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CHAPTER 10 Special Files

10.1 Special Files

UNIX devices are treated as files, in that I/O to devices is done in the same way as I/O to files. A file referring to a device is a special file in that it doesn't contain data (as a regular file) or information about other files (as a directory does). A special file informs the operating system about the location of the device it's associated with and the means by which it can communicate with the device. Special files are created with the mknod command and are stored in /dev (also /devices for SunOS 5.X). Once a special file exists I/O is performed with the device simply by reading or writing to the associated file.

10.1.1 - Block and character devices
10.1.2 - Major and minor devices
10.1.3 - The mknod command

Unix System Administration - 8 AUG 1996
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