devices refers to questions about the Unix/Linux device special files, normally these are under /dev. Do not use this tag for physical devices (for that use e.g. usb or pci).

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76
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12answers
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How do I find out what hard disks are in the system?

I need to know what hard disks are available, including ones that aren't mounted and possibly aren't formatted. I can't find them in dmesg or /var/log/messages (too much to scroll through). I'm hoping ...
44
votes
9answers
6k views

Why do we need to mount on Linux?

I understand what mounting is in Linux, and I understand device files. However I do not understand WHY we need to mount. For example, as explained in the accepted answer of this question, using this ...
39
votes
4answers
5k views

Why are network interfaces not in /dev like other devices?

I'm mostly curious, but why aren't network interfaces in /dev? Are there any other kinds of devices that aren't represented as a node under /dev?
33
votes
4answers
27k views

What is the mknod command used for?

I just started using Ubuntu as my main OS and I wanted to learn about things I should not do, and learn by the bad things people have done in the past. I came across these email about horror stories ...
28
votes
2answers
9k views

How to create /dev/null?

I successfully deleted my /dev/null. How can I restore it? The OS is Ubuntu.
25
votes
1answer
3k views

What do the device files in /dev actually do?

(Not a duplicate of Understanding /dev and its subdirs and files) I was browsing around my filesystem and for the first time I took a second to analyze my /dev directory. I was surprised by the ...
19
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3answers
19k views

What is stored in /dev/pts files and can we open them?

According to my knowledge, /dev/pts files are created for ssh or telnet sessions.
19
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3answers
3k views

mv a file to /dev/null breaks dev/null

If I do: touch file; mv file /dev/null as root, /dev/null disappears. ls -lad /dev/null results in no such file or directory. This breaks applications which depend on /dev/null like SSH and can be ...
17
votes
3answers
8k views

Understanding /dev and its subdirs and files

$ ls -l /dev/stdin /dev/fd/0 lrwx------ 1 tim tim 64 2011-08-07 09:53 /dev/fd/0 -> /dev/pts/2 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 15 2011-08-06 08:14 /dev/stdin -> /proc/self/fd/0 $ ls -l /dev/pts/2 ...
16
votes
2answers
38k views

How can I find available network interfaces?

This is in regard to linux, but if anyone knows of a general *nix method that would be good. I booted a system yesterday with an ethernet cable plugged in. "NetworkManager" is not installed, so once ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

bash script to detect and record mouse movements?

I need to be able to record the mouse movements every so often (every .2 of a second for example) and have them in a coordinate representation instead of a diff. I found the following script: ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Monitor what is being sent to /dev/null?

Just for fun: Is there a way to monitor/capture/dump whatever is being written to /dev/null? On Debian, or FreeBSD, if it matters, any other OS specific solutions are also welcome.
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Manipulating `/dev/video`

I'd like to take the video stream from /dev/video0, apply some effects or changes and make the result available on /dev/video1. /dev/video0 ---> Apply Effects ---> /dev/video1 For example, mplayer ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I put a bit mask on /dev/zero so that I can get bytes other than zero?

How can I put a bit mask on /dev/zero so that I can have a source not only for 0x00 but also for any byte between 0x01 and 0xFF?
15
votes
2answers
20k views

What are character special and block special files in a unix system?

How are character special files and block special files different from regular files in a Inix-like system? Why are they called “character special” and “block special” respectively?
13
votes
2answers
11k views

How do mouse events work in linux?

This is mostly out of curiosity, I'm trying to understand how event handling works on a low level, so please don't reference me to a software that'll do it for me. If for example I want to write a ...
12
votes
4answers
5k views

If I connect a physical device, how can I ever know which device file belongs to it?

Say I plug in several USB drives which don't get automatically mounted. How can I find out which device file belongs to which physical device, so I can mount it for example? I'm running Mac OS X but ...
12
votes
4answers
5k views

Can I setup a loopback audio device?

If I can send audio to the output devices, then I can record the same audio as a wave. With filesystems, you can just setup a loopback filesystem and write binary data on a file instead of a device. ...
11
votes
4answers
10k views

Find out what device /dev/root represents in Linux?

On linux, there is a /dev/root device node. This will be the same block device as another device node, like /dev/sdaX. How can I resolve /dev/root to the 'real' device node in this situation, so ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there alternatives to using `udev`?

While I understand the greatness of udev and appreciate the developers' effort, I was simply wondering if there is an alternative to it. For instance, I might imagine there should be a way to make ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

Shell command to read device registers?

On a single-board computer running Linux, is there a way to read the contents of the device configuration registers that control hardware? I think it would be a wrapper for inw(), more or less. I'm ...
10
votes
2answers
13k views

How does cat know the baud rate of the serial port?

I regularly use cat to view debugging information in the console from my FPGA development board over the serial connection, but I never have had to tell linux what the baud rate is. How does cat know ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What’s the difference between a “raw” and a “cooked” device driver?

Does this concept only apply to terminal drivers (which is what most sites cover) or to any driver in general?
10
votes
1answer
10k views

using devtmpfs for /dev

I have noticed the following option in the kernel: CONFIG_DEVTMPFS Device Drivers -> Generic Driver Options -> Maintain devtmpfs to mount at /dev And I see that it is enabled by default in ...
10
votes
1answer
8k views

Understand output of `udevadm info -a -n /dev/sdb`

I plug an external HDD into my laptop. I try to find out the information by $ udevadm info -a -n /dev/sdb Udevadm info starts with the device specified by the devpath and then walks up the chain of ...
10
votes
2answers
9k views

set baud speed for tty

How do I set the baud speed for a specific tty (in this case a serial port)? I tried using stty -F /dev/tty.iap ispeed 19200 But get the error Invalid argument for every speed I try (2400, 4800, ...
10
votes
3answers
8k views

Mount printers at /dev/usb and still use CUPS

Due to a new version of CUPS, I suddenly lost the direct path to my printers that was previously available under /dev/usb/lpXXX. I used this to print directly from the command line. echo "test" > ...
9
votes
4answers
801 views

Trouble with understanding the concept of mounting

Having read both What is meant by mounting a device in Linux? and understanding "mount" as a concept in the OS, I have a problem where it is stated that All accessible storage must have ...
9
votes
1answer
809 views

What happens when I do “cat debian.iso > /dev/sdX”?

