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Unix Operating Systems Software

Define - /etc? 548

ogar572 asks: "There has been an ongoing and heated debate around the office concerning the definition of what /etc means on *nix operating systems. One side says "et cetera" per Wikipedia. Another side says it means 'extended tool chest' per this gnome mailing list entry or per this Norwegian article. Yet another side says neither, but he doesn't remember exactly what he heard in the past. All he remembers is that he was flamed when he called it 'et cetera', but that 'extended tool chest' didn't sound right either. So, what does it really mean?"
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Define - /etc?

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  • It means (Score:5, Funny)

    by offlerthecrocgod ( 563497 ) <offlerthe.hotmail@com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @08:37AM (#18216770) Homepage
    It means etc...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      don't wanna hijack FP, and i'm sure it's mentioned below, but what it really means is:

      Editable Text Configuration

      I belive i got it from the FHS pdf ages ago, and since I also asume et cetra for ages, this came as a suprise, but it does make sense if you think about it. Remember the 'no binaries in /etc' rule? Well if it's only editable text configurations that's allowed there, makes sense then don't it.
      • Backronym. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ayanami Rei ( 621112 ) * <rayanami@gmail.cCHICAGOom minus city> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @02:07PM (#18218900) Journal
        It may mean that now (and /usr = Unix System Resources, yeah right)

        But if you remember, programs like mount and user databases (when passwd files got too long to scan) were thrown into /etc. And configuration files also used to live in places like the root directory, or /var. /usr or even /lib, sometimes in ./conf/ subdirs.

        So it really did mean etcetra. And /usr really did mean 'users', as in, resources for users not administrators. Well at one point it also held home directories before that was split off into home.
      • Re:It means (Score:4, Informative)

        by HomelessInLaJolla ( 1026842 ) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:21PM (#18220000) Homepage Journal

        I belive i got it from the FHS pdf ages ago
        Correct. Full explanation and rationale for the Linux filesystem can be found here [pathname.com]. It is possible that other sources of rationale and explanation exist in other, more venerable, locations associated with AT&T, Bell Labs, BSD, and others who were present at the time that the whole thingw as being fleshed out. This link [pathname.com], and the sections immediately following it, contain the contact information for the people who know where the material originated.
        • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:21PM (#18220458) Homepage Journal
          Keep in mind that pathname.com is only a decade old, and the FHS even newer. /etc and /usr were in use a LONG time before that, and what FHS do are making recommendations for today, not an accurate representation on what went on before they were around.

          Yes, "editable text configuration" is a backronym. /etc is et cetera. All the system directories were kept to three letters, and all of the names are abbreviations -- none are acronyms.

          /bin = binary
          /lib = library
          /var = variable
          /usr = user
          /tmp = temporary
          /etc = et cetera
          /adm = administrative (now found in /var/adm)
          /log = logs (now found in /var/log)
          Later additions followed the same pattern:

          /net = network
          /mnt = mount
          In no circumstances were any of these acronyms, and making this up after the fact doesn't make it so. The general acronym fad, or I should say initialization fad, didn't appear until the 80's, and by then, the names were well established.

          And, as another user pointed out "editable text configurations" is a stupid name too, because if it's text, it's evidently editable. So why not just "text configurations" then? Also, in early Unix, everything was editable (remember, in Unix, everything is a file), so that's superfluous too. And, lastly, it was the repository for a lot of things that weren't configurations, including binaries.
          Again, this is a backronym, and not even a clever one.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by archen ( 447353 )
            And, as another user pointed out "editable text configurations" is a stupid name too, because if it's text, it's evidently editable

            but then there was the sendmail configuration...
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by David_W ( 35680 )

              but then there was the sendmail configuration...

              Hey, you can edit sendmail.cf by hand. Granted, you are likely to be committed to a mental institution shortly thereafter, but you CAN.

