Directory Structure in Operating System

Directory Structure in Operating System:- In this article, we describe the most common schemes for defining the logical structure of a directory. Here we provided Directory Structure in OS.


Directory Structure in Operating System


Single-Level Directory

The simplest directory structure is the single-level directory. All files are contained in the same directory, which is easy to support and understand. A single-level directory has significant limitations, however, when the number of files increases or when the system has more than one user. Since all files are in the same directory, they must have unique names. If two users call their data file test, then the unique-name rule is violated.

For example, in one programming class, 23 students called the program for their second assignment prog2; another 11 called it assign2 Although file names are generally selected to reflect the content of the file, they are often limited in length, complicating the task of making file names unique. The MS-DOS operating system allows only 11-character file names; UNIX, in contrast, allows 255 characters.

Even a single user on a single-level directory may find it difficult to remember the names of all the files as the number of files increases. It is not uncommon for a user to have hundreds of files on one computer system and an equal number of additional files on another system. Keeping track of so many files is a daunting task. Deadlock Prevention in OS


Two-Level Directory

As we have seen, a single-level directory often leads to confusion of file names among different users. The standard solution is to create a separate directory for each user.

In the two-level directory structure, each user has his own user file directory (UFD). The UFDS have similar structures, but each lists only the files of a single user. When a user job starts or a user logs in, the system’s master file directory (MFD) is searched. The MFD is indexed by user name or account number, and each entry points to the UFD for that user.

When a user refers to a particular file, only his own UFD is searched. Thus, different users may have files with the same name, as long as all the file names within each UFD are unique. To create a file for a user, the operating system searches only that user’s UFD to ascertain whether another file of that name exists. To delete a file, the operating system confines its search to the local UFD; thus, it cannot accidentally delete another user’s file that has the same name.

The user directories themselves must be created and deleted as necessary. A special system program is run with the appropriate user name and account information. The program creates a new UFD and adds an entry for it to the MFD. The execution of this program might be restricted to system administrators. The allocation of disk space for user directories can be handled with the techniques discussed in Chapter 11 for files themselves.

Although the two-level directory structure solves the name-collision problem, it still has disadvantages. This structure effectively isolates one user from another. Isolation is an advantage when the users are completely independent but is a disadvantage when the users want to cooperate on some task and to access one another’s files. Some systems simply do not allow local user files to be accessed by other users.


Tree-Structured Directories

Once we have seen how to view a two-level directory as a two-level tree. the natural generalization is to extend the directory structure to a tree of arbitrary height. This generalization allows users to create their own subdirectories and to organize their files accordingly. A tree is the most common directory structure. The tree has a root directory, and every file in the system has a unique path name.

A directory (or subdirectory) contains a set of files or subdirectories. A directory is simply another file, but it is treated in a special way. All directories have the same internal format. One bit in each directory entry defines the entry as a file (0) or as a subdirectory (1). Special system calls are used to create and delete directories.

In normal use, each process has a current directory. The current directory should contain most of the files that are of current interest to the process When reference is made to a file, the current directory is searched. If a file is needed that is not in the current directory, then the user usually must either specify a path name or change the current directory to be the directory holding that file. To change directories, a system call is provided that takes a directory name as a parameter and uses it to redefine the current directory. Thus, the user can change his current directory whenever he desires. From one change directory system call to the next, all open system calls search the current directory for the specified file. Note that the search path may or may not contain a special entry that stands for “the current directory”


Acyclic-Graph Directories

Consider two programmers who are working on a joint project. The files associated with that project can be stored in a subdirectory, separating them from other projects and files of the two programmers. But since both programmers are equally responsible for the project, both want the subdirectory to be in their own directories. The common subdirectory should be shared. A shared directory or file will exist in the file system in two (or more) places at once. A tree structure prohibits the sharing of files or directories. An acyclic graph -that is, a graph with no cycles-allows directories to share subdirectories and files. The same file or subdirectory may be in two different directories. The acyclic graph is a natural generalization of the tree-structured directory scheme.

It is important to note that a shared file (or directory) is not the same as two copies of the file. With two copies, each programmer can view the copy rather than the original, but if one programmer changes the file, the changes will not appear in the other’s copy. With a shared file, only one actual file exists, so any changes made by one person are immediately visible to the other. Sharing is particularly important for subdirectories; a new file created by one person will automatically appear in all the shared subdirectories.

When people are working as a team, all the files they want to share can be put into one directory. The UFD of each team member will contain this directory of shared files as a subdirectory. Even in the case of a single user, the user’s file organization may require that some file be placed in different subdirectories. For example, a program written for a particular project should be both in the directory of all programs and in the directory for that project.


General Graph Directory

A serious problem with using an acyclic-graph structure is ensuring that there are no cycles. If we start with a two-level directory and allow users to create subdirectories, a tree-structured directory results. It should be fairly easy to see that simply adding new files and subdirectories to an existing tree-structured directory preserves the tree-structured nature. However, when we add links, the tree structure is destroyed, resulting in a simple graph structure.

The primary advantage of an acyclic graph is the relative simplicity of the algorithms to traverse the graph and to determine when there are no more references to a file. We want to avoid traversing shared sections of an acyclic graph twice, mainly for performance reasons. If we have just searched a major shared subdirectory for a particular file without finding it, we want to avoid searching that subdirectory again; the second search would be a waste of time.

If cycles are allowed to exist in the directory, we likewise want to avoid searching any component twice, for reasons of correctness as well as performance. A poorly designed algorithm might result in an infinite loop continually searching through the cycle and never terminating. One solution is to limit arbitrarily the number of directories that will be accessed during a search.

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