Differences between GoboLinux and a traditional Linux system

This is not a thorough description of GoboLinux, but a quick cheat-sheet of facts that are good to know when you are getting acquainted to the system.

  • In the GoboLinux hierarchy, files are grouped by their functional category (executables, libraries, and so on). There are links at the classic directories you are used to (/bin, /usr/bin, and so on), but remember that they all point to the same place. This is a huge advantage, as it means, for example, that you'll never have to search for a library throughout your filesystem again -- it will always be in /lib (and in /usr/lib, because they point to the same place! -- no worries about compatibility).
  • There are symbolic links relating most of the usual UNIX directories to the GoboLinux tree. Therefore, you will find directories such as /etc, /var/log and /usr/bin in the expected places. However, some directories, such as the users' directories, didn't need to be linked to their "legacy" locations. This way, for a given user called "joe", you'll have, instead of /home/joe, /Users/joe. Notice also that the superuser's directory is no different than the ones from the other users, so, root's directory is at /Users/root. Mount points are under /Mount, not /mnt.
  • Another major difference between GoboLinux and most Linux distributions is that it does not use a BSD nor a System V initialization procedure. Instead, it has its own. At /System/Settings/BootScripts you will find a few files that command the entire boot procedure: BootUp and Shutdown run at system boot and shutdown, respectively; you can define custom "runlevel" scripts to define different ways you want your system to be initialized (say, Single and Multi for single and multi-user, Graphical for boot into graphic mode, etc.) and control that from the boot loader menu. The /System/Settings/BootOptions file separate site-specific settings from the rest of the scripts. You can also find a library of application specific tasks at /System/Links/Tasks that can be used during boot (those are installed by the apps).

For a better overview of how it looks and feels night, nothing beats giving the Live CD a spin. You'll be running a full GoboLinux system without having to install anything. Just burn a CD-RW and give it a go!

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