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I'd be really grateful for enlightenment on the pros and cons of compiling devfs support into the kernel. I have a one box slackware 9.0 set up with no more than the average number of devices. Being something of a control-freak I'd quite like to be responsible my own /dev directory rather than having it done by a process. Or am I missing the point?
well you do have the same level of control really, youjust go at it from a different angle.... your changes and symlinks are done as entries in /etc/devfsd.conf which you are free to personalise as you wish.
obviously it does add an extra layer of complexity to rely upon , but it is reliable and stable i've found, so i wouldn't worry about that really.
and of course it's an awful lot cleaner, a flat structure typically tries to include all known devices, which is a pretty horrendous place to be... it's nice to only have /dev/hdXY entries for partitions that actually exist...
I'm really interested in this myself - the /dev directory drives me almost as nuts as SysV /etc/rc.whoozits. But I'm really not knowledgeable about the subject. One thing I worry about is that if I add new hardware or, say cdrecord wants to pretend I have a /dev/sr0, that's simplified by the complicated /dev directory because those nodes already exist, or not? I mean, with devfs, I'd have to know what devices to add to /etc/devfsd.conf or my devices wouldn't work?
I read some devfs docs in the kernel source docs when I was compiling a kernel but I didn't really get it. So I've always played it safe and stuck with what I (sort of barely) knew rather than experimenting with what I suspect I'd prefer.
My distro uses devfs by default, so I just got used to it. It isn't really that more difficult to maintain, but I would imagine setting it up on an existing install would be more of a challenge. You would need to:
1. add support for devfs in kernel
2. install devfsd and set it up to run as a daemon
3. rewrite fstab with the new naming conventions
4. have yet another /etc/*.conf file to maintain, this one with especially cryptic syntax
To tell the truth I have noticed neither advantages nor disadvantages, so I would say stick to the status quo unless you have a real itch to try it.
thanks for the input everybody. I think I must have accidently compiled devfs into my kernel!? but am going to leave it in now and see how it goes. Seems that my fears of losing control of the system configuration were unfounded