This subdirectory handles the kernel support for miscellaneous binary formats.

It provides the ability to register additional binary formats to the kernel without compiling an additional module/kernel. Therefore, binfmt_misc needs to know magic numbers at the beginning or the filename extension of the binary.

It works by maintaining a linked list of structs that contain a description of a binary format, including a magic with size (or the filename extension), offset and mask, and the interpreter name. On request it invokes the given interpreter with the original program as argument, as binfmt_java and binfmt_em86 and binfmt_mz do. Since binfmt_misc does not define any default binary-formats, you have to register an additional binary-format.

Each registered handler has an entry in /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc. These files perform the same function as status, but their scope is limited to the actual binary format. By cating this file, you also receive all related information about the interpreter/magic of the binfmt.