What makes GoboLinux unique

GoboLinux has a directory structure different from most other Linux distributions. In GoboLinux, all files for a program, including executables, headers and libraries, are installed below a single directory that belongs to that program.

So the ping utility might reside in


and libpng.so.3 in


To be visible to other software, these files are symlinked into standard locations in the new directory hierarchy under /System/Index:


Traditional Unix paths are also symlinks to the /System/Index directory structure:

/bin     -> /System/Index/bin
/usr/bin -> /System/Index/bin
/usr/lib -> /System/Index/lib
/etc     -> /System/Settings

As a result, most things just work. For example, GoboLinux will correctly dispatch scripts with shebang lines such as #!/usr/bin/env perl or #!/usr/bin/python to the proper interpreter.

This architecture —installing each program under its own directory, and making executables, headers other resources available via symlinks— has significant advantages:

  • different versions of libraries can coexist
  • it’s trivial to uninstall software
  • there’s no need for a database of installed files

The system is administered through a limited set of utility programs. Tracking dependency relations among software is accomplished through the GoboLinux build system and its library of “compile recipes”.