[Techtalk] trying to find a question that _is_ "too dumb"

Maria Blackmore mariab at cats.meow.at
Wed Aug 13 00:14:21 EST 2003

On 12 Aug 2003, perimorph wrote:

> Hi all..  After almost 5 years of using Linux exclusively, I _still_
> can't figure this out!
> What does the "s" in "sbin" stand for??

Ah, well, there's a lot of history here :)

> I know "bin" is for "binaries", but I just can't figure out what that
> "s" is for!  Please fill me in..  It's like that feeling you get when
> you just _know_ your two best friends are telling each other in-jokes,
> and you don't have a clue what's going on.

I believe, though I may be wrong, that it originally stood for "static
binaries".  The binaries in /sbin/ would have been there for when the
machine was still on it's way up, and thus only the root partition was
mounted thus far, which means that many libraries were not available, this
meant that anything that had to be done, had to be done by itself.  The
programs were statically compiled, and thus only suitable for usual use
when the machine was coming up, and were not used when it was already up
due to the vaste inefficiency that this presented.

You have to remember, that this now has in excess of 30 years of history
behind it, and many things that had acronyms back then have had their
meanings changed, or retroconverted.  Nowadays, I believe that Hamster may
be correct in the supposition that it stands for "superuser binaries".
Certainly, there is just a single statically linked binary in /sbin/ on my
correct workstation, which is ldconfig.  That would really suck if that at
least wasn't statically linked :)

Does anyone else know more/better or have any other ideas?


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