Section: Linux Programmer's Manual (4)
Return to Main Contents
ptmx, pts - pseudoterminal master and slave
is a character file with major number 5 and
minor number 2, usually of mode 0666 and owner.group of root.root.
It is used to create a pseudoterminal master and slave pair.
When a process opens
it gets a file
descriptor for a pseudoterminal master (PTM),
and a pseudoterminal slave (PTS) device is created in the
Each file descriptor obtained by opening
is an independent PTM with its own associated PTS, whose path can
be found by passing the descriptor to
Before opening the pseudoterminal slave, you must pass the master's file
Once both the pseudoterminal master and slave are open, the slave provides
processes with an interface that is identical to that of a real terminal.
Data written to the slave is presented on the master descriptor as input.
Data written to the master is presented to the slave as input.
In practice, pseudoterminals are used for implementing terminal emulators
in which data read from the pseudoterminal master is interpreted by the
application in the same way
a real terminal would interpret the data, and for implementing remote-login
programs such as
in which data read from the pseudoterminal master is sent across the network
to a client program that is connected to a terminal or terminal emulator.
Pseudoterminals can also be used to send input to programs that normally
refuse to read input from pipes (such as
The Linux support for the above (known as UNIX 98 pseudoterminal naming)
is done using the
filesystem, that should be mounted on
Before this UNIX 98 scheme, master pseudoterminals were called
and slave pseudoterminals
and one needed lots of preallocated device nodes.
This page is part of release 3.74 of the Linux
A description of the project,
information about reporting bugs,
and the latest version of this page,
can be found at
- SEE ALSO