I'm creating a live-USB and don't understand precisely: what happens when I copy a file (or even a file system) directly to a device node (as opposed to a file system)?
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What driver is behind a certain device file?

Given a device file, say /dev/sdb, is it possible to determine what driver is behind it? Specifically, I want to determine what driver my storage devices are using. fdisk -l lists 2 devices: /dev/sda ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Special File that causes I/O error

I want to automatically test if a piece of software reacts as expected if an essential SQLite DB file fails to be read (causing an I/O error). Exactly that happened some days ago at a client. We ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Difference between /dev and /sys/class?

What is the difference between the device representation in /dev between the one in /sys/class? Is one prefered over the other? Is there something one offers and the other doesn't?
9
votes
5answers
8k views

Why does “cat ttyUSB0” not produce output?

I connected an infrared receiver to a USB port ... (the last line of dmesg tells device file) $ dmesg [10496.596063] usb 7-2: new full-speed USB device number 2 using uhci_hcd [10496.751112] usb 7-2: ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Writing /dev/random to file?

If you ran the following, what would happen? cat /dev/random > ~/randomFile # don't run Would it be written until the drive runs out of space, or would the system see a problem with this and ...
8
votes
3answers
8k views

How can I tell whether a network interface is physical (device) or virtual (alias)?

I have a small home router running OpenWrt (Kind of embedded Linux for routers). It has five Ethernet ports, one labeled WAN and four labeld LAN 1 to 4. It has the following Network Interfaces defined ...
8
votes
0answers
798 views

How do I let an SDL app (not running as root) use the console

I want to use an SDL-based program to display graphics on the console, without having to log on from the console, and without running the program as root. For example, I want to be able to run it via ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Explain EV in /proc/bus/input/devices data

Can anybody explain to me what the EV value in /proc/bus/input/devices is? The keyboard always has value 120013. Why?
7
votes
2answers
6k views

wlan number assignment

How or where does Linux determine the assignment of a network device? Specifically, wlan0 or wlan1 for wireless USB devices. I plugged in a TP USB wireless a while ago, and it was assigned wlan0. I ...
7
votes
1answer
9k views

How to Reset/Cycle Power to a PCIe Device?

I have a PCIe device that only works correctly when the computer is fully powered off then on again. Issuing a simple reboot or reboot -p command does not appear to cycle the power to the PCIe card, ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How to find which serial port is in use?

The Question: I plugged in a device (i.e. GSM modem) through a serial port (a.k.a. RS-232), and I need to see with which file in /dev/ filesystem this device was tied up, to be able to communicate ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

USB connect/disconnect notification

I use Linux Mint 13 MATE, and I'm trying to set up notifications when I plug/unplug devices. First of all, I found udev-notify package, but unfortunately it almost doesn't work for me: it works for ...
7
votes
0answers
318 views

Why does a device show up as hidraw instead of hiddev?

I read the kernel documentation for hidraw and hiddev, and I understand the differences, but I am wondering how the kernel decides whether or not a device should show up as /dev/hidraw* or ...
6
votes
1answer
435 views

Why does the UNIX system need so many [0-byte] drives at /dev/* [duplicate]

So I recently asked this question, which lead me to run this command: $ du -sk /dev/* Which outputs about 353 different entries that look like this: 0 /dev/sdt 0 /dev/stderr 0 /dev/stdin 0 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why won't Linux let me play with /dev/dsp?

I'm working through a Linux textbook, and it's telling me about devices. It says that if I send the appropriate output to /dev/dsp, then it will play a sound. The example is cat file.wav > ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What happens if I run fsck on /dev/sda instead of /dev/sda1?

When I have run fsck in the past I have always run it on what I thought was a filesystem partition, ie. fsck -yf /dev/sdaN, where N is the partition number on disk A. A friend of mine recently ran ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Find out if a specific device is an USB mass storage

Context I'm automating SD card imaging from an existing dd factory image. The SD card is always connected through an external USB card reader and thus appears in the system as a SCSI block device ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How does /dev/fd relate to /proc/self/fd/?

$ ls -l /dev/stdin /dev/fd/0 lrwx------ 1 tim tim 64 2011-08-07 09:53 /dev/fd/0 -> /dev/pts/2 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 15 2011-08-06 08:14 /dev/stdin -> /proc/self/fd/0 $ ls -l /dev/pts/2 ...
6
votes
1answer
234 views

Does Posix require any devices?

Does Posix require any devices? For example, /dev/urandom, /dev/zero or /dev/null? I suspect not because of non-*nix OSes, but wanted to ask for completeness.
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are there so many virtual terminal devices?

I've been reading the Advanced Linux Programming book and it mentions about virtual terminals which, if I understood it correctly, it is a Linux-specific feature (not in Unix) to allow multiple login ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

What causes /dev/disk/by-label to be populated?

I've noticed that Linux distributions typically have a /dev/disk/by-label directory, but this isn't always the case (For example, the CirrOS Linux test image doesn't have one). What's required on a ...