RAW(8)                       System Administration                      RAW(8)

       raw - bind a Linux raw character device

       raw /dev/raw/raw<N> <major> <minor>

       raw /dev/raw/raw<N> /dev/<blockdev>

       raw -q /dev/raw/raw<N>

       raw -qa

       raw is used to bind a Linux raw character device to a block device.
       Any block device may be used: at the time of binding, the device driver
       does not even have to be accessible (it may be loaded on demand as a
       kernel module later).

       raw is used in two modes: it either sets raw device bindings, or it
       queries existing bindings.  When setting a raw device, /dev/raw/raw<N>
       is the device name of an existing raw device node in the filesystem.
       The block device to which it is to be bound can be specified either in
       terms of its major and minor device numbers, or as a path name
       /dev/<blockdev> to an existing block device file.

       The bindings already in existence can be queried with the -q option,
       which is used either with a raw device filename to query that one
       device, or with the -a option to query all bound raw devices.

       Unbinding can be done by specifying major and minor 0.

       Once bound to a block device, a raw device can be opened, read and
       written, just like the block device it is bound to.  However, the raw
       device does not behave exactly like the block device.  In particular,
       access to the raw device bypasses the kernel's block buffer cache
       entirely: all I/O is done directly to and from the address space of the
       process performing the I/O.  If the underlying block device driver can
       support DMA, then no data copying at all is required to complete the

       Because raw I/O involves direct hardware access to a process's memory,
       a few extra restrictions must be observed.  All I/Os must be correctly
       aligned in memory and on disk: they must start at a sector offset on
       disk, they must be an exact number of sectors long, and the data buffer
       in virtual memory must also be aligned to a multiple of the sector
       size.  The sector size is 512 bytes for most devices.

       -q, --query
              Set query mode.  raw will query an existing binding instead of
              setting a new one.

       -a, --all
              With -q , specify that all bound raw devices should be queried.

       -h, --help
              Display help text and exit.

       -V, --version
              Display version information and exit.

       The Linux dd(1) command should be used without the bs= option, or the
       blocksize needs to be a multiple of the sector size of the device (512
       bytes usually), otherwise it will fail with "Invalid Argument" messages

       Raw I/O devices do not maintain cache coherency with the Linux block
       device buffer cache.  If you use raw I/O to overwrite data already in
       the buffer cache, the buffer cache will no longer correspond to the
       contents of the actual storage device underneath.  This is deliberate,
       but is regarded either a bug or a feature depending on who you ask!

       Rather than using raw devices applications should prefer open(2)
       devices, such as /dev/sda1, with the O_DIRECT flag.

       Stephen Tweedie (sct@redhat.com)

       The raw command is part of the util-linux package and is available from

util-linux                        August 1999                           RAW(8)