Used in the operating system to provide an interface to input/output devices. There is at least one special file for each device connected to the computer. Contrast with directory (page ***) and file (page ***).
a file system object which is accessed as though it was a file, but the sequence of bits is supplied or consumed by another process (or by the operating system itself) such as a device driver or network interface
An entity in the filesystem that accesses I/O devices. There is a special file for every terminal, every network controller, every partition of every disk drive, and every possible way of accessing every tape drive. See also article 1.29.