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Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Edition by Michael W. Lucas

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Device Nodes

A device node is a file that provides a logical interface to a piece of hardware. By reading from a device node, sending data to it, or using a command on it, you’re telling the operating system to perform an action on a piece of hardware or, in some cases, a logical device.

Different devices behave differently when data is sent to them. For example, writing to the console makes text appear on the screen or terminal, while writing to a disk device puts data on that disk. (OpenBSD puts device nodes in /dev and disallows device nodes on other filesystems.)

Many disk management programs expect to be given a device name as an argument. Unfortunately, device node names are frequently cryptic and vary widely among operating systems—even ...

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