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UNIX & LINUX Computing Journal: A Brief Overview of /proc

Sep 22, 1999, 15:04 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Fink)

[ Thanks to Jay Fink for this link. ]

One of the more interesting aspects of certain flavors of UN*X (Linux among them) is the /proc filesystem. This "virtual" filesystem has several key features which are interesting, useful and helpful. It can also be dangerous and disastrous. This column will approach the /proc filesystem in three areas:

  1. A brief explanation of what it is
  2. What /proc can be used for (or sometimes not to be used for)
  3. A map of /proc as of the 2.2 Kernel on the i686 architecture...

The /proc filesystem is a direct reflection of the system kept in memory and represented in a hierarchal manner. The effort of the /proc filesystem is to provide an easy way to view kernel and information about currently running processes. As a result, some commands (ps for example) read /proc directly to get information about the state of the system. The premise behind /proc is to provide such information in a readable manner instead of having to invoke difficult to understand system calls.

Complete Article

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