Why would I keep home directories in /var/home?

As far as I understand, the traditional place for home directories is beneath /home. Some Linux variants seem to keep them in /var/home, what’s the reason for that?

Asked By: Tomalak


I never seen that…

But you can place things more or less all over the place, I mean one user can be in /var/home/ another in /home/ and third in /partyplace/home/….

But it just don’t make any sense to me, it’s better to follow the convention that users data is stored under /home/

Answered By: Johan

/var might be on a different partition or disk.

Answered By: kasterma

My guess is that WebOS is designed to be installed on two different filesystems, a root filesystem that is read-only in normal operation and a filesystem mounted on /var that is read-write in normal operation. Since home directories need to be writable, they are placed somewhere under /var. This kind of setup is fairly common on unix systems that run off flash (such as PDAs¹ and embedded unices).

While /home is mentioned by the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard on Linux and is generally common amongst unices, it is not universal (the FHS lists it as “optional” and specifies that “no program should rely on this location”). Sites with a large number of users sometimes use /home/GROUP/USER or /home/SERVER/USER or /home/SERVER/GROUP/USER. And I’ve seen directories rooted in other places: /homes, /export/home, /users, /net, … In fact, a long long time ago, the standard location for home directories was /usr.

¹ For example Android (not a unix, but running on a Linux kernel) has a read-only root filesystem and a writable filesystem on /data.

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