The /proc filesystem documentation
The /proc filesystem acts as an interface to internal data structures in the kernel. It can be used to obtain information about the system and to change certain kernel parameters at runtime (sysctl).
The effort of the /proc filesystem is to provide an easy way to view kernel and information about currently running processes. As a result, some commands (ps for example) read /proc directly to get information about the state of the system. The premise behind /proc is to provide such information in a readable manner instead of having to invoke difficult to understand system calls.
The /proc fs can be used for system related tasks such as:
- viewing statistical information
- finding out hardware information
- modifying runtime parameters
- viewing and modifying network and host parameters
- memory and performance information
It is important to remember that the content of the files in the /proc directory and its various sub-directories is entirely dependent on information concerning your system. In other words, do not expect to see the exact same information in the same /proc file on two different machines. In addition, depending on the version of the Linux kernel and the devices connected to your system, some of the files described here may not be found in your /proc directory. Likewise, additional files or directories may be on your system but are not described here.