Topics Summary


Types of Linux-Unix-Files

In Linux/UNIX, ever thing is a file. Here devices, drivers etc., are treated as files.

The following are the types of files available in Linux / UNIX.

1. Regular (or) Ordinary (or) ASCII text files.

2. Directory files.

3. Device files


Types of device files:

  • Character special files (all I/O devices)

          Ex: keyboard, mouse, monitor etc.,

  • Block special files ( All storage devices)

          Ex: cdrom, floppy, hard disk etc.,

4. Linked files


Types of linked files:

  • Soft link file
  • Hard link file

5. Empty files

6. Socket files

7. Tar files

8. Binary executable files

9. Cpio files (copy archive file in and out)

10. Zip files


Knowing the file type:

There are many ways to figure out what type of file it is.

file command

Using "file" command we can find out if it’s a file or directory etc.

[admin@sys2 ~]$ file anaconda-ks.cfg
anaconda-ks.cfg: ASCII English text


ls command

By using ls –l (longlist format) command also we can determine the type of the file.

The starting letter of ls -l output, in each and every line indicates the type of the file.

[root@sys2 ~]# cd /sbin

[root@sys2 sbin]# ls -l
total 15596
-rwxr-xr-x.  1 root root 10704   Jul 10   2012  accton
-rwxr-xr-x.  1 root root   8456   Jan 9    2013  addpart
-rwxr-xr-x.  1 root root  23952  Jan 9    2013  agetty
drwxr-xr-x.  1 root root  23952  Jan 9    2013  Sampdir
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root         7  Jan 22  01:30 clock ->hwclock


In the above outputs the first letter in each and every line indicates the type of the file

-   Regular file or ASCII text file
d  Directory file or device file
c  character special file
b  block special file
l   linked file
s  socket file


For Example:

crw-rw----. 1 root video 10, 175 Jan 29 12:45 agpgart
srw-rw-rw-. 1 root root 0 Jan 29 12:46 log
brw-rw----. 1 root disk 7, 3 Jan 29 12:45 loop3