      • Re:It means (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:32PM (#18222258)
        The UNIX Programming Environment written by Brian W. Kernighan and Rob Pike of Bell Labs, published in 1984 by Prentice Hall defines /etc as et cetera on page 63. IMO this is the single best Unix book ever wriiten to learn Unix.
    • Re:It means (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @12:42PM (#18218236)
      etc tool chest
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @03:09PM (#18219392)
        emacs - Escape Meta Alt Control Shift.
        gdb - Get Down Baby.
        gcc - Give Communism (a) Chance.
        linux - Linus Is Not Usually Xeroflulogitic.
        lisp - Lisp Is (for) Symbolic Programming.
        java - Just Another Variant (of) Ada.
        perl - Perl Essentially Resembles Lisp.
        printf - People Rarely Insist (on) Naming This Function.
        sed - Slashdot (is) Easily Duped.
        top - Totally Ongoing Programs.
        vi - Very Irritating.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          lisp = lots (of) infuriating, superfluous parentheses
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ultranova ( 717540 )

      Judging by things like "GNU's Not Unix" "etc" is obviously short for "etc's the champ".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Stealthey ( 587986 )
      As far as I recall, I used to call it et cetera too, but then I was corrected/flamed once, and was basically told that etc stands for, "everything configurable".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kumachan ( 618013 )
      Exists To Confuse
    • Re:It means (Score:4, Interesting)

      by shokk ( 187512 ) <ernieoporto@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @03:51PM (#18219770) Homepage Journal
      We always pronounced it "slash et cee" since all your other recommendations are too damn long.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )
        I worked with a guy once who called "et see" instead of the historical "et cetera". Ironically, he'd supposedly (I doubted the veracity of his claims based on his relative level of knowledge - or lack thereof) been working with Linux/Unix for longer than I.

        The first time he said "et see" it took him a good five minutes to explain to me what he was talking about, because he lacked the verbal skill required for sentences. And I eventually gave up saying "et cetera" in preference over "et see" - because he wou
    • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:05PM (#18219884) Homepage Journal
      According to Dr. Peter H. Salus [wikipedia.org], it means et cetera. [groklaw.net]

      According to Dr. Salus, "Editable Text Configuration" is alien to the thinking of the creators.
  • I've always assumed "et-cetera". Sort of like labelling a box "miscellaneous".

    It'll be interesting to see what this turns up. I assume that the people that would actually know why it was named that way in Unix are still around and active in computing?

    • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:53AM (#18217532) Homepage Journal

      It does. Originally it contained configuration files, start-up scripts, and system management tools needed at boot. As time has gone on, most of the second group are in subdirectories of /etc, and the latter group was moved to /sbin. Amiga users will probably note that the "S" directory had similar problems in AmigaOS 1.x, and was similarly broken up on AmigaOS 2.x.

      Historically, Unix had /sys for the kernel (short for SYStem, duh), /usr for user areas (yes, user areas), /lib for system libraries, /bin for top-level binaries, and /etc as the miscellaneous area. As time went on, substantial amounts of the operating system went into /usr, with the "bin" account set up to contain most of the tools people needed (which is why bin is also in /etc, and owns substantial amounts of the operating system, despite the apparent lack of a need to have that. It's legacy practices.)

      So some time in the mid to late eighties, much of this started to be moved around. Real home directories were moved out of /usr to a variety of directories, eventually standardising, Mac OS X aside, on /home. /usr itself started to be reorganized to look something like the top level, /etc was cleaned out (though much of this happened in the mid-nineties), and we have what we see today.

      Meanwhile, people trying to be "clever" have invented new names for all these areas. I've heard people claim that USR stands for "Unix System Resources", which opens the question of why all the system directories don't begin with "US"? We see the nonsense above about ETC meaning something other than, well, etc, and other silly explanations doubtless exist for BIN and VAR.

      The names mean what they sound like they mean. If it doesn't sound like a directory has a name that fits its current use, it's usually because it wasn't intended for that use originally.

  • by l3v1 ( 787564 )
    Well, etc means etc. And it's really the "place-where-config-files-go". And wow, this must be the day when a question like this made into /. :)

  • I would side with "et cetera", or (if I remember my Latin) "and the rest". The rest of the stuff that *nix needs to run.

