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PROC(5)			   Linux Programmer's Manual		       PROC(5)


proc - process information pseudo-filesystem


The proc filesystem is a pseudo-filesystem which is used as an inter- face to kernel data structures. It is commonly mounted at /proc. Most of it is read-only, but some files allow kernel variables to be changed. The following outline gives a quick tour through the /proc hierarchy. /proc/[number] There is a numerical subdirectory for each running process; the subdirectory is named by the process ID. Each such subdirectory contains the following pseudo-files and directories. /proc/[number]/cmdline This holds the complete command line for the process, unless the whole process has been swapped out or the process is a zombie. In either of these latter cases, there is nothing in this file: i.e. a read on this file will return 0 characters. The command line arguments appear in this file as a set of null-separated strings, with a further null byte after the last string. /proc/[number]/cwd This is a symbolic link to the current working directory of the process. To find out the cwd of process 20, for instance, you can do this: cd /proc/20/cwd; /bin/pwd Note that the pwd command is often a shell builtin, and might not work properly. In bash, you may use pwd -P. In a multithreaded process, the contents of this symbolic link are not available if the main thread has already terminated (typically by calling pthread_exit(3). /proc/[number]/environ This file contains the environment for the process. The entries are separated by null bytes ('\0'), and there may be a null bytes at the end. Thus, to print out the environment of process 1, you would do: (cat /proc/1/environ; echo) | tr "\000" "\n" (For a reason why one should want to do this, see lilo(8).) /proc/[number]/exe Under Linux 2.2 and later, this file is a symbolic link contain- ing the actual pathname of the executed command. This symbolic link can be dereferenced normally; attempting to open it will open the executable. You can even type /proc/[number]/exe to run another copy of the same executable as is being run by pro- cess [number]. In a multithreaded process, the contents of this symbolic link are not available if the main thread has already terminated (typically by calling pthread_exit(3)). Under Linux 2.0 and earlier /proc/[number]/exe is a pointer to the binary which was executed, and appears as a symbolic link. A readlink(2) call on this file under Linux 2.0 returns a string in the format: [device]:inode For example, [0301]:1502 would be inode 1502 on device major 03 (IDE, MFM, etc. drives) minor 01 (first partition on the first drive). find(1) with the -inum option can be used to locate the file. /proc/[number]/fd This is a subdirectory containing one entry for each file which the process has open, named by its file descriptor, and which is a symbolic link to the actual file. Thus, 0 is standard input, 1 standard output, 2 standard error, etc. In a multithreaded process, the contents of this directory are not available if the main thread has already terminated (typi- cally by calling pthread_exit(3)). Programs that will take a filename, but will not take the stan- dard input, and which write to a file, but will not send their output to standard output, can be effectively foiled this way, assuming that -i is the flag designating an input file and -o is the flag designating an output file: foobar -i /proc/self/fd/0 -o /proc/self/fd/1 ... and you have a working filter. /proc/self/fd/N is approximately the same as /dev/fd/N in some UNIX and UNIX-like systems. Most Linux MAKEDEV scripts symboli- cally link /dev/fd to /proc/self/fd, in fact. /proc/[number]/maps A file containing the currently mapped memory regions and their access permissions. The format is: address perms offset dev inode pathname 08048000-08056000 r-xp 00000000 03:0c 64593 /usr/sbin/gpm 08056000-08058000 rw-p 0000d000 03:0c 64593 /usr/sbin/gpm 08058000-0805b000 rwxp 00000000 00:00 0 40000000-40013000 r-xp 00000000 03:0c 4165 /lib/ 40013000-40015000 rw-p 00012000 03:0c 4165 /lib/ 4001f000-40135000 r-xp 00000000 03:0c 45494 /lib/ 40135000-4013e000 rw-p 00115000 03:0c 45494 /lib/ 4013e000-40142000 rw-p 00000000 00:00 0 bffff000-c0000000 rwxp 00000000 00:00 0 where address is the address space in the process that it occu- pies, perms is a set of permissions: r = read w = write x = execute s = shared p = private (copy on write) offset is the offset into the file/whatever, dev is the device (major:minor), and inode is the inode on that device. 0 indi- cates that no inode is associated with the memory region, as the case would be with bss. Under Linux 2.0 there is no field giving pathname. /proc/[number]/mem This file can be used to access the pages of a process's memory through open(2), read(2), and fseek(3). /proc/[number]/root Unix and Linux support the idea of a per-process root of the filesystem, set by the chroot(2) system call. This file is a symbolic link that points to the process's root directory, and behaves as exe, fd/*, etc. do. In a multithreaded process, the contents of this symbolic link are not available if the main thread has already terminated (typically by calling pthread_exit(3)). /proc/[number]/smaps (since Linux 2.6.14) This file shows memory consumption for each of the process's mappings. For each of mappings there is a series of lines as follows: 08048000-080bc000 r-xp 00000000 03:02 13130 /bin/bash Size: 464 kB Rss: 424 kB Shared_Clean: 424 kB Shared_Dirty: 0 kB Private_Clean: 0 kB Private_Dirty: 0 kB The first of these lines shows the same information as is dis- played for the mapping in /proc/[number]/maps. The remaining lines show the size of the mapping, the amount of the mapping that is currently resident in RAM, the number