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August 31, 2005

Confusing: /etc and /private/etc

Posted in: Apache,Software,Unix

While I was looking around on my disk where to change the default Apache configuration after I found out that it is installed per default on OSX and I just needed to activate it in the System Preferences / Sharing panel. Click on Personal Web Sharing and you’re off.

More information on how this works and how to configure Apache can be found here. That is not what this blog entry was about.

Looking for the httpd.conf file where you configure your Apache webserver I found 2 entries in the filesystem. One was in /etc/httpd/ where you’d expect it as a regular Linux/Unix user but there is also one to be found in /private/etc/httpd/. So which was I to use ?

After some Googling and looking closer at the directory entries, I found out that /etc is a symbolic link to /private/etc and therefore the same directory. So actually there is only one httpd.conf that is used.

It seems that this has been done to provide compatibility between the unix roots and the OSX’s own layout of the filesystem which has its origin in NeXT.

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