    /var is system-specific read-write stuff; you can (rarely) have a network file system (NFS) *nix system with a common /etc (hardly ever written to), but always requiring a local /var (as well as /tmp).
  • Pronunciation? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rinisari ( 521266 )
    I've always said "et see" and not "et ketera" or "et setera."
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      The correct pronunciation is "et setera", since it is taken directly from Latin. [wikipedia.org] It's also not uncommon to see it abbreviated as &c. This is because the ampersand is actually a highly stylized glyph representing the Latin "et". [wikipedia.org]

      As for the 'ask slashdot' question, I've always viewed it as being et cetera, a place for all the other stuff...
      • Re:Pronunciation? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:22AM (#18217010)
        I'm replying to you because you were more polite than the sibling. Just because the word "cetera" is Latin does not mean that it is pronounced with an S sound. In fact, in Latin, it would never have been pronounced that way. In the days of Caesar, it would have been pronounced with a K sound and, as the Latin language evolved into ecclesiastical Latin, it would be pronounced with a CH sound.

        The pronunciation with an S sound comes from the way that Latin words have usually been anglicized. Most often, the letters are pronounced as in English but the syllables are accented as in the original Latin.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by greenguy ( 162630 )
          Thanks for the tip. All this time, I'd been pronouncing "C" as "one hundred."
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by saforrest ( 184929 )
          'm replying to you because you were more polite than the sibling. Just because the word "cetera" is Latin does not mean that it is pronounced with an S sound. In fact, in Latin, it would never have been pronounced that way. In the days of Caesar, it would have been pronounced with a K sound and, as the Latin language evolved into ecclesiastical Latin, it would be pronounced with a CH sound.

          You're quite right of course, but do you actually use these pronunciations in casual conversation?

          Not that I have a lo
      • Re:Pronunciation? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:40AM (#18217098)

        The correct pronunciation is "et setera", since it is taken directly from Latin.

        In which, ironically, it is pronounced "et ketera" (stress on the "ke" and remember to roll the r). English has done really weird things to the pronounciation of Latin.

        Chris Mattern

        • by cortana ( 588495 )
          This seems as good a place to ask as any... how do we know how anything was pronounced in the ancient world? Did the Romans produce a Latin dictionary with IPA transliterations for each word?
          • Re:Pronunciation? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:01AM (#18217224)
            No, but they did write millions of lines of poetry, much of it with strict forms. If you read a million lines of C with lots of good comments, you'd figure out the syntax before you finished.
            • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @12:56PM (#18218330) Journal
              If you read a million lines of C with lots of good comments, you'd figure out the syntax before you finished.

              And if you read a millions lines of Perl, you would come to the conclusion that it has no syntax, then you would scratch your eyes out with a ball point pen. ;)
          • Re:Pronunciation? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @12:19PM (#18218084) Journal

            how do we know how anything was pronounced in the ancient world?

            We don't, but historical linguistics is like any other science - we can try to find the theories that best explain the available evidence, and refine those over time as new ideas are developed.

            Did the Romans produce a Latin dictionary with IPA transliterations for each word?
            No, but they did many other useful things, like transliterate words between languages and scripts; e.g. writing Latin names in the Greek alphabet and vice versa, or writing Celtic and Germanic names in the Latin alphabet. This doesn't tell us much about the actual sounds the alphabets represented, but it tells us about their relationships, and reduces the number of plausible solutions for ancient pronunciation.