clean and dirty shared pages in the mapping, and the number clean and dirty pri- vate pages in the mapping. This file is only present if the CONFIG_MMU kernel configuration option is enabled. /proc/[number]/stat Status information about the process. This is used by ps(1). It is defined in /usr/src/linux/fs/proc/array.c. The fields, in order, with their proper scanf(3) format speci- fiers, are: pid %d The process ID. comm %s The filename of the executable, in parentheses. This is visible whether or not the executable is swapped out. state %c One character from the string "RSDZTW" where R is run- ning, S is sleeping in an interruptible wait, D is wait- ing in uninterruptible disk sleep, Z is zombie, T is traced or stopped (on a signal), and W is paging. ppid %d The PID of the parent. pgrp %d The process group ID of the process. session %d The session ID of the process. tty_nr %d The tty the process uses. tpgid %d The process group ID of the process which currently owns the tty that the process is connected to. flags %lu The kernel flags word of the process. For bit meanings, see the PF_* defines in <linux/sched.h>. Details depend on the kernel version. minflt %lu The number of minor faults the process has made which have not required loading a memory page from disk. cminflt %lu The number of minor faults that the process's waited-for children have made. majflt %lu The number of major faults the process has made which have required loading a memory page from disk. cmajflt %lu The number of major faults that the process's waited-for children have made. utime %lu The number of jiffies that this process has been sched- uled in user mode. stime %lu The number of jiffies that this process has been sched- uled in kernel mode. cutime %ld The number of jiffies that this process's waited-for children have been scheduled in user mode. (See also times(2).) cstime %ld The number of jiffies that this process's waited-for children have been scheduled in kernel mode. priority %ld (Explanation for Linux 2.6) For processes running a real- time scheduling policy (policy below; see sched_setsched- uler(2)), this is the negated scheduling priority, minus one; that is, a number in the range -2 to -100, corre- sponding to real-time priorities 1 to 99. For processes running under a non-real-time scheduling policy, this is the raw nice value (setpriority(2)) as represented in the kernel. The kernel stores nice values as numbers in the range 0 (high) to 39 (low), corresponding to the user- visible nice range of -20 to 19. Before Linux 2.6, this was a scaled value based on the scheduler weighting given to this process. nice %ld The nice value ranges from 19 (nicest) to -19 (not nice to others). num_threads %ld Number of threads in this process (since Linux 2.6). Before kernel 2.6, this field was hard coded to 0 as a placeholder for an earlier removed field. itrealvalue %ld The time in jiffies before the next SIGALRM is sent to the process due to an interval timer. starttime %lu The time in jiffies the process started after system boot. vsize %lu Virtual memory size in bytes. rss %ld Resident Set Size: number of pages the process has in real memory, minus 3 for administrative purposes. This is just the pages which count towards text, data, or stack space. This does not include pages which have not been demand-loaded in, or which are swapped out. rlim %lu Current limit in bytes on the rss of the process (usually 4294967295 on i386). startcode %lu The address above which program text can run. endcode %lu The address below which program text can run. startstack %lu The address of the start of the stack. kstkesp %lu The current value of esp (stack pointer), as found in the kernel stack page for the process. kstkeip %lu The current EIP (instruction pointer). signal %lu The bitmap of pending signals. blocked %lu The bitmap of blocked signals. sigignore %lu The bitmap of ignored signals. sigcatch %lu The bitmap of caught signals. wchan %lu This is the "channel" in which the process is waiting. It is the address of a system call, and can be looked up in a namelist if you need a textual name. (If you have an up-to-date /etc/psdatabase, then try ps -l to see the WCHAN field in action.) nswap %lu Number of pages swapped (not maintained). cnswap %lu Cumulative nswap for child processes (not maintained). exit_signal %d Signal to be sent to parent when we die. processor %d CPU number last executed on. rt_priority %lu (since kernel 2.5.19) Real-time scheduling priority (see sched_setsched- uler(2)). policy %lu (since kernel 2.5.19) Scheduling policy (see sched_setscheduler(2)). delayacct_blkio_ticks %llu (since Linux 2.6.18) Aggregated block I/O delays, measured in clock ticks (centiseconds). /proc/[number]/statm Provides information about memory status in pages. The columns are: size total program size resident resident set size share shared pages text text (code) lib library data data/stack dt dirty pages (unused in Linux 2.6) /proc/[number]/status Provides much of the information in /proc/[number]/stat and /proc/[number]/statm in a format that's easier for humans to parse. /proc/[number]/task (since kernel 2.6.0-test6) This is a directory that contains one subdirectory for each thread in the process. The name of each subdirectory is the numerical thread ID of the thread (see gettid(2)). Within each of these subdirectories, there is a set of files with the same names and contents as under the /proc/[number] directories. For attributes that are shared by all threads, the contents for each of the files under the task/[thread-ID] subdirectories will be the same as in the corresponding file in the parent /proc/[num- ber] directory (e.g., in a multithreaded process, all of the task/[thread-ID]/cwd files will have the same value as the /proc/[number]/cwd file in the