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12. Special file types

This chapter describes commands which create special types of files (and rmdir, which removes directories, one special file type).

Although Unix-like operating systems have markedly fewer special file types than others, not everything can be treated only as the undifferentiated byte stream of normal files. For example, when a file is created or removed, the system must record this information, which it does in a directory---a special type of file. Although you can read directories as normal files, if you're curious, in order for the system to do its job it must impose a structure, a certain order, on the bytes of the file. Thus it is a "special" type of file.

Besides directories, other special file types include named pipes (FIFOs), symbolic links, sockets, and so-called special files.

12.1 link: Make a hard link via the link syscall  Make a hard link via the link syscall
12.2 ln: Make links between files  Make links between files.
12.3 mkdir: Make directories  Make directories.
12.4 mkfifo: Make FIFOs (named pipes)  Make FIFOs (named pipes).
12.5 mknod: Make block or character special files  Make block or character special files.
12.6 rmdir: Remove empty directories  Remove empty directories.
12.7 unlink: Remove files via the unlink syscall  Remove files via the unlink syscall

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