>On 26 Jul 2002, at 2:53pm, Kevin D. Clark wrote:
>> However, there used to be a time when user directories used to be
>> placed under /usr.
>  Right.  From what I understand, the embryonic Unix systems were
>single-user machines, with a very few top level directories: /src for
>source, /bin for binaries, /etc for "all that system stuff", /dev for

No, the 1st Unix systems on PDP-11s (Bell Systems Labs Journal volume *mumble*)
were multi user.  They had 2 disks, one fast & small and one larger and
slower.  The slower disk was /usr and less frequently used items went
there.  The faster disk was the home of / bin.  So the frequently used
programs like ed, sed, grep, test, echo, etc.. went there.      

Because of the nature of the system, I think user data also went into /
usr as well.  They were developing the system and supporting Bell Lab's 
patent application writers on the same system.  And they were 
developing things like grep, awk, pcc, and nroff at the time.

>> Then things changed, and everybody started using <other directories>, most
>> notably, /home .

OS upgrades usually mangled stuff in /usr.  So people started putting 
local site stuff out of /usr and even created /usr/local.  Many 3rd 
party vendors continued to put stuff in /usr.  I remember installing 
stuff as late as '94 that did this.

>  /sbin, /opt, and /var are other notable additions.

There were some applications in /etc (ping even?).  /sbin and /usr/sbin
were created to pull them out.  SunOS didn't have sbin for example and
many sysadmin apps were in /etc.  Back in the old days, vendors put
stuff in /usr (this is before pkgadd, rpm, etc). People started creating
a /usr/local.  Solaris came out with the idea of /opt for 3rd party

I am a bit Sun centric here, but I have worked with Irix 4.x/ 5.3, HP-UX
9.x-11 and ultrix in the past too.  I was writing scripts that would get
disk geometry, partitioning, mounts and usage from each system. Beleive
me, every OS has a different program in a different location to deal
with disks.

I think the GNU suite of tools & ./config went a long ways toward 
getting stuff out of /usr and into /usr/local and other areas.  Before 
./config, installing a new package was a bear.  Dig up an old package 
of PBMplus, MH, or Columbia Appletalk (> 150 patches to install).  Even 
ghostscript was a pain until recently.

Tom Buskey

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