|The Unix and Internet Fundamentals HOWTO, by Eric Raymond|
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T H E /proc F I L E S Y S T E M
Procfs is present in most non-BSD unices. It started its life in AT&T's Bell Labs in UNIX 8th edition as a way to report information about processes (and ps is often a pretty-printer for information read through /proc). Whenever you read a file under /proc, this invokes some code in the kernel which computes the text to read as the file content. The fact that the content is generated on the fly explains why almost all files have their time reported as now and their size reported as 0 — here you should read 0 as “don't know”.
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