Linux 101: $HOME is where the heart is

Jack Wallen explains what the Linux home directory is for new users.

Image: Jack Wallen

In Linux, there’s no place like ~/, or $HOME or just home. That’s right, three ways to say the same thing. For new Linux users, this can get confusing. First off, what is home? Why are there numerous ways to notate home? Let’s see if we can solve this puzzle together. 

First off, home is where the heart of your Linux user experience lives—a special directory that houses all of your user files. Your home directory is typically found in /home/USER (where USER is your Linux username). 

If you issue the command ls /home, you’ll see all of the users that have directories within /home. However, if you issue the commands ls $HOME or ls ~/, you’ll see a listing of all…

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