parent directory, since all of the threads in a process share a working directory). For attributes that are distinct for each thread, the corresponding files under task/[thread-ID] may have different values (e.g., various fields in each of the task/[thread-ID]/status files may be different for each thread). In a multithreaded process, the contents of the /proc/[num- ber]/task directory are not available if the main thread has already terminated (typically by calling pthread_exit(3)). /proc/apm Advanced power management version and battery information when CONFIG_APM is defined at kernel compilation time. /proc/bus Contains subdirectories for installed busses. /proc/bus/pccard Subdirectory for pcmcia devices when CONFIG_PCMCIA is set at kernel compilation time. /proc/bus/pccard/drivers /proc/bus/pci Contains various bus subdirectories and pseudo-files containing information about pci busses, installed devices, and device drivers. Some of these files are not ASCII. /proc/bus/pci/devices Information about pci devices. They may be accessed through lspci(8) and setpci(8). /proc/cmdline Arguments passed to the Linux kernel at boot time. Often done via a boot manager such as lilo(1). /proc/cpuinfo This is a collection of CPU and system architecture dependent items, for each supported architecture a different list. Two common entries are processor which gives CPU number and bogomips; a system constant that is calculated during kernel initialization. SMP machines have information for each CPU. /proc/devices Text listing of major numbers and device groups. This can be used by MAKEDEV scripts for consistency with the kernel. /proc/diskstats (since Linux 2.5.69) This file contains disk I/O statistics for each disk device. See the kernel source file Documentation/iostats.txt for further information. /proc/dma This is a list of the registered ISA DMA (direct memory access) channels in use. /proc/driver Empty subdirectory. /proc/execdomains List of the execution domains (ABI personalities). /proc/fb Frame buffer information when CONFIG_FB is defined during kernel compilation. /proc/filesystems A text listing of the filesystems which were compiled into the kernel. Incidentally, this is used by mount(1) to cycle through different filesystems when none is specified. /proc/fs Empty subdirectory. /proc/ide This directory exists on systems with the ide bus. There are directories for each ide channel and attached device. Files include: cache buffer size in KB capacity number of sectors driver driver version geometry physical and logical geometry identify in hexadecimal media media type model manufacturer's model number settings drive settings smart_thresholds in hexadecimal smart_values in hexadecimal The hdparm(8) utility provides access to this information in a friendly format. /proc/interrupts This is used to record the number of interrupts per each IRQ on (at least) the i386 architecture. Very easy to read formatting, done in ASCII. /proc/iomem I/O memory map in Linux 2.4. /proc/ioports This is a list of currently registered Input-Output port regions that are in use. /proc/kallsyms (since Linux 2.5.71) This holds the kernel exported symbol definitions used by the modules(X) tools to dynamically link and bind loadable modules. In Linux 2.5.47 and earlier, a similar file with slightly dif- ferent syntax was named ksyms. /proc/kcore This file represents the physical memory of the system and is stored in the ELF core file format. With this pseudo-file, and an unstripped kernel (/usr/src/linux/vmlinux) binary, GDB can be used to examine the current state of any kernel data structures. The total length of the file is the size of physical memory (RAM) plus 4KB. /proc/kmsg This file can be used instead of the syslog(2) system call to read kernel messages. A process must have superuser privileges to read this file, and only one process should read this file. This file should not be read if a syslog process is running which uses the syslog(2) system call facility to log kernel mes- sages. Information in this file is retrieved with the dmesg(8) program. /proc/ksyms (Linux 1.1.23-2.5.47) See /proc/kallsyms. /proc/loadavg The first three fields in this file are load average figures giving the number of jobs in the run queue (state R) or waiting for disk I/O (state D) averaged over 1, 5, and 15 minutes. They are the same as the load average numbers given by uptime(1) and other programs. The fourth field consists of two numbers sepa- rated by a slash (/). The first of these is the number of cur- rently executing kernel scheduling entities (processes, threads); this will be less than or equal to the number of CPUs. The value after the slash is the number of kernel scheduling entities that currently exist on the system. The fifth field is the PID of the process that was most recently created on the system. /proc/locks This file shows current file locks (flock(2) and fcntl(2)) and leases (fcntl(2)). /proc/malloc This file is only present if CONFIGDEBUGMALLOC was defined dur- ing compilation. /proc/meminfo This is used by free(1) to report the amount of free and used memory (both physical and swap) on the system as well as the shared memory and buffers used by the kernel. It is in the same format as free(1), except in bytes rather than KB. /proc/mounts This is a list of all the file systems currently mounted on the system. The format of this file is documented in fstab(5). Since kernel version 2.6.15, this file is pollable: after open- ing the file for reading, a change in this file (i.e., a file system mount or unmount) causes select(2) to mark the file descriptor as readable, and poll(2) and epoll_wait(2) mark the file as having an error condition. /proc/modules A text list of the modules that have been loaded by the system. See also lsmod(8). /proc/mtrr