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/bin and /usr/bin: Commands

The /bin and /usr/bin directories contain public commands. Those commands may be in binary, or in shell format.

Binary format commands are those written in C, C++, FORTRAN, or any other compiler language. The shell format commands are interpreted by the C or Bourne shells, whichever executes them (more on shells later).

When UNIX was first written, /bin and /usr/bin physically resided on two different disks: /bin being on a smaller faster (more expensive) disk, and /usr/bin on a bigger slower disk. Now, /bin is a symbolic link to /usr/bin: they are essentially the same directory.

Claude Cantin 2010-10-24