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Subject[PATCH v6 2/7] media: open.rst: better document device node naming
Right now, only kAPI documentation describes the device naming.
However, such description is needed at the uAPI too. Add it,
and describe how to get an unique identify for a given device.

Acked-by: Hans Verkuil <>
Signed-off-by: Mauro Carvalho Chehab <>
Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst | 44 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++---
1 file changed, 41 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst b/Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst
index afd116edb40d..7e7aad784388 100644
--- a/Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst
+++ b/Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst
@@ -7,12 +7,14 @@ Opening and Closing Devices

-Device Naming
+.. _v4l2_device_naming:
+V4L2 Device Node Naming

V4L2 drivers are implemented as kernel modules, loaded manually by the
system administrator or automatically when a device is first discovered.
-The driver modules plug into the "videodev" kernel module. It provides
+The driver modules plug into the ``videodev`` kernel module. It provides
helper functions and a common application interface specified in this

@@ -23,6 +25,42 @@ option CONFIG_VIDEO_FIXED_MINOR_RANGES. In that case minor numbers
are allocated in ranges depending on the device node type (video, radio,

+The existing V4L2 device node types are:
+======================== ======================================================
+Default device node name Usage
+======================== ======================================================
+``/dev/videoX`` Video input/output devices
+``/dev/vbiX`` Vertical blank data (i.e. closed captions, teletext)
+``/dev/radioX`` Radio tuners and modulators
+``/dev/swradioX`` Software Defined Radio tuners and modulators
+``/dev/v4l-touchX`` Touch sensors
+======================== ======================================================
+Where ``X`` is a non-negative number.
+.. note::
+ 1. The actual device node name is system-dependent, as udev rules may apply.
+ 2. There is no guarantee that ``X`` will remain the same for the same
+ device, as the number depends on the device driver's probe order.
+ If you need an unique name, udev default rules produce
+ ``/dev/v4l/by-id/`` and ``/dev/v4l/by-path/`` directories containing
+ links that can be used uniquely to identify a V4L2 device node::
+ $ tree /dev/v4l
+ /dev/v4l
+ ├── by-id
+ │   └── usb-OmniVision._USB_Camera-B4.04.27.1-video-index0 -> ../../video0
+ └── by-path
+ └── pci-0000:00:14.0-usb-0:2:1.0-video-index0 -> ../../video0
+ 3. **V4L2 sub-device nodes** (e. g. ``/dev/v4l-sudevX``) provide a
+ different API and aren't considered as V4L2 device nodes.
+ They are covered at :ref:`subdev`.
Many drivers support "video_nr", "radio_nr" or "vbi_nr" module
options to select specific video/radio/vbi node numbers. This allows the
user to request that the device node is named e.g. /dev/video5 instead
 \ /
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