            For a simple example, "Caesar" was regularly written in Greek as the equivalent of "kaisar", not as "saisar" or "saizar". The fact that different Greek letters were chosen to represent the different Latin letters implies that they represented different sounds. From considering all the other evidence, we find that the solution that is most consistent with the observed facts is the one that has Greek kappa and Latin C pronounced like an English K; therefore we conclude that "Caesar" was pronounced with a "k" sound, and it also seems reasonable to assume that "caetera" was consistent with that.
  • by crath ( 80215 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @08:49AM (#18216820) Homepage
    Long time UNIX hacks---and by that I mean UNIX guys from the early-1980s---pronounce /etc as "slash ett cee"; to me that makes it clear that /etc's origins are as "et cetera".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JabberWokky ( 19442 )
      As a long time UNIX guy... and yes, that means from the early 80s... I have always pronounced "/etc" as "et see", and "etc." as "et setra". I picked that up from even older UNIX guys, so I would guess that is the "proper" way to pronounce it by convention, the above thread notwithstanding. I also have no idea what it refers to, as I mentally just think of it as static configuration files. I'd guess "etc.", but it's a purely baseless guess.

      Remembering what the hell I was doing in my young'uns pants 25 ye

  • It's where I put my users home directories :-)



    It's for text configuration data, gets horribly abused though. And Linux/BSD folk have different ideas of what goes there from what I recall.

    • It seems to me that everyone has a different idea of where everything goes...

      Does that go in /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin? /opt? maybe /usr/local/sbin.... or /usr/sbin....

      Now, I know that in particular, these directories all have different meanings...but still. Maybe the OSX style 'Applications' folder is a sweet idea, which has symlinks of every binary in it from all of those directories...leave the originals alone for compatibility and ease of setting permissions to a group of files at once...isn't there a
      • Sure, it's called Mac OS X and they give it away on all new Apple computers :P (joke, joke)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hes Nikke ( 237581 )

        isn't there a distro that does something like this already?

        i believe you are looking for this [gobolinux.org]. i still haven't bothered to try it out though. i hate being a poor geek :(
  • Could be... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lpangelrob ( 714473 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @08:52AM (#18216840)
    Is (!(/usr) && !(/bin) && !(/mnt) ...) a correct answer?
  • Configs (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @08:53AM (#18216846)
    Enormous Trove of Configuration files, that's what it is.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But I'm afraid Ken Thompson or Dennis M. Ritchie would rather talk to their own poop than to Slashdot journalists.

    So we rather speculate.
  • by Wdomburg ( 141264 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:00AM (#18216874)
    Considering none of the other standard directories are acronyms, I'd have to call bulltish on this one. :)
  • Wow, I feel old (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spackler ( 223562 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:06AM (#18216906) Journal
    20 years ago, there was nothing to settle. It was et cetera. It was named that because of what it was used for. The configuration files for other things that live elsewhere. It provided a short reference to those files. Also notice how we did not like to type back then. Before that time, you were typing on what amounted to a glorified printer with a keyboard, so every char you did not have to type was great. One central location for binaries with a 3 letter name. Everyone knew where everything was. I'd get flamed if I said it was better than it is now, but it really was more elegant.

    Extended tool chest? Yeah, name tools that go in /etc. It all followed logic back then. Anyone loading tools in /etc would have been the one getting flamed for not knowing how to organize a system.

    Ok, now I really do feel old because it was more than 20 years ago. Sad because I was smart enough to answer this and not smart enough to make millions when the industry took off. I'm also too stupid to understand flame wars. If you like your system a different way, do it. If you think I should do mine different, pound sand.

    • Re:Wow, I feel old (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:19AM (#18217322)
      I agree. I've been using UNIX since 1985 and it was *always* just "slash-et-cee" and meant etcetra. The whole "Extended tool chest" is just a silly Backronym [wikipedia.org]. However...


      > Yeah, name tools that go in /etc.

      Actually prior to the creation of /sbin it actually was common for system binaries (like init, mkfs, mount, ...) to be placed in /etc. Eventually people realized that using a single directory for both configuration files and binaries was disgusting and /sbin came into being. By the mid 90's most modern UNIX variants had moved all the binaries to /sbin. Some OSes still provide symlinks for compatibity though: try a "ls -l /etc | grep sbin" on a Solaris machine some time.
    • Re:Wow, I feel old (Score:5, Informative)

      by Coeurderoy ( 717228 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:34AM (#18217406)
      So do I, ;-), I remember very well my first contact with Unix in the summer of 81 at UCB.
      "Ok, you create files in your home directory, you will find the commands in bin or usr bin, .... and if you're curious you can look at the /etcetra directory, that is the place where all the rest of "usefull stuff" goes, mostly initialisation files and some shared configuration".

