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Re: Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) and NetBSD

Jeff Licquia <> writes:

> (Sorry if this isn't the proper list for this discussion.  If not,
> please point me in the right direction.)

It's the right list.

> The Linux Foundation's LSB workgroup has taken over maintenance of the
> Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, and is working on a number of updates
> needed since its last release in 2004.
> Despite all the "Linux" in the names above, we're wanting to make sure
> that the FHS remains independent of any particular UNIX
> implementation, and continues to be useful to non-Linux UNIXes.

I've only been dimly paying attention, but the lotion that the LSB FHS
is about other than Linux is news to me.

> My question to you is: do you consider the FHS to be relevant to
> current and future development of NetBSD?  If not, is this simply due
> to lack of maintenance; would your interest in the FHS be greater with
> more consistent updates?

I had viewed it as not that relevant, but more because it seemed to be
about documenting Linux practice than due to lack of updates.

BSD has had a filesystem layout standard that is perhaps similar in
scope, dating to before Linux.  Our man page says it is from Version 7
(but I only remember it from the 4.2BSD days).

In addition, pkgsrc has a notion of where things go, which is slightly
different.  The base system has /usr/share/man, and pkgsrc has
/usr/pkg/man instead of /usr/pkg/share/man (and similarly for info).

> If you are interested, consider this an invitation to
> participate. We've set up a mailing list, Web site, etc., and are
> reviving the old bug tracker.  More details can be found here:

I don't see how a layout standard can cover both the BSD and Linux
worlds at the same time, unless it has variants.  (And then there's
Solaris and others.)

If the FHS described not the base system but how programs in a new
prefix (like /usr/pkg) are laid out, then I could see it being
multi-OS.  But it seems a lot of the value is in making sure the base
various GNU/Linux distributions are the same so that binaries that
expect shared libraries can be portable across distributions.

What would be really useful is a documented notion that all upstream
packaegs should be configurable (at ./configure or equivalent time) to
put various bits in various places, hopefully using standard directives,
so that they can easily be configured to follow FHS on Linux or hier or
hier_pkgsrc on BSDs.  As a packager, the biggest problem related to this
I run into is programs with hardcoded Linux assumptions (although many
programs that use autoconf are easy to configure).

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