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

[ 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
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

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