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I know Unix filesystem sometimes has things that appear to be files but are not actually files. The files in dev actually point to devices. Its also possible to created named pipes which also appear to be files but are actually fifo message queues of sorts. The proc directory has files based on processes, memory, hardware, etc.

I am trying to better to understand these abstractions to decide which I might be able to utilize. How many ways does Unix feign files and which can be readily implemented/used by admins? (i.e. named pipes and symlinks are easy enough to use.) If I knew the right terms for the concepts I might be able to find the details online.

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Along with named pipes, there are also sockets. A list of some of the differences between the two here:… – Ehtesh Choudhury Oct 6 '13 at 0:46
up vote 0 down vote accepted should give you a preliminary way of the types of files in Unix. Seems like there are 7 types in all:

  • - (regular file)
  • d (directory)
  • l (symbolic link)
  • b (block device)
  • c (character device)
  • p (named pipe)
  • s (socket)

There's more information regarding these file types in some old (and apparently obsolete) Debian documentation:

But as for more modern references, I don't know of any off the top of my head.

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Thanks for the feedback. – Mario Nov 28 '13 at 6:24

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