The nominal links /etc --> /private/etc, /tmp --> /private/tmp and /var --> /private/var are all straightforward and I understand they are there because of a legacy need that has passed. Nothing magical about them.

However, I just saw these install instructions for an Apache/httpd module which recommend using /private/libexec instead of /usr/libexec. That directory doesn't exist but I can create it via sudo. So, I am wondering if /private has some special properties such that /private/libexec is merged with /usr/libexec?

  • 2
    Rather than close this - what's magic and ordinary in your title mean? Could you perhaps edit this a bit so it's more clear what we can do to help you out?
    – bmike
    Dec 22, 2017 at 16:42
  • 2
    Also, please add a link to the install instructions you are referring to.
    – nohillside
    Dec 22, 2017 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


There is no magic at works here, this will just create a user-writable directory to store the module in. You can‘t copy it into /usr/libexec/apache2 as this is protected by SIP.

Using /private like this seems kind of odd though. I would probably create /usr/local/libexec/apache2 and install the module there. You just need to be careful to adapt all references to it as well.

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