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The file /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq contains a single number, such as 1 (enable all sysrq commands), 0 (disable all), or a base-10 positive integer which functions as a binary bitmask, enabling a subset of functions. Could someone please tell me which sysrq functions are allowed/disallowed when the bitmask is set to 438?

cat /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq


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up vote 12 down vote accepted

These are the available SysRq functions:

2 - enable control of console logging level
4 - enable control of keyboard (SAK, unraw)
8 - enable debugging dumps of processes etc.
16 - enable sync command
32 - enable remount read-only
64 - enable signalling of processes (term, kill, oom-kill)
128 - allow reboot/poweroff
256 - allow nicing of all RT tasks

438 = 2 + 4 + 16 + 32 + 128 + 256, so only the functions associated with those numbers are allowed. Read all about it in the documentation.

If you convert 438 to base 2 (110110110) it is even easier to see.

1     1     0    1    1    0   1   1   0
^256  ^128  ^64  ^32  ^16  ^8  ^4  ^2  ^1

Depending on your distribution, you may be able to tell if the kernel was compiled with CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ using this command:

$ grep SYSRQ /boot/config-$(uname -r)

This works for me on Ubuntu.

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Ah, it's just a linear combination of the individual bitmasks. Thanks very much. – user001 Jan 7 '12 at 18:08
One follow-up: If nothing happens when I do Alt+SysRq+(a command key), then I suppose this means that sysrq was not enabled when the kernel was installed. Is there a simple way to check whether sysrq is enabled or not (e.g., can I find the status of CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ somewhere)? – user001 Jan 7 '12 at 18:14
I added a possible way to check for CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ. – William Jackson Jan 7 '12 at 18:27
Thanks. Worked for me on Debian as well. The output: CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ=y CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ_DEFAULT_MASK=0x01b6 (01b6 in hex is 438 in decimal). I suppose the y means it has been enabled. Would give 2 up-votes if I could. – user001 Jan 7 '12 at 18:28
On many Linux distros, the configuration is kept in the kernel itself, not in /boot, so the check command would be zgrep SYSRQ /proc/config.gz (or gunzip -c /proc/config.gz | grep SYSRQ). – grawity Jan 7 '12 at 19:16

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