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Understanding the Linux Kernel Paperback – 27 Dec 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2 edition (27 Dec. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596002130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596002138
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 907,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Publisher

The new edition of Understanding the Linux Kernel takes you on a guided tour through the most significant data structures, many algorithms, and programming tricks used in the kernel. The book has been updated to cover version 2.4 of the kernel, which is quite different from version 2.2: the virtual memory system is entirely new, support for multiprocessor systems is improved, and whole new classes of hardware devices have been added. You'll learn what conditions bring out Linux's best performance, and how it meets the challenge of providing good system response during process scheduling, file access, and memory management in a wide variety of environments.

About the Author

received a degree in mathematics in 1992 and a Ph.D. in computer science (University of Rome, "La Sapienza") in 1995. He is now a research assistant in the computer science department of the School of Engineering (University of Rome, "Tor Vergata"). In the past, he served as system administrator and Unix programmer for the university (as a Ph.D. student) and for several institutions (as a consultant).


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By Amazon Customer on 17 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written, gives enough to delve deeper without overwhelming. The authors comeo out as experts who understand their subject briefly. If you have to buy ONE book on the kernel, buy this one!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
No doubt it's a tough task writing about the horrible mess that is the Linux kernel. Does a good job of sticking to the principles as much as possible, and adding details that are specific to 2.0, 2.2 and 2.4 kernels.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
mixed, other books are better 4 May 2005
By M. Leisner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've been reading kernel books for nearly 20 years -- this is not recommended.

Some of the chapters and explanations I liked, others I felt were dry and lacking. The code examples seem to run through a non-deterministic preprocessor -- the code is supposed to describe 2.4.18, but the code snippets don't quite match the actual code (while generally working the same way, the algorithms/loop structure are often rewritten and the macros are sometimes expanded). I find it very useful when books comment on actual code examples, this is "kinda massaged code" -- I found it very frustrating when I actually looked at the kernel tree when they had snippets in the book.

I often found it necessary to look at the actual code to give more context (but the code rarely matched verbatim -- very strange). And when they did rewrite algorithms, I found the kernel 2.4.18 source to be MORE lucid.

The explanations without code were adequate, and I found some to be illuminating. Perhaps since the book has two authors, different authors wrote different chapters? (I liked some chapters and didn't like others).

If you want a general understanding of how kernels work, Andy Tanenbaum's "Operating Systems: Design and Implementation" where he elaborates on Minix is very useful -- with a complete Minix system (Minix is more of a teaching tool, which it does well, Linus looked at lMinix and wanted a more useful system, hence Linux).

I found Robert Love's "Linux Kernel Development" very good (I read the 1st edition, still need to read the second edtion). And Linux Device Drivers (Corbet and Rubini) is very good and has excellent examples (but the examples may need some work to build on a current kernel -- had this problem with the 2nd edition).
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
GOOD FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN 'KERNEL 2.4 VERSION' 23 Mar. 2003
By reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Oh yes! This Second of Edition of "Understanding the Linux Kernel" featured a variety of new additions. The most significant being the inclusion of all those attributes, which distinguished the 2.4 kernel version from the 2.2 one.
This new edition also revised some of the staples of its predecessor, like: individual components of data structures, programming pathways, and interdependent algorithms. Its pattern is just as dynamic as that of the First Edition: with expanded elaborations on all those programming and performance tips.
In all, this is a good book to consider, if you are seeking Linux Kernel knowledge. But, if you already own the previous edition, and do not plan to adopt the Kernel 2.4 version, then there is no wisdom in spending on this one.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Indepth-coverage of a complex system 15 Aug. 2003
By Raymond Tay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As the title suggests, the author explains concepts
in the linux operating system by using C code.
You need to be able to read C code inorder to understand
the material in the book.
It can get a bit tiring after a while considering that
the author really wants YOU to know LINUX.
The effort is worth it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Exceptional treatment of the Linux Kernel 14 Mar. 2005
By Kevin J. Schmidt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you read and understand most of what is in this book, then you will be an expert on the internals of the Linux kernel. This book goes into great detail on all aspects of the kernel. I would recommend this book, as well as "Linux Kernel Development", to be used as supplements to a college course taught on operating systems where Linux is used as a reference OS implementation.

The book does a good job of making complicated concepts accessible, but the reader may need to noodle over some concepts a bit more than others in order to fully grasp them. This, however, doesn't take away from the pedigogical nature of the book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Book on OS Design 17 Jan. 2005
By Handuma - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in OS design, or intend to work with the Linux

Kernel, Understanding the Linux Kernel is a very useful look into how

and why certian decisions were made in the Linux kernel. This book

doesn't seem to leave anything out. Example code is used very well to

show exactly what the authors are talking about. This would be an

excellent book for a course on OS design.

The second edition doesn't cover the 2.6 kernel,

which wasn't out at the time the book was published, but it still

provides a great resource for kernel information.
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