Understanding the transitory /proc filesystem

Due Processes

Article from Issue 150/2013

The mysterious /proc virtual filesystem is a rich mine of information about everything in your system.

In productivity computing, typical users have limited use for the /proc directory. However, when you want information about all aspects of your system, including hardware, the processes running, and what is happening in the kernel, /proc is a concentrated source of fast and current information.

When learning Linux, you probably heard that everything is represented in the operating system as a file. Most of the files are text or binary, but others are more specialized, such as directories, or the contents of the /dev directory, which represent hardware devices and partitions. The /proc directory and its contents are another specialized type of file, making up a virtual or pseudo-filesystem.

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