      Well now of course I know the people there lied to me it really means "extraterrestrial creative tormentators", and proves that the aliens are dislexics.

      Cheers: and don't worry there is still some blood left in us old *IX farts.
      Did you notice that even the "coolest youngsters" do not dare to have something like the '85 Usenix "Sex, Drugs and Unix" Badge ?

  • Useless question (Score:3, Informative)

    by slamb ( 119285 ) * on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:09AM (#18216938) Homepage
    Why it was called that is at best a trivia question. A more directly useful question is what it should be used for. The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard version 2.3 [pathname.com] (primarily used by Linux people, I think) says this:

    The /etc hierarchy contains configuration files. A "configuration file" is a local file used to control the operation of a program; it must be static and cannot be an executable binary. [4]

    IIRC, some other systems (SunOS?) used to put binaries in there, which never made sense to me

  • Backward etymology (Score:5, Informative)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:19AM (#18216982) Homepage Journal
    I'm pretty sure it is "et etera". I've been mucking with Unix since Unix V7 (1980), and I've never heard of "extended tool chest". It doesn't really make sense because you don't put any tools there. If there were any "tools" to be put in an "extended chest", they'd have gone in "/usr/local" back in the day. That was before the practice of having an "/opt" directory evovled.

    I always assumed that configuration stuff got shoved in etc because it wasn't a program (that would go in "/bin") it wasn't a library ("/lib") and it wasn't some sort of user data ("/usr" -- this was before "/home"). It was something else, so it went in a place set aside for miscellany :"/etc". Over the years it became clear that "/etc" was very important, and "/usr" was too cluttered, etc., and thus we have the evolution of the modern Unix file hierarchy.

    The hierarchy may include historical obscurities such as "/etc", but it is remarkably well thought out. It shows the wisdom of abstracting the file system from storage devices. "/etc" also eliminates, or at least reduces the argument for, a system wide registry file such as Windows has, which has turned out to cause as many problems as it solves.

    But it is undoubtedly a bit obscure to the newcomer's eye.

    I remember the 1980s when the microcomputer transformed business. In the mid 1980s, most people who worked in computers had been weaned on, or least familiarized, with some form of Unix. When I started my job at one place around 1986, my predecessor had arranged everybody's file systems so their applications were stored in folder under a "bin" folder at the root (this was a Mac shop). By 1990, I was hiring people who had only used personal computers and had never used Unix. One of those people extended the "bin" traditoin by naming the application folder "Bin of Applications" -- as if "bin" referred to an open box, rather than "binary". It gave me a chuckle. "Bin of Applications" carried the idea to the user much better than "bin", and posed no particular inconvenience on a system where you never have to type path names.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bandman ( 86149 )
      Hey! You! You there, with your low slashdot number and your posts making sense! Ha! See if we listen to YOUR logic and experience! This is OUR flame war! Just because we've never touched anything more antique than Fedora Core 2 doesn't mean we don't know anything about the dark, mysterious history of Unix! Go back to your smarmy little terminal screens and your ascii based adventure games and leave the commenting to us REAL experts on the subject. We don't know what a teletype is, and we have some sort of
  • Not an acronym (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:29AM (#18217050) Homepage
    Why would /etc be an acronym when every other directory off root is an abreviation? /bin - binaries /boot - bootstrap files /dev - devices /home - user home directories /lib - libraries /mnt - temporary mounts /proc - processes /sbin - static binaries /tmp - temporary files /usr - user programs (not boot critical) /var - variable data

    • by noz ( 253073 )

      /sbin - static binaries
      System or super-user binaries?
  • by Esel Theo ( 575829 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:48AM (#18217154)
    Old Unix systems (at least I remember this for SCO OpenServer) also had a bunch of executables in /etc. This is still the case to a limited extent. Think of /etc/init.d/*.
  • UNIX changed a lot over the years, and the "et cetera" directory developed into the repository for system configuration files, resulting in the (IMHO, rather ridiculous) back-formations to try to make /etc represent what it actually does now days.

