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Another of lif - er, Linux's mysteries solved: the ./

200730Sep

I'd searched high and low for the answer to this, and now that I've found it, I want to post it. I guess the real challenge, however, is getting a search engine to render up the goods: doing a Google search for "./" or "dot slash" didn't return much, and I don't have any bright ideas, other than spelling it out as dot slash.

So, that's the issue though - what does ./ mean in a Linux path?

Answer: Simply, it can be used to execute a program in the current directory. I'm guessing the purpose would be to skip checking the system path and only look for the program in the current directory.

As a test of this, in Kubuntu Linux, I ran

ls

in my home/user directory and got a directory listing as expected, then I ran

./ls

and got "no such file." So, then I went to /bin (where ls as a program resides) and ran

ls

to results as usual... and then I ran

./ls

and got results as well (however the results weren't color coded as is the default in Kubuntu - probably the result of an alias with the -G parameter which I was now bypassing).

So, one by one, I figure these things out...

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