The sysctl command and configuration file use the /proc filesystem's sys directory to read information and apply changes.

The Linux Journal has an article about using sysctl, but most for the most complete information look to this description of /proc/sys's contents.

The sysctl command is used to read and configure certain system settings. The Handbook describes its general use in more detail, and the FreeBSD Performance Tuning Community Wiki has some ideas.

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