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DEVFSD(8)                   System Manager's Manual                  DEVFSD(8)

       devfsd  - optional daemon for managing devfs (the Linux Device Filesys-

       devfsd mntpnt [ -v ] [ -d ] [ -t num ] [ -D mask ] [ -fg ] [ -np ]

       The devfsd programme is a daemon, run by the system boot scripts, which
       can  provide for intelligent management of device entries in the Device
       Filesystem (devfs). It is desirable to start the daemon at  the  begin-
       ning of the boot scripts, in particular before filesystem checks.

       As  part of its setup phase devfsd creates certain symbolic links which
       are  compiled  into   the   code.   These   links   are   required   by
       /usr/src/linux/Documentation/devices.txt.  This behaviour may change in
       future revisions.

       devfsd will read the special control file .devfsd in a  mounted  devfs,
       listening  for  the  creation  and  removal  of device entries (this is
       termed a change operation). For each change operation, devfsd can  take
       many actions. The daemon will normally run itself in the background and
       send messages to syslog.

       The opening of  the  syslog  service  is  automatically  delayed  until
       /dev/log is created.

       At  startup,  before  switching  to  daemon  mode, devfsd will scan the
       mounted device tree and will generate  synthetic  REGISTER  events  for
       each leaf node and directory.

       mntpnt This specifies a mount point for where devfs is mounted. This is
              typically "/dev". The daemon will change directory to this mount
              point before opening any files.

       -v     This  option  will print the protocol version numbers for devfsd
              and the kernel-side protocol version provided by  devfs  itself.
              The programme then exits.

       -d     Run  devfsd  in  debug  mode. Used for debugging the kernel-side
              protocol implemented by devfs. This  also  prints  the  protocol
              version numbers. In this mode the daemon runs in the foreground.

       -t num Set  the trace level to num. If the level is greater than 0 then
              output is sent to stderr rather than syslog(3). If the level  is
              greater than 1 then devfsd will run in trace mode. Higher levels
              yield more trace information.

       -D mask
              Set the debug mask for devfs.

       -fg    Run the daemon in the foreground.

       -np    Exit after parsing the configuration file  and  processing  syn-
              thetic  REGISTER events. Do not poll for events. This is primar-
              ily used for creating compatibility entries  without  needing  a
              daemon running in the background.

       The  configuration  file  /etc/devfs/devfsd.conf  configures the devfsd
       programme. It is a simple ASCII file with one configuration option  per
       line.  Comment  lines  must start with a leading '#' character. Comment
       lines and blank lines are ignored. Each configuration option is a  key-
       word  followed by zero or more parameters, depending on the option. The
       following section details the configuration options. Below are the per-
       mitted keywords:

       INCLUDE location
              Include  the  configuration  file  named  by  location. Variable
              expansion is applied to location (see the  section  on  VARIABLE
              EXPANSION below). If this is a directory, then all files (except
              those which start with '.') are read. This  is  recursive  (i.e.
              files which are in fact subdirectories are also read).

              If  the  first  character  of  location is "+", then the rest of
              location is the name of an NIS map to load.  This  operation  is
              silently  ignored if the NIS domain has not yet been set (SIGHUP
              should then be sent after the NIS domain has been set).

       OPTIONAL_INCLUDE location
              As above, except that if the file does not exist, it is silently

              Clear the current configuration.

       RESTORE directory
              This  will  restore  entries previously saved under directory to
              devfs. Only symbolic links or entries with the  sticky  bit  set
              will be restored. This action is taken as the configuration file
              is read. With appropriate COPY actions, complete persistence  is

       The  config  file  can  also  be used to specify actions that should be
       taken at specified events. Each line specifies  an  event  and  action.
       Multiple  actions  (of  the  same  or different types) per event may be
       specified (one action per line). Events are processed  in  order,  with
       the first event config line being processed first. The syntax is:

       EVENT devname ACTION [args...]
              where  EVENT  is the event and ACTION is the action to take when
              the event occurs. The action is only taken when devname  matches
              the name of the device entry affected (this does not include the
              mount point for the filesystem). This is processed as a  regular
              expression.  Some  actions  support  extra  arguments, passed as

              Variable expansion is applied to the arguments (see the  section
              on  VARIABLE EXPANSION below). After variable expansion, regular
              expression substitution is performed (see the section on REGULAR
              EXPRESSION  SUBSTITUTION). Note that the following special vari-
              able names are also recognised:

                     the full path name of the new device

                     the name of the new device inside the devfs namespace

              mode   the mode of the device entry in octal

              uid    the user ID of the process or inode

              gid    the group ID of the process or inode

       The following events are recognised:

              The device entry or directory was registered by a device driver.

              The device entry was unregistered by a device driver.

              The inode was opened (the opening process does not  wait  for  a

       CLOSE  The file was closed.

       LOOKUP An  inode  lookup  was  performed and there was no device entry.
              This event is not sent if the initiating process  is  devfsd  or
              one of its children.

       CHANGE Some inode attributes were changed.

       CREATE An inode was created by a process.

       DELETE An inode was deleted by a process.

       The following actions are recognised:

       PERMISSIONS owner_and_group access_mode
              owner_and_group  specifies  the  owner  and  group that the file
              should be set to. This must be  of  the  form  "user.group"  and
              either  "user"  or "group" component may be symbolic or numeric.
              To specify that the user or group be left alone, use  a  numeric
              value  of  "-1" for the respective component. access_mode speci-
              fies the access mode the file should be set  to.  This  must  be
              either  an  octal  value or a symbolic string of nine characters
              with the form "rwxrwxrwx". Where access  is  not  given,  a  '-'
              character  should  be used in place (e.g. "rw-rw-r--" gives read
              and write access to the user and group and only read  access  to
              everybody else).