Memory Type Range Registers. See /usr/share/doc/kernel- doc-2.6.18/Documentation/mtrr.txt for details. /proc/net various net pseudo-files, all of which give the status of some part of the networking layer. These files contain ASCII struc- tures and are, therefore, readable with cat. However, the stan- dard netstat(8) suite provides much cleaner access to these files. /proc/net/arp This holds an ASCII readable dump of the kernel ARP table used for address resolutions. It will show both dynamically learned and pre-programmed ARP entries. The format is: IP address HW type Flags HW address Mask Device 0x1 0x2 00:50:BF:25:68:F3 * eth0 0x1 0xc 00:00:00:00:00:00 * eth0 Here 'IP address' is the IPv4 address of the machine and the 'HW type' is the hardware type of the address from RFC 826. The flags are the internal flags of the ARP structure (as defined in /usr/include/linux/if_arp.h) and the 'HW address' is the data link layer mapping for that IP address if it is known. /proc/net/dev The dev pseudo-file contains network device status information. This gives the number of received and sent packets, the number of errors and collisions and other basic statistics. These are used by the ifconfig(8) program to report device status. The format is: Inter-| Receive | Transmit face |bytes packets errs drop fifo frame compressed multicast|bytes packets errs drop fifo colls carrier compressed lo: 2776770 11307 0 0 0 0 0 0 2776770 11307 0 0 0 0 0 0 eth0: 1215645 2751 0 0 0 0 0 0 1782404 4324 0 0 0 427 0 0 ppp0: 1622270 5552 1 0 0 0 0 0 354130 5669 0 0 0 0 0 0 tap0: 7714 81 0 0 0 0 0 0 7714 81 0 0 0 0 0 0 /proc/net/dev_mcast Defined in /usr/src/linux/net/core/dev_mcast.c: indx interface_name dmi_u dmi_g dmi_address 2 eth0 1 0 01005e000001 3 eth1 1 0 01005e000001 4 eth2 1 0 01005e000001 /proc/net/igmp Internet Group Management Protocol. Defined in /usr/src/linux/net/core/igmp.c. /proc/net/rarp This file uses the same format as the arp file and contains the current reverse mapping database used to provide rarp(8) reverse address lookup services. If RARP is not configured into the ker- nel, this file will not be present. /proc/net/raw Holds a dump of the RAW socket table. Much of the information is not of use apart from debugging. The 'sl' value is the kernel hash slot for the socket, the 'local address' is the local address and protocol number pair."St" is the internal status of the socket. The "tx_queue" and "rx_queue" are the outgoing and incoming data queue in terms of kernel memory usage. The "tr", "tm->when", and "rexmits" fields are not used by RAW. The "uid" field holds the effective UID of the creator of the socket. /proc/net/snmp This file holds the ASCII data needed for the IP, ICMP, TCP, and UDP management information bases for an snmp agent. /proc/net/tcp Holds a dump of the TCP socket table. Much of the information is not of use apart from debugging. The "sl" value is the kernel hash slot for the socket, the "local address" is the local address and port number pair. The "remote address" is the remote address and port number pair (if connected). 'St' is the internal status of the socket. The 'tx_queue' and 'rx_queue' are the outgoing and incoming data queue in terms of kernel mem- ory usage. The "tr", "tm->when", and "rexmits" fields hold internal information of the kernel socket state and are only useful for debugging. The "uid" field holds the effective UID of the creator of the socket. /proc/net/udp Holds a dump of the UDP socket table. Much of the information is not of use apart from debugging. The "sl" value is the kernel hash slot for the socket, the "local address" is the local address and port number pair. The "remote address" is the remote address and port number pair (if connected). "St" is the internal status of the socket. The "tx_queue" and "rx_queue" are the outgoing and incoming data queue in terms of kernel mem- ory usage. The "tr", "tm->when", and "rexmits" fields are not used by UDP. The "uid" field holds the effective UID of the creator of the socket. The format is: sl local_address rem_address st tx_queue rx_queue tr rexmits tm->when uid 1: 01642C89:0201 0C642C89:03FF 01 00000000:00000001 01:000071BA 00000000 0 1: 00000000:0801 00000000:0000 0A 00000000:00000000 00:00000000 6F000100 0 1: 00000000:0201 00000000:0000 0A 00000000:00000000 00:00000000 00000000 0 /proc/net/unix Lists the UNIX domain sockets present within the system and their status. The format is: Num RefCount Protocol Flags Type St Path 0: 00000002 00000000 00000000 0001 03 1: 00000001 00000000 00010000 0001 01 /dev/printer Here 'Num' is the kernel table slot number, 'RefCount' is the number of users of the socket, 'Protocol' is currently always 0, 'Flags' represent the internal kernel flags holding the status of the socket. Currently, type is always '1' (Unix domain data- gram sockets are not yet supported in the kernel). 'St' is the internal state of the socket and Path is the bound path (if any) of the socket. /proc/partitions Contains major and minor numbers of each partition as well as number of blocks and partition name. /proc/pci This is a listing of all PCI devices found during kernel ini- tialization and their configuration. /proc/scsi A directory with the scsi mid-level pseudo-file and various SCSI lowlevel driver directories, which contain a file for each SCSI host in this system, all of which give the status of some part of the SCSI IO subsystem. These files contain ASCII structures and are, therefore, readable with cat. You can also write to some of the files to reconfigure the sub- system or switch certain features on or off. /proc/scsi/scsi This is a listing of all SCSI devices known to the kernel. The listing is similar to the one seen during bootup. scsi cur- rently supports only the add-single-device command which allows