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Manual Pages  — SYSCTL

NAME

sysctl – get or set kernel state

CONTENTS

SYNOPSIS


sysctl [-bdehiNnoRTtqx] [-B bufsize] [-f filename] name[=value[,value]] ...
sysctl [-bdehNnoRTtqx] [-B bufsize] -a

DESCRIPTION

The sysctl utility retrieves kernel state and allows processes with appropriate privilege to set kernel state. The state to be retrieved or set is described using a "Management Information Base" ("MIB") style name, described as a dotted set of components.

The following options are available:
-A
  Equivalent to -o -a (for compatibility).
-a
  List all the currently available non-opaque values. This option is ignored if one or more variable names are specified on the command line.
-b
  Force the value of the variable(s) to be output in raw, binary format. No names are printed and no terminating newlines are output. This is mostly useful with a single variable.
-B bufsize
  Set the buffer size to read from the sysctl to bufsize. This is necessary for a sysctl that has variable length, and the probe value of 0 is a valid length, such as kern.arandom.
-d
  Print the description of the variable instead of its value.
-e
  Separate the name and the value of the variable(s) with ‘=’. This is useful for producing output which can be fed back to the sysctl utility. This option is ignored if either -N or -n is specified, or a variable is being set.
-f filename
  Specify a file which contains a pair of name and value in each line. sysctl reads and processes the specified file first and then processes the name and value pairs in the command line argument.
-h
  Format output for human, rather than machine, readability.
-i
  Ignore unknown OIDs. The purpose is to make use of sysctl for collecting data from a variety of machines (not all of which are necessarily running exactly the same software) easier.
-N
  Show only variable names, not their values. This is particularly useful with shells that offer programmable completion. To enable completion of variable names in zsh(1) ( ports/shells/zsh), use the following code:
listsysctls () { set -A reply $(sysctl -AN ${1%.*}) }
compctl -K listsysctls sysctl

To enable completion of variable names in tcsh(1), use:

    complete sysctl 'n/*/`sysctl -Na`/'

-n
  Show only variable values, not their names. This option is useful for setting shell variables. For instance, to save the pagesize in variable psize, use:

    set psize=`sysctl -n hw.pagesize`

-o
  Show opaque variables (which are normally suppressed). The format and length are printed, as well as a hex dump of the first sixteen bytes of the value.
-q
  Suppress some warnings generated by sysctl to standard error.
-T
  Display only variables that are settable via loader (CTLFLAG_TUN).
-t
  Print the type of the variable.
-W
  Display only writable variables that are not statistical. Useful for determining the set of runtime tunable sysctls.
-X
  Equivalent to -x -a (for compatibility).
-x
  As -o, but prints a hex dump of the entire value instead of just the first few bytes.

The information available from sysctl consists of integers, strings, and opaque types. The sysctl utility only knows about a couple of opaque types, and will resort to hexdumps for the rest. The opaque information is much more useful if retrieved by special purpose programs such as ps(1), systat(1), and netstat(1).

Some of the variables which cannot be modified during normal system operation can be initialized via loader(8) tunables. This can for example be done by setting them in loader.conf(5). Please refer to loader.conf(5) for more information on which tunables are available and how to set them.

The string and integer information is summarized below. For a detailed description of these variable see sysctl(3).

The changeable column indicates whether a process with appropriate privilege can change the value. String and integer values can be set using sysctl.
Name Ta Type Changeable

kern.ostype Ta string
no

kern.osrelease Ta string
no

kern.osrevision Ta integer
no

kern.version Ta string
no

kern.maxvnodes Ta integer
yes

kern.maxproc Ta integer
no

kern.maxprocperuid Ta integer
yes

kern.maxfiles Ta integer
yes

kern.maxfilesperproc Ta integer
yes

kern.argmax Ta integer
no

kern.securelevel Ta integer
raise only

kern.hostname Ta string
yes

kern.hostid Ta integer
yes

kern.clockrate Ta struct
no

kern.posix1version Ta integer
no

kern.ngroups Ta integer
no

kern.job_control Ta integer
no

kern.saved_ids Ta integer
no

kern.boottime Ta struct
no

kern.domainname Ta string
yes

kern.filedelay Ta integer
yes

kern.dirdelay Ta integer
yes

kern.metadelay Ta integer
yes

kern.osreldate Ta integer
no

kern.bootfile Ta string
yes

kern.corefile Ta string
yes

kern.logsigexit Ta integer
yes

security.bsd.suser_enabled Ta integer
yes

security.bsd.see_other_uids Ta integer
yes

security.bsd.unprivileged_proc_debug Ta integer
yes

security.bsd.unprivileged_read_msgbuf Ta integer
yes

vm.loadavg Ta struct
no

hw.machine Ta string
no

hw.model Ta string
no

hw.ncpu Ta integer
no

hw.byteorder Ta integer
no

hw.physmem Ta integer
no

hw.usermem Ta integer
no

hw.pagesize Ta integer
no

hw.floatingpoint Ta integer
no

hw.machine_arch Ta string
no

hw.realmem Ta integer
no

machdep.adjkerntz Ta integer
yes

machdep.disable_rtc_set Ta integer
yes

machdep.guessed_bootdev Ta string
no

user.cs_path Ta string
no

user.bc_base_max Ta integer
no

user.bc_dim_max Ta integer
no

user.bc_scale_max Ta integer
no

user.bc_string_max Ta integer
no

user.coll_weights_max Ta integer
no

user.expr_nest_max Ta integer
no

user.line_max Ta integer
no

user.re_dup_max Ta integer
no

user.posix2_version Ta integer
no

user.posix2_c_bind Ta integer
no

user.posix2_c_dev Ta integer
no

user.posix2_char_term Ta integer
no

user.posix2_fort_dev Ta integer
no

user.posix2_fort_run Ta integer
no

user.posix2_localedef Ta integer
no

user.posix2_sw_dev Ta integer
no

user.posix2_upe Ta integer
no

user.stream_max Ta integer
no

user.tzname_max Ta integer
no

FILES

<sys/sysctl.h>
  definitions for top level identifiers, second level kernel and hardware identifiers, and user level identifiers
<sys/socket.h>
  definitions for second level network identifiers
<sys/gmon.h>
  definitions for third level profiling identifiers
<vm/vm_param.h>
  definitions for second level virtual memory identifiers
<netinet/in.h>
  definitions for third level Internet identifiers and fourth level IP identifiers
<netinet/icmp_var.h>
  definitions for fourth level ICMP identifiers
<netinet/udp_var.h>
  definitions for fourth level UDP identifiers

EXAMPLES

For example, to retrieve the maximum number of processes allowed in the system, one would use the following request:

    sysctl kern.maxproc

To set the maximum number of processes allowed per uid to 1000, one would use the following request:

    sysctl kern.maxprocperuid=1000

Information about the system clock rate may be obtained with:

    sysctl kern.clockrate

Information about the load average history may be obtained with:

    sysctl vm.loadavg

More variables than these exist, and the best and likely only place to search for their deeper meaning is undoubtedly the source where they are defined.

COMPATIBILITY

The -w option has been deprecated and is silently ignored.

SEE ALSO

sysctl(3), loader.conf(5), sysctl.conf(5), loader(8)

HISTORY

A sysctl utility first appeared in BSD 4.4 .

In FreeBSD 2.2, sysctl was significantly remodeled.

BUGS

The sysctl utility presently exploits an undocumented interface to the kernel sysctl facility to traverse the sysctl tree and to retrieve format and name information. This correct interface is being thought about for the time being.

SYSCTL (8) March 9, 2018

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