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Fedora 40 Plans to Merge /usr/bin and /usr/sbin Directories

The Fedora Project, known for its cutting-edge features and bleeding-edge updates, is proposing a significant change in the upcoming Fedora 40 release: merging the contents of the /usr/bin and /usr/sbin directories. This might seem like a minor tweak, but it holds some interesting implications for both users and developers.

Historically, the /usr/bin directory housed essential user-executable programs, while /usr/sbin held system administration tools typically require root privileges. This distinction made sense back in the day, when statically linked binaries were the norm and limited resources necessitated careful partitioning.

However, this separation has become largely redundant in modern Linux distributions with dynamically linked libraries and abundant storage.

This has several benefits, such as:

  • Simplified Package Management: Developers won’t need to decipher where to place executables, reducing confusion and streamlining package creation.
  • Enhanced User Experience: A cleaner directory structure translates to a more predictable and understandable system layout.
  • Increased Compatibility: Fedora aligns with other distributions like Debian and Arch Linux, where executables reside in a single /usr/bin location.
  • Performance Boost: Fewer directory checks during program execution translates to slightly faster system responsiveness.
  • Improved Debugging: Analyzing logs and utility outputs becomes less cumbersome with a unified directory structure.

The proposal is still under discussion and awaiting review by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) as of publishing. If approved, the change will likely land in Fedora 40, which is expected sometime in April 2024.

You can learn more about this in the Fedora 40 planned change set.

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