Modifying Hardware Settings

The most common use for /proc is to deliver information to you on a computer's configuration. This isn't the only use for /proc, though; it's possible to write to some of the pseudo-files in /proc, which causes them to change their settings. This practice is most commonly used to adjust hardware parameters, such as whether a hard disk uses DMA mode. Such tasks are almost always better performed via utilities designed for the purpose, however. For instance, although you can write to the /proc/ide/ideO/hda/settings file, doing so is tricky. It's better to use the hdparm utility (described in Chapter 2, "Improving Disk Performance") to tune EIDE disk performance. This utility provides parameters that are easier to use than writing raw data to /proc pseudo-files.

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