If I run netstat --all | grep ^unix some of the socket paths that are outputted are preceded with a '@' and some aren't. I've noticed that those preceded with a '@' don't show up when browsing the file system with ls but the rest do.

What are these two kinds of sockets and what is the difference between them?


These are abstract sockets, that live outside the filesystem namespace. netstat --unix, lsof -U and other commands print an @ sign instead of the nul byte that's at the start of the pathname.

  • 1
    What role do those abstract sockets play in general?
    – Geek
    Sep 22 '13 at 16:05
  • 2
    @Geek It's just a different namespace. There is no need for filesystem access and cleanup. On the other hand anyone can grab a well-known name, so you may have to check the credentials of the server process.
    – Gabriel
    Sep 22 '13 at 16:40

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