FreeBSD, FHS, and /mnt/cdrom

Charles Swiger cswiger at
Sat Nov 22 11:18:35 PST 2003

On Nov 21, 2003, at 9:41 AM, Frank Murphy wrote:
> 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).
> Red Hat started putting these in /mnt (e.g. /mnt/cdrom), but that 
> totally
> breaks compatibility with the BSDs, which have specified /mnt as an 
> empty
> directory for ad hoc temporary mounts. SuSE has started putting these 
> in
> /media, and now folks on the FHS list would like to know what people in
> the BSDs' communities would prefer.

/mnt should be reserved as a default temporary mount point-- it's silly 
to risk breaking existing tools or procedures.  Anyway, I suggest you 
solicit feedback from Solaris users and possibly MacOS X people as 
well.  Solaris features vold (implied by wanting to use /vol), and the 
latter OS places temporary removable mountpoints under /Volumes.

I happen to think that OS X handles things well from a user interface 
standpoint-- the Finder in Panther with Miller column display and an 
eject symbol next to the volume name, but I'm not sure how relevant 
that is.  Frank, is your group's standard concerned about physical 
volume names, logical volume names intended for human 
identification/access, or both?

Physical device names ought to have unit numbers or even be part of a 
tree-like device hierarchy-- for instance, what does /cdrom refer to in 
a machine with two CD-ROM devices?

Human-readable names also run the risk of two removable devices having 
the same name; people are happy seeing a list containing duplicate 
names (eg, particularly if one name has a CDROM icon next to it, and 
the other has a floppy or USB pen icon :-), but that doesn't tell you 
what to do with your filesystem hierarchy layout.

Obviously, a standard that says "place mount points anywhere you want" 
isn't very useful.  But if you did come up with a standard, who should 
follow it and what would they gain?


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