Let’s Root Around In The /proc Directory

Today, we’re going to root around in the /proc directory. Why? So we can learn about our Linux system. See, there’s quite a bit of information hidden in there and I’m going to show you how to get it out of there. You’ll have to root around for it, as I’m not going to document every possible combination, but you’ll have the tools to do so.

We will be using the terminal for this, but we’ll only be using a couple of tools. The first tool we’ll use is the ‘ls’ command. We’ve used it before to sort files by time and sort files by size and even to show hidden files and folders. So, as you can guess, it’s a pretty handy command.

The other application we’ll be using is ‘cat’. We’ve used that less often, but we’ve used it before, but here’s a brief overview of the ‘cat’ command. You might want to read that. But, basically, we use the cat command to read files in the terminal. 

The ‘cat’ command is also a pretty handy command. You can try it out yourself. If we assume you’re using bash and have history enabled (the vast majority of Linux users) you can do something like:

That command should spit out the history of commands you’ve typed into the terminal. Perhaps some of ’em will have been things you learned right here on Linux-Tips! Well, maybe… I mean, people tell me they learn stuff here, though I’m never quite sure how! 😉 Anyhow…

So, this will be a fairly informal article. It should also be quick and easy. You’re welcome!

Rooting Around In The /proc Directory:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Like I said, this is a fairly informal article. Quick and easy, right? Well, I’m going to show you everything you need to know in one command. Ready?

You’ll see a whole lot of files. What you want to do is use ‘cat’ on those files. Like, if you want to read/check your CPU information, you’d use:

Do you want to see the information the system has for your memory?

Not all the files have useful data, but some of them do. That’s why you’ve gotta root around in there. You’ve gotta learn which files contain which information – but I’ve given you a head start with two of them. You’re on a path of discovery, ’cause I’m surely not going to go through all of ’em to tell you what they do. I give you the tools, you do the work. Or something like that…


See? Nice and easy, and very much an informal article. You can now root around in the /proc directory to get some system information. You may need elevated permissions to read some files, and some of them contain what’s pure gibberish to me. They might make more sense to you!

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