Here a short list of the most important directories and what they house.

/       The 'root' directory; reference point for all directories.
/bin    Binaries which are absolutely essential to run Linux.
/boot   All the files required for booting Linux on a system.
/dev    All the devices have their corresponding files here.
/etc    All the configuration files for the various software are stored
        here. Don't play with this directory.
/home   All users will have their 'My Documents' under this directory.
        If your id is tomh, your 'My Documents' (called home-directory)
        is /home/tomh.
/lib    The libraries required by system-applications. (Just like DLLs
        in Windows.)
/lost+found     When a disk-check finds files which are damaged or which
        are not linked to any directory, they are recovered to this
        directory. Such damages are almost always due to incorrect
/misc   Miscellaneous files!
/mnt    The directory where peripherals and other file-systems are
/opt    The directory where optional software are installed.
/proc   proc houses a pseudo-filesystem. Its contents really do not
        exist anywhere on the disk, and are made available only when you
        cd to this directory and look at some file. Don't worry about
        it, anyway.
/root   The home-directory for the super-user: root.
/sbin   The system-administration binaries exist here.
/tmp    The directory where temporary files are created and stored.

/usr    Everything related to users!
    /usr/bin    /bin houses critical binaries, whereas /usr/bin stores
                other binaries: not so critical but required
    /usr/include    The header-files required by programs for
    /usr/lib    The libraries required by user-applications.
    /usr/local  Files peculiar to this particular machine.
    /usr/sbin   User-administration binaries.
    /usr/share  Information that can be shared by most users.
    /usr/src    The source-code for the Linux kernel.
    /usr/X11R6  Files needed by the X Window system.

/var    Files whose contents vary frequently are in this directory.
    /var/log    The log-files of the system.
    /var/spool  Directories for mail, news, printing and other queued

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