I'd like to know more about the advanced uses of the /proc and /sys virtual filesystems, but I don't know where to begin. Can anyone suggest any good sources to learn from? Also, since I think sys has regular additions, what's the best way to keep my knowledge current when a new kernel is released.

  • For the latter, I recommend the kernel mailing list. Failing that, the patch notes. – Shadur Mar 5 '17 at 9:43

Read this blog post: Solving problems with proc

There are a few tips what you can do with the proc filesystem. Among other things, there is a tip how to get back a deleted disk image or how to staying ahead of the OOM killer.

Don't forget to read the comments, there are good tips, too.

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    Nice article. BTW, we prefer a small summary/explanation of whatever you link to, beyond just the title. That is, we need to know beforehand what you are asking us to visit. – tshepang Feb 3 '11 at 22:18
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    I would vote up twice if I could – xenoterracide Feb 7 '11 at 11:34

You can look into the documentation which comes with the kernel source. (possibly greping for proc/sys ...).

Located at Documentation/filesystems: proc.txt and sysfs.txt.


The documentation in the Linux source tree is a good place (usually found in /usr/src/linux/Documentation is source is installed). Some distros make a separate package out of it. But, alas, much of it can only be understood by looking at the kernel source code. I have tried to encapsulate some of it in Python modules, so you might also be interested in that. The procps source code is also a good source of information.


The IBM DeveloperWorks library is a good place for articles like this. I didn't find anything directly applicable, but the 'Resources' section of a paper led me to this. It has some good info...


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