Unix File Management question and answer for Interview
7. What are links and symbolic links in UNIX file system?
A link is a second name (not a file) for a file. Links can be used to assign more than one name to a file, but cannot be used to assign a directory more than one name or link filenames on different computers.
Symbolic link 'is' a file that only contains the name of another file.Operation on the symbolic link is directed to the file pointed by the it.Both the limitations of links are eliminated in symbolic links.
Commands for linking files are:
Link "ln filename1 filename2"
Symbolic link "ln -s filename1 filename2"
8. How do you create special files like named pipes and device files?
The system call mknod creates special files in the following sequence.
- kernel assigns new inode,
- sets the file type to indicate that the file is a pipe, directory or special file,
- If it is a device file, it makes the other entries like major, minor device numbers.
If the device is a disk, major device number refers to the disk controller and minor device number is the disk.
9. Discuss the mount and unmount system calls.
The privileged mount system call is used to attach a file system to a directory of another file system; the unmount system call detaches a file system. When you mount another file system on to your directory, you are essentially splicing one directory tree onto a branch in another directory tree. The first argument to mount call is the mount point, that is , a directory in the current file naming system. The second argument is the file system to mount to that point. When you insert a cdrom to your unix system's drive, the file system in the cdrom automatically mounts to "/dev/cdrom" in your system.
10. What is 'inode'?
All UNIX files have its description stored in a structure called 'inode'. The inode contains info about the file-size, its location, time of last access, time of last modification, permission and so on. Directories are also represented as files and have an associated inode. In addition to descriptions about the file, the inode contains pointers to the data blocks of the file. If the file is large, inode has indirect pointer to a block of pointers to additional data blocks (this further aggregates for larger files). A block is typically 8k.
Inode consists of the following fields:
- File owner identifier
- File type
- File access permissions
- File access times
- Number of links
- File size
- Location of the file data
11. How does the inode map to data block of a file?
Inode has 13 block addresses. The first 10 are direct block addresses of the first 10 data blocks in the file. The 11th address points to a one-level index block. The 12th address points to a two-level (double in-direction) index block. The 13th address points to a three-level(triple in-direction)index block. This provides a very large maximum file size with efficient access to large files, but also small files are accessed directly in one disk read.