Joe Kelsey writes:
 > When the BSD started, they tried to distinguish between /usr/local and
 > /usr/public, but that never took hold.  Certainly, when GNU
 > distributions started, the FSF very quickly took up the then default
 > (from the long history of standardized distributions in the moderated
 > unix source newsgroups, both before and after the great renaming) usage
 > of /usr/local as the place for network distributed software packages.

Just as a clarification of the history of the file system hierarchy.
BSD started the habit of putting stuff in different directories.  4.2
included /usr/ucb, /usr/local and /usr/public.  /usr/public never really
caught on as a place to put officially, locally supported software
because the default permissions as shipped from Berkeley was 777.
Berkeley used it as a catch-all for anything anyone wanted to make
available for public consumption (this was an extension of the /usr/pub
directory in V6/V7).

Because of the default permissions and the problems associated with
keeping it safe locally, /usr/public eventually fell out of use.

Basically, /usr/local is for anything the local administration wants to
officially support.  The ports use of this (and by extension,
pre-compiled ports (packages)) is thus completely justified.


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