Linux Tutorial Series

Linux Tutorial Series – 139 – How files and directories are represented internally – inodes

Here is the video version, if you prefer it:

Let’s clear out one more conceptual thing before we jump into other things – how are files and directories represented internally.

See, a usual filesystem you will find on Linux consists of a pool of data blocks where you can store data and a database system that manages the data pool. The database contains entries which describe the file type, file permissions and where the file is stored in the data pool. (Ward, 2014)⁠ These database entries are called inodes. Interestingly, the inodes don’t store the file name. (“Where are filenames stored on a filesystem?,” n.d.)⁠

Files and directories are represented as inodes. This is imporant to keep in mind as we progress, although in my explanations I try to review some key concepts before explaining new ones.

Hope you learned something new!


Ward, B. (2014). How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know (2nd ed.). No Starch Press. Page 87

Where are filenames stored on a filesystem? (n.d.). Retrieved February 29, 2020, from