end with a tilden (~), denoting that it is a backup file. Furthermore, we'll see how we can use ? and * to denote special cases when we learn about wildcards and globbing. Although you can name your files with these symbols, it's highly not recommended.

Checking your Current Directory

You can check to see where you are along this file system with the pwd command (short for "print working directory").

$ pwd

Here, we can see that we are in our FunStuff directory, which is within our Dropbox folder.

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