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Subject[PATCH v2 1/3] 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.

Signed-off-by: Mauro Carvalho Chehab <>
Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst | 40 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++-----
1 file changed, 35 insertions(+), 5 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst b/Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst
index afd116edb40d..9b98d10d5153 100644
--- a/Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst
+++ b/Documentation/media/uapi/v4l/open.rst
@@ -7,12 +7,12 @@ Opening and Closing Devices

-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

@@ -20,8 +20,38 @@ Each driver thus loaded registers one or more device nodes with major
number 81 and a minor number between 0 and 255. Minor numbers are
allocated dynamically unless the kernel is compiled with the kernel
option CONFIG_VIDEO_FIXED_MINOR_RANGES. In that case minor numbers
-are allocated in ranges depending on the device node type (video, radio,
+are allocated in ranges depending on the device node type.
+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
+``/dev/swradioX`` Software Defined Radio tuners
+``/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's not warranty 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/`` that can use to uniquelly
+ 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

Many drivers support "video_nr", "radio_nr" or "vbi_nr" module
options to select specific video/radio/vbi node numbers. This allows the
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