              This  action will pass "/dev/$devname" (i.e. "/dev/" prefixed to
              the device name) to the module loading  facility.  In  addition,
              the /etc/modutils/devfs configuration file is used.

       EXECUTE path [arg...]
              This  action allows you to run a programme. path is the pathname
              of the programme to run and arg is a set of  optional  arguments
              passed  to the programme (maximum 6). path is the first argument
              (i.e. argv[0]) passed to the programme.

       MFUNCTION path function [arg...]
              This action allows you to run a "main"-style function  within  a
              shared  object.  path is the pathname of the shared object, with
              the special path of "GLOBAL" signifying all global symbols (e.g.
              from  libc).  The  default directory is /lib/devfsd. function is
              the name of the function symbol to run  and  arg  is  a  set  of
              optional  arguments  passed to the function (maximum 5). path is
              the first argument (i.e. argv[0]) passed to  the  function.  The
              prototype for this function is similar to the main function of C
              programmes. The prototype is:

              int func (int argc, char **argv);

       CFUNCTION path function [arg...]
              This action is similar to the MFUNCTION action, except  for  the
              calling convention. The prototype for this function is:

              int  func  (void *arg1, void *arg2, void *arg3, void *arg4, void

              Up to 5 arguments may be passed, each being of type void *.  The
              following special arguments are recognised:

              EVENT  a struct devfsd_notify_struct * is passed

       COPY source destination
              This  action will copy the device type and permissions of source
              to destination. The sticky bit is set on the  destination  inode
              if the source inode was create manually (i.e. not by a driver or

       IGNORE This action causes all subsequent processing for the event to be

              This action creates an "old" compatibility entry for the device.

              This action creates a "new" compatibility entry for the device.

              This action removes an "old" compatibility entry for the device.

              This action removes a "new" compatibility entry for the device.

       A  subset of normal Bourne shell variable expansion is applied to vari-
       ous expressions. The currently supported subset is: $variable,  ${vari-
       able} and ${variable:-word}.  Variables are taken from the environment.
       The following variable names are also defined :

              The hostname of the machine

       mntpnt The mount point for devfs

       Sections of the matched  regular  expression  can  be  included  in  an
       action.   Use  \0 to refer to the entire regular expression matched, \1
       to refer to the first parenthesized subexpression, \2 to refer  to  the
       second, and so on.  (Use \\ to include an actual backslash.)

       See devfsd.conf(5) for examples of regular expression substitution.

       devfsd responds to signals in a variety of ways:

       SIGINT devfsd will exit cleanly.

              devfsd will exit cleanly.

       SIGHUP The  configuration  file  is  re-read and any shared objects are
              reloaded. Then the mounted device tree is scanned and  synthetic
              REGISTER events are generated for each leaf node.

              The  configuration  file  is  re-read and any shared objects are
              reloaded. No synthetic REGISTER events are generated.

       Create and destroy old compatibility entries:
              REGISTER     .*           MKOLDCOMPAT
              UNREGISTER   .*           RMOLDCOMPAT

       Create and destroy new compatibility entries:
              REGISTER     .*           MKNEWCOMPAT
              UNREGISTER   .*           RMNEWCOMPAT

       Load modules:
              LOOKUP       .*           MODLOAD

       Make and remove a symbolic link:
              REGISTER     mydir/mydev  CFUNCTION GLOBAL mksymlink $devname mydev
              UNREGISTER   mydir/mydev  CFUNCTION GLOBAL unlink  mydev

       Give sndusers group access to sound drivers
              REGISTER     sound/.*     PERMISSIONS root.sndusers rw-rw----

              the configuration file. If this file  is  missing  or  has  zero
              size, devfsd will exit after its setup phase.

              the  generic module configuration file (required for the MODLOAD
              action), which is installed with devfsd. This in  turn  includes

       Make  sure you understand the implications of regular expression match-
       ing. For example, if you had a configuration line such as:

       LOOKUP cdrom CFUNCTION GLOBAL mksymlink  ${mntpnt}/cdroms/cdrom0  $dev-

       then   referencing   "/dev/cdrom1"   will   create  the  symbolic  link
       "/dev/cdrom1". Further, referencing "/dev/cdroms/1" would  also  create
       the  "/dev/cdroms/1" symbolic link. This is probably not what you want.
       If there was not already a "/dev/cdroms" directory, then you would  get
       a  "/dev/cdrom"  symbolic link. Definately not what you want!  The cor-
       rect configuration line would be:

       LOOKUP ^cdrom$ CFUNCTION GLOBAL mksymlink ${mntpnt}/cdroms/cdrom0 $dev-

       init(8), devfsd.conf(5), modprobe(8)

       Richard Gooch (rgoochATatnf.au)

       The     Device     Filesystem     daemon     is     available     from:

       It is strongly recommended to read the devfs FAQ, which  contains  con-
       figuration        tips.        It        is        available        at:

       A mailing list  exists  for  devfs  kernel  patch  and  devfsd  release
       announcements.  This list also has a small amount of discussion traffic
       (a few messages per week). You may subscribe by sending  a  message  to
       majordomo@oss.sgi.com with subscribe devfs in the message body.

Linux System Daemons              8 Mar 2002                         DEVFSD(8)