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The /proc filesystem is a 'pseudo filesystem': it looks like any other hierarchical structure of files and folders. Some of the operations you would usually perform on other files simply won't work.
That is, because it actually is a file system interface to the kernel it only implements basic operations such as "read from" or "write to". thus, the basic way to inspect some kernel parameter such as /proc/ioports is to look at the output of a 'cat '.
For other, tunable parameters, something like 'echo "1" > /proc/sys/net/ip_forward' could turn ip forwarding on.

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