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Byte.com: The DEVFS File System

Mar 12, 2001, 20:12 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Moshe Bar)

"For as long as I can remember, the /dev directory has been around on all Unix systems."

"And, for as long as I can remember, I knew that it was best not to touch that directory because it doesn't just contain regular files, but device drivers for all the devices on the system."

"I learned that the hard way on an early Solaris server back in the 1980s. Being short on disk space, I decided to go and weed out the device drivers not needed for my particular machine. It turned out I deleted, by mistake, a disk driver needed to bring up the server. The professor at the school made it clear that I should NEVER mess with the /dev directory, unless I was a kernel hacker or the professor."

"Nowadays, I am a kernel hacker, but I still feel reluctant to touch the /dev directory. Why is the /dev directory so important?"

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