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Deep System Discovery on your Linux Server With /proc

Dec 10, 2010, 19:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Juliet Kemp)

"/proc is a virtual filesystem generated at boot and updated regularly by the kernel. With /proc you can investigate exactly what hardware your Linux kernel sees, what processes it is running, boot options, and also manipulate kernel events.

"With Linux, everything is a file – and that includes devices, processes, and system information. /proc allows you to take a look at these 'files'. /proc (short for "process filesystem") isn't 'real'; it's a virtual filesystem, generated at boot and updated regularly by the kernel. Instead of storing information on disk, when you look at something in /proc, it fetches the information from the kernel to output as a file. This is great both for system communication (utilities can operate in userspace, rather than in kernel space), and for investigating your system's innards.

"/proc and processes

"If you type ls /proc, you'll see a set of numbered directories. These are your processes: one directory per process ID. Look at your process list with ps -A, and pick one to investigate. (Note that unless you have root/sudo access, you're best off choosing a process that you own.) Here's a sample process from my ps output:"

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