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What does the term “inode number” mean?

  • Every partition in GNU/Linux has its own file system.
  • In a file system, a file is represented by an inode. Inodes are data structures that contain information about files and are created when a file system is initialized. Each file has an inode and is identified by an inode number within the file system it resides in. Each partition has its own set of inodes.
  • Each inode describes a data structure on the hard disk, storing the properties of a file, including the physical location of the file data. When a hard disk is initialized, a fixed number of inodes per partition is generated. This number represents the maximum number of files of all types (including directories, special files, links, etc.) that can exist concurrently on the partition. Typically, there is one inode per 2 to 8 kilobytes of storage.
  • When a new file is created, it is assigned a free inode. The following information is stored in the inode:
  • Owner and group owner of the file.
  • File type.
  • Permissions on the file.
  • Dates and times of creation, last read, and last modification.
  • Date and time when this information was modified in the inode.
  • Number of links to this file.
  • File size.
  • An address defining the actual location of the file data.
  • The only information not included in an inode is the file name and directory. These are stored in special directory files. By matching file names with inode numbers, the system constructs a tree structure that is understandable to the user.

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