Character Block and Other Devices
The ways in which data are exchanged between peripherals and the system can be classified into several categories. Some devices are better suited to character-oriented exchange because the volumes of data transferred are low. Others are better able to handle data blocks with a fixed number of bytes. The kernel makes a distinction between character and block devices. The former category includes serial interfaces and text consoles, while the latter covers hard disks, CD-ROM devices, and the like.
Continue reading here: Identifying Device Files
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