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12.5 mknod: Make block or character special files

mknod creates a FIFO, character special file, or block special file with the specified name. Synopsis:

mknod [option]… name type [major minor]

Unlike the phrase “special file type” above, the term special file has a technical meaning on Unix: something that can generate or receive data. Usually this corresponds to a physical piece of hardware, e.g., a printer or a disk. (These files are typically created at system-configuration time.) The mknod command is what creates files of this type. Such devices can be read either a character at a time or a “block” (many characters) at a time, hence we say there are block special files and character special files.

The arguments after name specify the type of file to make:


for a FIFO


for a block special file


for a character special file

When making a block or character special file, the major and minor device numbers must be given after the file type. If a major or minor device number begins with ‘0x’ or ‘0X’, it is interpreted as hexadecimal; otherwise, if it begins with ‘0’, as octal; otherwise, as decimal.

The program accepts the following option. Also see Common options.

-m mode

Set the mode of created files to mode, which is symbolic as in chmod and uses ‘a=rw’ as the point of departure. mode should specify only file permission bits. See section File permissions.

An exit status of zero indicates success, and a nonzero value indicates failure.

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