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Fedora Plans Changes to Filesystem Hierarchy

Fedora developers, Harald Hoyer and Kay Sievers (both Red Hat employees), are proposing that all executable files are moved into the /usr/bin directory and libraries into /usr/lib or /usr/lib64.

The UsrMove proposal is an:

attempt to clean up the mess that was made when the /sbin and /bin directories were first split off from each other, and would essentially pull in every component of the operating system to a single mounted volume.

Err, they have been split off from each other since the dawn of Unix without any problem.

According to Lennart Poettering:

Having all static, distro-specific, sharable OS in a single dir makes snapshots of the OS independently of its state and configuration truly atomic. In a btrfs world doing 5 snapshots of /lib, /lib64, /bin, /sbin and /usr instead of just one is not atomic, and hence racy, and ugly, and boooh!”

OK, there is maybe some rational to the proposal. All hail btrfs! The argument is that if all binaries and libraries were on such a volume, it would be far simpler to run multiple instances of the operating system on different machines on a network, as well as facilitate the use of snapshots, etc. If this is the case how come Solaris with it’s well-established ZFS filesystem technology has never felt the need to make this change?

Such a change, if implemented, is going to break most custom scripts out there that companies have invested significant resources in developing. It is also going to break standards such as Filesystem Hierarchy (FHS) and Linux Standards Base (LSB). Furthermore, from a security point of view, exposing the current /sbin binaries to regular users is not a good practice.

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