FreeBSD, FHS, and /mnt/cdrom

Dan Strick strick at
Fri Nov 21 13:32:09 PST 2003

> The folks at the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) are discussing
> (again) where directories for recurring temporary mount points should go.
> Recurring temporary mount points are for things like cdroms, floppies,
> and digital cameras as well as HD partitions from other OSes (like MS
> Windows).
>  ...
> So, please put these in the order of most to least preferred, and say why
> you like or dislike any of them.

- All mount points in /

  This is bad because it can make / congested and if one of the mounted
  devices gets sick it can seriously interfere with all sorts of other
  system operations simply because it gets in the way of directory path
  traversals beginning at /.

- All mount points in /mnt

  This is very bad because the use of /mnt for a single unplanned
  spontaneous temporary mount is well established in Unix tradition.

- Anyplace at all
- Anyplace but /mnt
- Anyplace but / or /mnt

  These are close to being non-recommendations and not very useful.

I strongly recommend inventing some new subdirectory name to contain all
recurring mount points (not just the temporary ones) that don't have any
particular reason for being someplace else.  This directory should be in
the root file system to minimize the probabilty that these mount points
would become inaccessible because some other file system failed.  In fact,
this directory should be in / because the mount points are important and
its name should be short to make the mount points easily referenced.
Names already established for specific purposes or managed by software,
e.g. /home or /vol, would be bad choices.
Individual mount point names should be descriptive or mnemonic and the
frequently used mount points should have short names.

Examples of mount points that may have particular reasons for being
someplace else: /proc, /tmp, /usr, remote file system mount points,
mount points in automounter directories.

The directory /mnt should be retained for historical reasons.  It should
be empty and it is not clear that it should actually be used routinely
(in case the mounted device gets sick).

I use "/fs" for the mount point directory, "/fs/fd" for my primary floppy
drive, and "/fs/cd" for my primary cd (rom) drive.  I chose the name "/fs"
because anything you can mount is almost by definition a file system.

Dan Strick
strick at

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list