root to add a hotplugged device to the list of known devices. An echo 'scsi add-single-device 1 0 5 0' > /proc/scsi/scsi will cause host scsi1 to scan on SCSI channel 0 for a device on ID 5 LUN 0. If there is already a device known on this address or the address is invalid, an error will be returned. /proc/scsi/[drivername] [drivername] can currently be NCR53c7xx, aha152x, aha1542, aha1740, aic7xxx, buslogic, eata_dma, eata_pio, fdomain, in2000, pas16, qlogic, scsi_debug, seagate, t128, u15-24f, ultrastore, or wd7000. These directories show up for all drivers that reg- istered at least one SCSI HBA. Every directory contains one file per registered host. Every host-file is named after the number the host was assigned during initialization. Reading these files will usually show driver and host configura- tion, statistics etc. Writing to these files allows different things on different hosts. For example, with the latency and nolatency commands, root can switch on and off command latency measurement code in the eata_dma driver. With the lockup and unlock commands, root can control bus lockups simulated by the scsi_debug driver. /proc/self This directory refers to the process accessing the /proc filesystem, and is identical to the /proc directory named by the process ID of the same process. /proc/slabinfo Information about kernel caches. The columns are: cache-name num-active-objs total-objs object-size num-active-slabs total-slabs num-pages-per-slab See slabinfo(5) for details. /proc/stat kernel/system statistics. Varies with architecture. Common entries include: cpu 3357 0 4313 1362393 The amount of time, measured in units of USER_HZ (1/100ths of a second on most architectures), that the system spent in user mode, user mode with low priority (nice), system mode, and the idle task, respectively. The last value should be USER_HZ times the second entry in the uptime pseudo-file. In Linux 2.6 this line includes three additional columns: iowait - time waiting for I/O to complete (since 2.5.41); irq - time servicing interrupts (since 2.6.0-test4); softirq - time servicing softirqs (since 2.6.0-test4). page 5741 1808 The number of pages the system paged in and the number that were paged out (from disk). swap 1 0 The number of swap pages that have been brought in and out. intr 1462898 This line shows counts of interrupts serviced since boot time, for each of the possible system interrupts. The first column is the total of all interrupts serviced; each subsequent column is the total for a particular interrupt. disk_io: (2,0):(31,30,5764,1,2) (3,0):... (major,minor):(noinfo, read_io_ops, blks_read, write_io_ops, blks_written) (Linux 2.4 only) ctxt 115315 The number of context switches that the system underwent. btime 769041601 boot time, in seconds since the epoch (January 1, 1970). processes 86031 Number of forks since boot. procs_running 6 Number of processes in runnable state. (Linux 2.5.45 onwards.) procs_blocked 2 Number of processes blocked waiting for I/O to complete. (Linux 2.5.45 onwards.) /proc/swaps Swap areas in use. See also swapon(8). /proc/sys This directory (present since 1.3.57) contains a number of files and subdirectories corresponding to kernel variables. These variables can be read and sometimes modified using the proc file system, and the sysctl(2) system call. Presently, there are sub- directories abi, debug, dev, fs, kernel, net, proc, rxrpc, sun- rpc and vm that each contain more files and subdirectories. /proc/sys/abi This directory may contain files with application binary infor- mation. On some systems, it is not present. /proc/sys/debug This directory may be empty. /proc/sys/dev This directory contains device specific information (eg dev/cdrom/info). On some systems, it may be empty. /proc/sys/fs This contains the subdirectories binfmt_misc, inotify, and mqueue, and files dentry-state, dir-notify-enable, dquot-nr, file-max, file-nr, inode-max, inode-nr, inode-state, lease- break-time, leases-enable, overflowgid, overflowuid, suid_dumpable, super-max, and super-nr. /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc Documentation for files in this directory can be found in the kernel sources in Documentation/binfmt_misc.txt. /proc/sys/fs/dentry-state This file contains six numbers, nr_dentry, nr_unused, age_limit (age in seconds), want_pages (pages requested by system) and two dummy values. nr_dentry seems to be 0 all the time. nr_unused seems to be the number of unused dentries. age_limit is the age in seconds after which dcache entries can be reclaimed when mem- ory is short and want_pages is non-zero when the kernel has called shrink_dcache_pages() and the dcache isn't pruned yet. /proc/sys/fs/dir-notify-enable This file can be used to disable or enable the dnotify interface described in fcntl(2) on a system-wide basis. A value of 0 in this file disables the interface, and a value of 1 enables it. /proc/sys/fs/dquot-max This file shows the maximum number of cached disk quota entries. On some (2.4) systems, it is not present. If the number of free cached disk quota entries is very low and you have some awesome number of simultaneous system users, you might want to raise the limit. /proc/sys/fs/dquot-nr This file shows the number of allocated disk quota entries and the number of free disk quota entries. /proc/sys/fs/file-max This file defines a system-wide limit on the number of open files for all processes. This limit is not applied to root. (See also setrlimit(2), which can be used by a process to set the per-process limit, RLIMIT_NOFILE, on the number of files it may open.) If you get lots of error messages about running out of file handles, try increasing this value: echo 100000 > /proc/sys/fs/file-max The kernel constant NR_OPEN imposes an upper limit on the value that may be placed in file-max. If