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/proc: From FHS#6_1_5_proc_Kernel_and_process_in:

The proc filesystem is the de-facto standard Linux method for handling process and system information, rather than /dev/kmem and other similar methods. We strongly encourage this for the storage and retrieval of process information as well as other kernel and memory information.


Fun with proc

I'm not sure which of these things require root (I've done most of my testing of them as root).

Is there something like locate that works for things in proc? (locate ip_forward finds nothing)

Check or Start ip_forward

cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

List Connected Machines??

This, and several variations, didn't work for me (as root, on a Mandrake 9.1 "default install" system -- maybe a module is not installed?):

cat /proc/sys/net/ip_conntrack



  • (rhk) Administer Linux on the fly: Use the /proc filesystem to get a handle on your system; Level: Intermediate; May 14, 2003; "The /proc filesystem is one of Linux's great features, and this article gives you a thorough grounding in some of its most useful aspects. With it, you can administer many details of the operating system without ever having to shut down and reboot the machine, which is a boon for those who need to keep their systems as available as possible."
Good article, links to other resources, talks about the sysctl facility which can make changes permanent (persistent), and starting and stopping services using proc, but prompts a few questions:
  • you can use it to change the machines host and domain name — if you do so, and make the change persistent, how does this interact with the hosts file (i.e., traditional ways to set the host and domain name)?
  • Similar question for services? Oops, wait, I think I got confused — this section describes the services facility, but does not discuss a /proc or sysctl facility that can do the same thing, so apparently there is no potential for interference between services and /proc.
  • (rhk) [[][]]; ; ; —
  • (rhk) [[][]]; ; ; —


  • RandyKramer - 27 Jan 2002
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line>
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Topic revision: r6 - 2003-09-07 - AnitaLewis
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