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CHAPTER 2 Unix Structure

2.3 Unix Directories, Files and Inodes

Every directory and file is listed in its parent directory. In the case of the root directory, that parent is itself. A directory is a file that contains a table listing the files contained within it, giving file names to the inode numbers in the list. An inode is a special file designed to be read by the kernel to learn the information about each file. It specifies the permissions on the file, ownership, date of creation and of last access and change, and the physical location of the data blocks on the disk containing the file.

The system does not require any particular structure for the data in the file itself. The file can be ASCII or binary or a combination, and may represent text data, a shell script, compiled object code for a program, directory table, junk, or anything you would like.

There's no header, trailer, label information or EOF character as part of the file.

Introduction to Unix - 14 AUG 1996
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