sysctl(8) is an interface that allows you to make changes to a running FreeBSD system. This includes many advanced options of the TCP/IP stack and virtual memory system that can dramatically improve performance for an experienced system administrator. Over five hundred system variables can be read and set using sysctl(8).
At its core, sysctl(8) serves to do two functions: read and modify system settings.
To view all readable variables:
% sysctl -a
To read a particular variable, for example, kern.maxproc:
% sysctl kern.maxproc kern.maxproc: 1044
To set a particular variable, use the intuitive variable=value syntax:
# sysctl kern.maxfiles=5000 kern.maxfiles: 2088 -> 5000
Settings of sysctl variables are usually either strings, numbers, or booleans. A boolean being 1 for yes or a 0 for no.
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