you increase /proc/sys/fs/file-max, be sure to increase /proc/sys/fs/inode-max to 3-4 times the new value of /proc/sys/fs/file-max, or you will run out of inodes. /proc/sys/fs/file-nr Historically, the three values in file-nr denoted the number of allocated file handles, the number of allocated but unused file handles, and the maximum number of file handles. Linux 2.6 always reports 0 as the number of free file handles -- this is not an error, it just means that the number of allocated file handles exactly matches the number of used file handles. /proc/sys/fs/inode-max This file contains the maximum number of in-memory inodes. On some (2.4) systems, it may not be present. This value should be 3-4 times larger than the value in file-max, since stdin, stdout and network sockets also need an inode to handle them. When you regularly run out of inodes, you need to increase this value. /proc/sys/fs/inode-nr This file contains the first two values from inode-state. /proc/sys/fs/inode-state This file contains seven numbers: nr_inodes, nr_free_inodes, preshrink and four dummy values. nr_inodes is the number of inodes the system has allocated. This can be slightly more than inode-max because Linux allocates them one page full at a time. nr_free_inodes represents the number of free inodes. preshrink is non-zero when the nr_inodes > inode-max and the system needs to prune the inode list instead of allocating more. /proc/sys/fs/inotify (since Linux 2.6.13) This directory contains files max_queued_events, max_user_instances, and max_user_watches, that can be used to limit the amount of kernel memory consumed by the inotify inter- face. For further details, see inotify(7). /proc/sys/fs/lease-break-time This file specifies the grace period that the kernel grants to a process holding a file lease (fcntl(2)) after it has sent a sig- nal to that process notifying it that another process is waiting to open the file. If the lease holder does not remove or down- grade the lease within this grace period, the kernel forcibly breaks the lease. /proc/sys/fs/leases-enable This file can be used to enable or disable file leases (fcntl(2)) on a system-wide basis. If this file contains the value 0, leases are disabled. A non-zero value enables leases. /proc/sys/fs/mqueue (since Linux 2.6.6) This directory contains files msg_max, msgsize_max, and queues_max, controlling the resources used by POSIX message queues. See mq_overview(7) for details. /proc/sys/fs/overflowgid and /proc/sys/fs/overflowuid These files allow you to change the value of the fixed UID and GID. The default is 65534. Some filesystems only support 16-bit UIDs and GIDs, although in Linux UIDs and GIDs are 32 bits. When one of these filesystems is mounted with writes enabled, any UID or GID that would exceed 65535 is translated to the overflow value before being written to disk. /proc/sys/fs/suid_dumpable (since Linux 2.6.13) The value in this file determines whether core dump files are produced for set-user-ID or otherwise protected/tainted bina- ries. Three different integer values can be specified: 0 (default) This provides the traditional (pre-Linux 2.6.13) behaviour. A core dump will not be produced for a process which has changed credentials (by calling seteuid(2), setgid(2), or similar, or by executing a set-user-ID or set-group-ID program) or whose binary does not have read permission enabled. 1 ("debug") All processes dump core when possible. The core dump is owned by the file system user ID of the dumping process and no security is applied. This is intended for system debug- ging situations only. Ptrace is unchecked. 2 ("suidsafe") Any binary which normally would not be dumped (see "0" above) is dumped readable by root only. This allows the user to remove the core dump file but not to read it. For security reasons core dumps in this mode will not overwrite one another or other files. This mode is appropriate when adminis- trators are attempting to debug problems in a normal environ- ment. /proc/sys/fs/super-max This file controls the maximum number of superblocks, and thus the maximum number of mounted filesystems the kernel can have. You only need to increase super-max if you need to mount more filesystems than the current value in super-max allows you to. /proc/sys/fs/super-nr This file contains the number of filesystems currently mounted. /proc/sys/kernel This directory contains files acct, cad_pid, cap-bound, core_pattern, core_uses_pid, ctrl-alt-del, dentry-state, domain- name, hotplug, hostname, htab-reclaim (PowerPC only), java- appletviewer (binfmt_java, obsolete), java-interpreter (binfmt_java, obsolete), l2cr (PowerPC only), modprobe, msgmax, msgmnb, msgmni, osrelease, ostype, overflowgid, overflowuid, panic, panic_on_oops, pid_max, powersave-nap (PowerPC only), printk, pty, random, real-root-dev, reboot-cmd (SPARC only), rtsig-max, rtsig-nr, sem, sg-big-buff, shmall, shmmax, shmmni, sysrq, tainted, threads-max, version, and zero-paged (PowerPC only). /proc/sys/kernel/acct This file contains three numbers: highwater, lowwater and fre- quency. If BSD-style process accounting is enabled these values control its behaviour. If free space on filesystem where the log lives goes below lowwater percent accounting suspends. If free space gets above highwater percent accounting resumes. Fre- quency determines how often the kernel checks the amount of free space (value is in seconds). Default values are 4, 2 and 30. That is, suspend accounting if <= 2% of space is free; resume it if >= 4% of space is free; consider information about amount of free space valid for 30 seconds. /proc/sys/kernel/cap-bound This file holds the value of the kernel capability bounding set (expressed as a signed decimal number). This set is ANDed against the capabilities permitted to a process