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Date:      Mon, 4 Dec 2000 12:41:10 -0800
From:      Rich Morin <>
To:        freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.ORG
Subject:   documenting /dev/*
Message-ID:  <p05001918b651b0ea46a9@[]>

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In documenting /dev/*, I came to some conclusions about it.  Here they
are, along with a proposed remedy.


devs_proposal, 2000.12

/dev is a mess.  It may work OK for programs, but it is a disaster for
humans.  So, here is a modest proposal for a rework (DUCKING).

Because /dev is "wired in" to any number of programs, it must live on.
A "structured dev" directory (/sdev) can, however, be created and used
as a friendly alternative.  /sdev will contain the same device names as
/dev does, but they will be organized by a set of subdirectories, as:

/sdev/                  structured dev
   bus/                    bus adapters
     scsi/                   SCSI bus adapters
       adw/                    Advansys 16-bit SCSI Host adapters
   disk/                   disks
     cdrom/                  CD-ROM disks
       acd/                  ATAPI CD-ROM disks
     floppy/               floppy disks
      afd/                   ATAPI floppy disks
     hard/                 hard disks
       ad/                   ATA hard disks
     raid/                 RAID arrays
      amrd/                  AMI MegaRAID
   misc/                   miscellany
     audio/                  audio
     video/                  video
   net/                    network interfaces
     ether/                  Ethernet interfaces
       cs/                     Crystel Semiconductor-based
     radio/                  radio-based network interfaces
   tape/                   tapes
     sa/                   (SCSI) Sequential Access devices

The implementation of /sdev is simple in principle, but complicated
in practice.  Each device node in /sdev is simply a hard link to a
node in /dev.  The difficulty lies in knowing where the links should
go.  I have a reasonable starting point on an index of /dev nodes,
but more work will be needed before it can drive a creation script.
Rich Morin:, +1 650-873-7841,
Prime Time Freeware:, +1 408-433-9662,

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