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I read that your devices are listed in /dev. I do not have nearly as many devices attached to my system as there are listed in that directory. Why are there so many devices there? And how do I get informations about a particular one?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Not every device in /dev corresponds to a physical device. The devices in /dev also include pseudo-devices allocated by the kernel which allows the kernel to interact with these abstractions using standard IO as if they were ordinary files. Here is the device list as it appeared in the 2.6 kernel which also provides some details for each (pseudo)device.

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/dev lists block and character devices the kernel has drivers for, but

  • not all the device pseudo-files are necessarily physically present
  • some devices such as network cards don't have nodes in /dev

To see what devices are actually present you're better off using something like the lshw command.

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