during exec(). /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern See core(5). /proc/sys/kernel/core_uses_pid See core(5). /proc/sys/kernel/ctrl-alt-del This file controls the handling of Ctrl-Alt-Del from the key- board. When the value in this file is 0, Ctrl-Alt-Del is trapped and sent to the init(1) program to handle a graceful restart. When the value is > 0, Linux's reaction to a Vulcan Nerve Pinch (tm) will be an immediate reboot, without even sync- ing its dirty buffers. Note: when a program (like dosemu) has the keyboard in 'raw' mode, the ctrl-alt-del is intercepted by the program before it ever reaches the kernel tty layer, and it's up to the program to decide what to do with it. /proc/sys/kernel/hotplug This file contains the path for the hotplug policy agent. The default value in this file "/sbin/hotplug". /proc/sys/kernel/domainname and /proc/sys/kernel/hostname can be used to set the NIS/YP domainname and the hostname of your box in exactly the same way as the commands domainname and hostname, i.e.: # echo "darkstar" > /proc/sys/kernel/hostname # echo "mydomain" > /proc/sys/kernel/domainname has the same effect as # hostname "darkstar" # domainname "mydomain" Note, however, that the classic has the host- name "darkstar" and DNS (Internet Domain Name Server) domainname "", not to be confused with the NIS (Network Information Service) or YP (Yellow Pages) domainname. These two domain names are in general different. For a detailed discussion see the hostname(1) man page. /proc/sys/kernel/htab-reclaim (PowerPC only) If this file is set to a non-zero value, the Pow- erPC htab (see kernel file Documentation/powerpc/ppc_htab.txt) is pruned each time the system hits the idle loop. /proc/sys/kernel/l2cr (PowerPC only) This file contains a flag that controls the L2 cache of G3 processor boards. If 0, the cache is disabled. Enabled if non-zero. /proc/sys/kernel/modprobe This file is described by the kernel source file Documenta- tion/kmod.txt. /proc/sys/kernel/msgmax This file defines a system-wide limit specifying the maximum number of bytes in a single message written on a System V mes- sage queue. /proc/sys/kernel/msgmni This file defines the system-wide limit on the number of message queue identifiers. (This file is only present in Linux 2.4 onwards.) /proc/sys/kernel/msgmnb This file defines a system-wide parameter used to initialise the msg_qbytes setting for subsequently created message queues. The msg_qbytes setting specifies the maximum number of bytes that may be written to the message queue. /proc/sys/kernel/ostype and /proc/sys/kernel/osrelease These files give substrings of /proc/version. /proc/sys/kernel/overflowgid and /proc/sys/kernel/overflowuid These files duplicate the files /proc/sys/fs/overflowgid and /proc/sys/fs/overflowuid. /proc/sys/kernel/panic gives read/write access to the kernel variable panic_timeout. If this is zero, the kernel will loop on a panic; if non-zero it indicates that the kernel should autoreboot after this number of seconds. When you use the software watchdog device driver, the recommended setting is 60. /proc/sys/kernel/panic_on_oops This file (new in Linux 2.5) controls the kernel's behaviour when an oops or BUG is encountered. If this file contains 0, then the system tries to continue operation. If it contains 1, then the system delays a few seconds (to give klogd time to record the oops output) and then panics. If the /proc/sys/ker- nel/panic file is also non-zero then the machine will be rebooted. /proc/sys/kernel/pid_max This file (new in Linux 2.5) specifies the value at which PIDs wrap around (i.e., the value in this file is one greater than the maximum PID). The default value for this file, 32768, results in the same range of PIDs as on earlier kernels. On 32-bit platfroms, 32768 is the maximum value for pid_max. On 64-bit systems, pid_max can be set to any value up to 2^22 (PID_MAX_LIMIT, approximately 4 million). /proc/sys/kernel/powersave-nap (PowerPC only) This file contains a flag. If set, Linux-PPC will use the 'nap' mode of powersaving, otherwise the 'doze' mode will be used. /proc/sys/kernel/printk The four values in this file are console_loglevel, default_mes- sage_loglevel, minimum_console_level and default_con- sole_loglevel. These values influence printk() behavior when printing or logging error messages. See syslog(2) for more info on the different loglevels. Messages with a higher priority than console_loglevel will be printed to the console. Messages without an explicit priority will be printed with priority default_message_level. minimum_console_loglevel is the minimum (highest) value to which console_loglevel can be set. default_console_loglevel is the default value for con- sole_loglevel. /proc/sys/kernel/pty (since Linux 2.6.4) This directory contains two files relating to the number of Unix 98 pseudo-terminals (see pts(4)) on the system. /proc/sys/kernel/pty/max This file defines the maximum number of pseudo-terminals. /proc/sys/kernel/pty/nr This read-only file indicates how many pseudo-terminals are cur- rently in use. /proc/sys/kernel/random This directory contains various parameters controlling the oper- ation of the file /dev/random. See random(4) for further infor- mation. /proc/sys/kernel/real-root-dev This file is documented in the kernel source file Documenta- tion/initrd.txt. /proc/sys/kernel/reboot-cmd (Sparc only) This file seems to be a way to give an argument to the SPARC ROM/Flash boot loader. Maybe to tell it what to do after reboot- ing? /proc/sys/kernel/rtsig-max (Only in kernels up to and including 2.6.7; see setrlimit(2)) This file can be used to tune the maximum number of POSIX real- time (queued) signals that can be outstanding in the system. /proc/sys/kernel/rtsig-nr (Only in kernels up to and including 2.6.7.) This file shows the number POSIX realtime signals currently queued. /proc/sys/kernel/sem (since Linux 2.4) This file contains 4 numbers defining limits for System V IPC semaphores. These fields are, in order: SEMMSL The maximum semaphores per semaphore set. SEMMNS A system-wide limit on the number of semaphores in all semaphore sets. SEMOPM The maximum number of operations that may be specified in a semop(2) call. SEMMNI A system-wide limit on the maximum number of semaphore identifiers. /proc/sys/kernel/sg-big-buff This file shows the size of the generic SCSI device (sg) buffer. You can't tune it just yet, but you could change it on compile time by editing include/scsi/sg.h and changing the value of SG_BIG_BUFF. However, there shouldn't be any reason to change this value. /proc/sys/kernel/shmall This file contains the system-wide limit on the total number of pages of System V shared memory. /proc/sys/kernel/shmmax This file can be used to query and set the run time limit on the maximum (System V IPC) shared memory segment size that can be created. Shared memory segments up to 1Gb are now supported in the kernel. This value defaults to SHMMAX. /proc/sys/kernel/shmmni (available in Linux 2.4 and onwards) This file specifies the system-wide maximum number of System V shared memory segments that can be created. /proc/sys/kernel/version contains a string like: #5 Wed Feb 25 21:49:24 MET 1998.TP The '#5' means that this is the fifth kernel built from this source base and the date behind it indicates the time the kernel was built. /proc/sys/kernel/zero-paged (PowerPC only) This file contains a flag. When enabled (non-zero), Linux-PPC will pre-zero pages in the idle loop, possibly speeding up get_free_pages. /proc/sys/net This directory contains networking stuff. Explanations for some of the files under this directory can be found in tcp(7) and ip(7). /proc/sys/proc This directory may be empty. /proc/sys/sunrpc This directory supports Sun remote procedure call for network file system (NFS). On some systems, it is not present. /proc/sys/vm This directory contains files for memory management tuning, buffer and cache management. /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches (since Linux 2.6.16) Writing to this file causes the kernel to drop clean caches, dentries and inodes from memory, causing that memory to become free. To free pagecache, use echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches; to free dentries and inodes, use echo 2 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches; to free pagecache, dentries and inodes, use echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches. Because this is a non-destructive operation and dirty objects are not freeable, the user should run sync(8) first. /proc/sys/vm/legacy_va_layout (since Linux 2.6.9) If non-zero, this disable the new 32-bit memory-mapping layout; the kernel will use the legacy (2.4) layout for all processes. /proc/sys/vm/overcommit_memory This file contains the kernel virtual memory accounting mode. Values are: 0: heuristic overcommit (this is the default) 1: always overcommit, never check 2: always check, never overcommit In mode 0, calls of mmap(2) with MAP_NORESERVE set are not checked, and the default check is very weak, leading to the risk of getting a process "OOM-killed". Under Linux 2.4 any non-zero value implies mode 1. In mode 2 (available since Linux 2.6), the total virtual address space on the system is limited to (SS + RAM*(r/100)), where SS is the size of the swap space, and RAM is the size of the physical memory, and r is the contents of the file /proc/sys/vm/overcommit_ratio. /proc/sys/vm/overcommit_ratio See the description of /proc/sys/vm/overcommit_memory. /proc/sysvipc Subdirectory containing the pseudo-files msg, sem and shm. These files list the System V Interprocess Communication (IPC) objects (respectively: message queues, semaphores, and shared memory) that currently exist on the system, providing similar information to that available via ipcs(1). These files have headers and are formatted (one IPC object per line) for easy understanding. svipc(7) provides further background on the information shown by these files. /proc/tty Subdirectory containing the pseudo-files and subdirectories for tty drivers and line disciplines. /proc/uptime This file contains two numbers: the uptime of the system (sec- onds), and the amount of time spent in idle process (seconds). /proc/version This string identifies the kernel version that is currently run- ning. It includes the contents of /proc/sys/ostype, /proc/sys/osrelease and /proc/sys/version. For example: Linux version 1.0.9 (quinlan@phaze) #1 Sat May 14 01:51:54 EDT 1994 /proc/vmstat (since Linux 2.6) This file displays various virtual memory statistics. /proc/zoneinfo (since Linux 2.6.13) This file display information about memory zones. This is use- ful for analysing virtual memory behaviour.


cat(1), find(1), free(1), mount(1), ps(1), tr(1), uptime(1), chroot(2), mmap(2), readlink(2), syslog(2), slabinfo(5), hier(7), arp(8), dmesg(8), hdparm(8), ifconfig(8), init(8), lsmod(8), lspci(8), netstat(8) , procinfo(8), route(8) /usr/share/doc/kernel-doc-2.6.18/Documentation/filesystems/proc.txt


Note that many strings (i.e., the environment and command line) are in the internal format, with sub-fields terminated by null bytes ('\0'), so you may find that things are more readable if you use od -c or tr "\000" "\n" to read them. Alternatively, echo 'cat <file>' works well. This manual page is incomplete, possibly inaccurate, and is the kind of thing that needs to be updated very often.


The material on /proc/sys/fs and /proc/sys/kernel is closely based on kernel source documentation files written by Rik van Riel. 2005-05-12 PROC(5)

1994 Man-cgi 1.15, Panagiotis Christias <>