Device files

Gerard Beekmans gerard at
Sun Jul 30 12:03:30 PDT 2000

> On Sun, 30 Jul 2000, Gerard Beekmans wrote:
> > > 2. How many and which terminal devices are necessary? I mean pseudo-
> > > terminals and/or normal/old terminals?
> > 
> > How many we can't tell, how many do you need?
> In the /dev directory of my current/old system there are lots (~600) of
> pty and tty files (suffixed with characters and/or numbers). Do they all
> represent a console or serial port, or do user-processes use them for
> other purposes too?
> In my own case there's no need for 256 serial port devices for instance,
> 4-8 is sufficient. The same goes for virtual consoles, about 10 is
> sufficient, but if the kernel or other processes rely on more (or a set)
> of such device files, they must be present.

In the /usr/src/linux/Documentation/devices.txt file you can read more
about these terminals. I would urge to use the devpts system. It's a
virtual system like the proc file system that creates terminals (not the
virtual ones on the console behind your F-keys but the ones created by
programs like xterm) on-the-fly. I think these are the so-called
pseudo-terminals but I'm not sure about the exact names. The devices.txt
and other files that that file refers to will give more information.
Based on that you can decide which static files in /dev/ you no longer
need and want to remove.

A lot are to support your terminals needed by xterm and over serial
lines. A lot aren't needed by regular folks.

Gerard Beekmans

-*- If Linux doesn't have the solution, you have the wrong problem -*-
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