    Chris Mattern
  • Definition (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:09AM (#18217272)
    "Eh... That's where them Config files goes"
  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:34AM (#18217410) Journal
    'linked-in binaries'. Here's some of the other TLAs: /lib: linked-in binaries /etc: extended tool chest /usr: unix system routines /bin: basic instructions (native) /var: volatile access region /opt: one per terminal /tmp: this maybe purged /mnt: multiple network things /dev: dont ever violate /sys: she's your sister

  • by jonadab ( 583620 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:35AM (#18217418) Homepage Journal
    You see, the etc hierarchy on Unix was the successor the etb hierarchy on Unics, which was named for the ETA configuration mechanism on Multics, which was named for ETA OIN SHRDLU. So, now you know.
  • by eGabriel ( 5707 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @02:16PM (#18218958) Homepage
    Brian W. Kernighan and Rob Pike, chapter 2.6 -- "The Directory Hierarchy":

        "/etc (et cetera) we have also seen before. It contains various administrative files such as the password file and some systems programs such as /etc/getty, which initializes a terminal connection for /bin/login. /etc/rc is a file of shell commands that is executed after the system is bootstrapped. /etc/group list the members of each group."

    I looked through Ritchie and Thompson's "The UNIX Time-Sharing System" and found no mention of /etc, so that's the best I could do from my own bookshelf.
  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @03:04PM (#18219350) Homepage Journal
    Now I haven't personally used anything earlier than 5th Edition, but I can't recall anyone seriously referring to /etc as anything but "etcetera" or "ee tee see", but just to be sure that it didn't start out as an acronym I checked the First Edition manual, and found section 7 full of programs in /etc, including good old /etc/init, as well as the Fortran compiler, the assembler, and the b compiler!

    Thus we come to the UNIX warm boot procedure: put 173700 into the switches, push load address and then push start. The alternate switch setting of 73700 that will load warm UNIX is used as a signal to bring up a single user system for special purposes. See /etc/init.

    Where we find...

    init is invoked inside UNIX as the last step in the boot procedure. It first carries out several housekeeping duties: it must change the modes of the tape files and the RK disk file to 17, because if the system crashed while a tap or rk command was in progress, these files would be inaccessible; it also truncates the file /tmp/utmp, which contains a list of UNIX users, again as a recovery measure in case of a crash. Directory usr is assigned via sys mount as resident on the RK disk. [...]

    An interesting tidbit is the list of files installed into the boot disk from tape on a virgin UNIX system:

    /etc/init /bin/chmod /bin/chown /bin/cp /bin/ln /bin/ls /bin/mkdir /bin/mv /bin/rm /bin/rmdir /bin/sh /bin/stat /bin/tap

    Thus this is the set of programs available after a cold boot. /etc/init and /bin/sh are mandatory. /bin/tap and /bin/mkdir are used to load up the file system. The rest of the programs are frosting. As soon as possible, an sdate should be done.

    BUGS: The files /bin/mount, /bin/sdate, and /bin/date should be included in the initialization list of maki.
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @03:22PM (#18219508)
    Disagree if you must, but (coming from 25+ years as a *nix sys-admin) /etc simply stands for et-cetera and is pronounced as such (or spelled out as E-T-C). The phrase "et-see" is simply silly.

    As support, I ask how you pronounce "etc" when you read it in a book, magazine, etc...? How were you taught to pronounce it in your English class (apparently, so many years ago)?

    Ya, I thought so. :-)

  • Is "/." pronounced "slash dot" or "oblique dot" or "diagonal dot"?
  • /etc (Score:3, Informative)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Monday March 05, 2007 @09:21AM (#18236336)
    When I was introduced to Unix at Bell Labs in 1980 (cbunix 2.3) - it was pronounced "etcetera" (as in "etcetera password file"). If it was turned into a acronym, that was after the fact.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken