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I was wondering if it were possible to add devices to my computers /dev folder over a network.

In linux philosophy, everything is treated as a file, and if I can have my /home/user1 and /home/user2 folders located somewhere on the network, why not the devices in /dev?

The idea is that I might control, say, a cd drive in another computer or, a monitor on another computer. Can anyone give me some thoughts on adding devices to my /dev folder over a network? The aim is to make something evil of course! (like a 10 monitor PC)

I am just looking for a hack. :-)

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Accessing blocks belonging to a remote disk is a common requirement and there are various solutions. If you want something portable iSCSI which provides a SCSI like interface through the network would be a good start.

Accessing remote frame buffer can somewhat be done using x2x, but you'll be limited to four extra monitors (north, east, south and west) and won't be able to move windows from one monitor to another. For your 10 monitor PC project, dmx might fit the need. Beware that it hadn't been updated since 2004 though.

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Sounds like you're looking for Distributed Block Device: http://drbd.linbit.com/

This is a method of accessing block devices over the network, as requested, although usually used for storage rather than remote video.

  • Additional explanation added, and URL updated. – Phil Jan 11 '16 at 14:18
  • Drdb doesn't really allow accessing remote block devices, what it does is maintaining local and remote blocks in sync (mirrored) so you need physical disks on both servers. Also, it only supports storage, not video devices at all. – jlliagre Jan 11 '16 at 15:53

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