Maximum size of directories

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On computers using ext[2-4], there is a hard limit to the total number of inodes that can be defined, hence the number of directories and/or files. That number is really high.

However, life becomes quite difficult when you have more than a few thousand files in a directory:

  • Commands like ls * cannot expand to cover all objects: * will be expanded to cover all objects before executing the ls command, and that won't work anymore
  • It just becomes plain difficult to work with content of such large directories.