Athena imposes a filesystem-independent layer of indirection on file storage called "lockers". Because most Athena lockers currently live in AFS, lockers may seem a little inconvenient and pointless, but the concept may come in handy if Athena ever moves to a different filesystem.

Operationally, a locker is represented by a Hesiod entry with type "filsys". The value of the filsys record is a string which usually looks like "AFS <pathname> <mode> <mountpoint> <pref>", where AFS is the filesystem type, <pathname> is the AFS path of the locker, <mode> determines whether tokens are desirable or required for the locker, <mountpoint> determines where the locker should appear on the local workstation, and <pref> is used to order filsys entries when there is more than one. If the filesystem type is something other than AFS, different fields may be present.

Users can make lockers visible on an Athena workstation using the setuid "attach" program. The "add" alias from the standard Athena dotfiles attaches a locker and places the appropriate binary and manual directories in the user's PATH and MANPATH.

A loose convention, documented in the lockers(7) man page, governs how software lockers should be organized. Not all lockers are for software; in particular, user home directories are also lockers, and generally do not contain any software.

Some platforms (Solaris and IRIX at the time of this writing) refer to lockers for most of their operating system and Athena software. The mountpoints for these lockers are /os for operating system software and /srvd for Athena software. On these machines, a third locker mounted on /install contains material used during installs and updates.