"The /proc/ filesystem is a trick the Linux kernel uses to
make certain internal information available to user-space
processes. The kernel presents the information in virtual files in
virtual directories. The files and directories of the /proc/
filesystems are virtual because the data is not actually stored on
any sort of permanent storage like a hard disk; instead, the
directories, files, and data within them are created dynamically in
memory from raw kernel data whenever you attempt to read from them.
A variety of network information and data is available in the
/proc/net/ directory. In this column we'll take a look at some of
the more useful files available in the /proc/net/ subdirectory and
how you might use them in administration of your network."
"All Linux distributions automatically mount the /proc/
filesystem at boot time. It's not essential that this be done, but
a number of programs rely on it, so it's wise. To see if the /proc
filesystem is mounted on your machine, use the mount command
without any arguments."
"When the /proc/ filesystem is mounted, you can treat it as
though it were a real filesystem containing directories and files.
If you move to the /proc/net/ directory and list the files it
contains, you will see a list that looks somewhat like the
arp ip_fwnames route udp
dev ip_mr_cache rpc/ unix
dev_mcast ip_mr_vif rt_cache
dev_stat netlink snmp
igmp netstat sockstat
ip_fwchains raw tcp
The actual list of files will vary a little depending on what
version kernel you are running and what networking options you've
compiled into it."
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