The Origin of “bin”?

By Deane Barker on November 21, 2005

Joe and I had a 30-second discussion today about where the term “bin” came from, as in “cgi-bin” or “/usr/bin”.

  • Joe: it’s short for “binary.”
  • Deane: it’s like a bin where you throw stuff

Anyone have an opinion or other resources?

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Comments

  1. I’d always understood it to stand for binary. The FreeBSD man page for hier has some possible clues:

    /bin/ user utilities fundamental to both single-user and multi-user environments

    /sbin/ system programs and administration utilities fundamental to both single-user and multi-user environments

    Doesn’t come out and say binary, but pretty close.

    /lib/ critical system libraries needed for binaries in /bin and /sbin

    This would seem to imply binary for /bin and /sbin.

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