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1.4 Unix Directories:

All directories on the system are subdirectories of the root directory. The root directory is physically located on the hard drive of the machine onto which you are logged in. Every directory can contain files and/or subdirectories. Any path which begins at the root starts with a / (or slash). A path can lead to directories physically located on other computers. The network system makes this transparent to the user. Any path which begins at your home directory begins with ~/ (or a tilde followed by a slash). Any path which begins with ~ username (or tilde username) starts in that particular username's home directory.

UNIX Directory Examples
/banana/consumers/monkeys
would refer to the monkeys subdirectory of the consumers subdirectory of the bananas subdirectory of the root directory.
~/maspar/lab5/parallel.f
would refer to the parallel.f file in the lab5 subdirectory of the maspar subdirectory of your home directory.
~brubble/advice/friends/FRED/bowling
would refer to the bowling file or subdirectory of the FRED subdirectory of the friends subdirectory of the advice subdirectory of brubble's home directory.