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I tried this command on my Linux Ubuntu prompt in Amazon Web Services

sudo file /dev/xvda1

and the output is

/dev/xvda1: block special 

What is the meaning of block special in the output?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Most of the things you find below /dev are either "block special" or "character special" things, and you rather to not change them manually. Your example shows a disk drive partition provided by Xen (what on a "normal, nonvirtual machine" would be /dev/sda1).

For more details on this special device, please see What is the “/dev/ xvda1 ” device?

For more details on what devices, and especially block devices are, you may consult Device file - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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