[TUHS] /proc - linux vs solaris

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Tue Aug 5 08:23:25 AEST 2014

On Mon, Aug 04, 2014 at 05:24:39PM -0500, A. P. Garcia wrote:
> We in Solaris designed /proc as a tool for developers to build innovative
> solutions, not an end-user interface. The Linux community believes that
> 'cat /proc/self/maps' is the best user interface, while we believe that
> pmap(1) is right answer. The reason for this is that mdb(1), truss(1),
> dtrace(1M) and a host of other tools all make use of this same information.
> It would be a waste of time to take binary information in the kernel,
> convert it to text, and then have the userland components all write their
> own (error prone) parsing routines to convert this information back into a
> custom binary form. Plus, we can change the options and output format of
> pmap without breaking other applications that depend on the contents of
> /proc.

I come from SunOS background and have had more than a few /proc discussions
with Roger Faulkner (who I believed did the System V /proc at Bell Labs?).

I get the arguments above but I don't buy 'em.  linux really got /proc
right in terms of usefulness.  Digging binary blobs out of the kernel
and translating them sucks.  I've done, I've written kmem drivers for
ps, I understand how it works.  I far prefer the pure ascii model that
Linux has.

I also get that Linux turned /proc into /whatever/I/think/I/need/today
and that makes purists grit their teeth.  None the less, if you give
me a choice I'll take the linux way.  Want to see what files you have

	ls -l /proc/$$/fd

Etc.  Really easy to poke around and figure stuff out as needed and no
rats nest of header files to decode the structures.


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