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Understanding the Linux Kernel Paperback – Nov 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 944 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3 edition (Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596005652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596005658
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 4.6 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Publisher

This new edition covers Version 2.6 of the Linux kernel, which has seen significant changes to nearly every kernel subsystem, particularly in the areas of memory management and block devices. Understanding the Linux Kernel provides a guided tour of the code that forms the core of all Linux operating systems. Beyond the functioning of the code, the book explains the theoretical underpinnings for why Linux, and many other operating systems, do things the way they do.

About the Author

Daniel P. Bovet got a Ph.D. in computer science at UCLA in 1968 and is now full Professor at the University of Rome, "Tor Vergata," Italy. He had to wait over 25 years before being able to teach an operating system course in a proper manner because of the lack of source code for modern, well-designed systems. Now, thanks to cheap PCs and to Linux, Marco and Dan are able to cover all the facets of an operating system from booting to tuning and are able to hand out tough, satisfying homework to their students. (These young guys working at home on their PCs are really spoiled; they never had to fight with punched cards.) In fact, Dan was so fascinated by the accomplishments of Linus Torvalds and his followers that he spent the last few years trying to unravel some of Linux's mysteries. It seemed natural, after all that work, to write a book about what he found.

Marco Cesati 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Macdonald on 27 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really is exactly what it says, it will take you from linux poweruser/administrator to understanding the basics of the kernel, and getting that vital starting point in developing.

I bought it some time ago for some background reading and found it a little bit too detailed for that, but am now studying it in more detail for a potential honuors project at university on linux file systems, which involves some kernel jiggery-pokery. Without this, I doubt I'd ever be able to get started.

It explains big ideas in English, then goes on to explain the interesting parts in English, along with the tiny bit of C code it is describing.

Well written and explains rarer generic things in an easily skippable way - for example there is a part of the kernel that uses double-linked-lists and the page before that explains them in a nice box, so that anybody who knew about them already (since they are a general topic and not specific to kernels) can skip it easily.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Describes the ideas, concepts, and algorithms used in the 2.6 Linux kernel in a good an interesting way.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kerola Sami on 22 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is excellent way to get know how Linux kernel works and what it does. For person like me, sysadmin for some years already, the book clarifies what makes operating system to behave some way or other. I will not recommend this book for any junior sysadmin, but for thous who have experience and whom are asked to help when systems work strange way the book can give really good background knowledge.

For example after reading this book I could understand slocate cronjob and page table growing relation. Of course removing slocate from cron is the fix, but knowing why it helps and what it does is related to slabs. Even monkey can fix things without understanding what he is doing or why, that is why the book is so important.

Since this and Solaris internals are only books about this subject (what I know) there is no other option than give five starts. I hope in future there will be even better and less dry kernel internal books. Meanwhile this is one of the best.
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11 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "polpner" on 27 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
Everybody likes easy to read books and I also assume that learning UNIX is not necessarily has to be a struggle. This book stood up to my expectations almost perfectly: it is very well written and clearly expressed work. It does not overwhelm with technical details and does not press too much. It is VERY descriptive and takes you snoothly from subject to subject. I also followed an advise in someone's review and purchased "UNIX Essentials" DVD that is complete unix course recorded (I found on Amazon.com but since they do not ship outside US I ordered it directly from CustomFlix.com). These two nicely complement one another. You watch it and you read it. If you didn't catch it from the first try you watch it again and read it again. In two months I found myself confident to that extend that gave advises to our system administrator and he accepted them because there were subjects that he wasn't completely sure. What I can say, in three month I passed my first interview and got a job! Sure it is a way to start and there are much more advanced reading, however these two provide you with the background !
I can't overstate how much I have learned from them. Don't be naive, though. You will have to learn and memorize many things. The fact of owning neither book nor DVD will not make you knowledgeable, but if you will work it trough, trust me, you will surprise many people around!
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By dave on 21 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
It happens to hack kernel, a lot of times following suggestions of some forum.
But in fact, what are you doing exactly? And why things work in that way?

These are the questions that brought me to buy this book; let's understand better why linux is so great!
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