Re: folder vs directory

Nigel Wade <>
Mon, 11 Jan 2010 09:48:55 +0000 (UTC)
On Sun, 10 Jan 2010 11:10:16 -0500, Lew wrote:

Roedy Green wrote:

Is there any difference between a folder and a directory? I notice


Windows people using both the terms folder and directory, where
formerly only Mac types talked of folders.

"Formerly" being when? The interchangeable use of "folder" and
"directory" goes back to early DOS days, and for all I know, CP/M. It
certainly was well established in MS Windows by the time it came out.

My recollection is that Microsoft has always referred to them as folders
in Windows.

I saw some JPSoft docs that suggested directories are actual
directories on hard disk, and folders also include virtual directories

That's an idiolectic definition of JPSoft's, then.

(I forget what Linux folk call them.) It when you have a directory
entry that points to files that live in some other directory.

In *NIX they're called "links", which can be "hard" or "symbolic", and
which can point to directories or regular files with equal facility.

In fact anything in the filesystem. Be it a directory, plain file, device
special node, UNIX pipe, FIFO, etc, even another symbolic link pointing
to another symbolic link... As long as it eventually resolves to real
filesystem object that's fine.

I have also heard the terms "symbolic link", and "junction". I would
like to sort out the precise meanings of these words for the Java

I've never heard "junction". Links, both hard and symbolic, are
explained in standard introductory material on *NIX file systems.

$ man ln


I think "junctions" are a Windows NTFS'ism. They are mysterious objects
which appear to be directories, but are only pointers to other
directories - a bit like symbolic links but they don't work like symbolic
links. If you have Windows 7 you'll see in your home directory the usual
"My Documents" "My Music" etc. which are only pointers to the Windows 7
libraries. They cannot be opened and serve mainly to confuse users who
try to open them as they used to, only to be told by Windows that
"directory is not accessible. Access is denied".

Nigel Wade

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