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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 1998
If you want an introduction on how the Linux kernel works, this book does an OK job, though the information is slightly out-of-date for Linux 2.0 and inadequate for recent 2.1 kernels. However, it wants to teach how to write device drivers, and here it falls far from its goal. When writing a Linux device driver, there is a "how", but there is, perhaps more important, a "how _not_" (for instance, don't do noninterruptible blocking system calls) which are either glossed over, or done wrong in the examples.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2009
This book tries to fit far too much information into too few pages. This means although the level of details are high; the book is an overview of the kernel and leaves you wanting more.

I learned a great deal about the Linux kernel but if you have yet to read the Intel Software Developers Manuals you will not benefit from this book. For instance, during the memory management section which deals with how the Linux kernel handles segmentation and paging - there are plenty of references to concepts explained in more depth in the Intel Manuals.

I for one did read the Intel manuals side by side with this book and benefited a great deal from the experience. How ever, one must realise that this book expects you to learn from the source code itself and gives enough pointers to where one must look in the kernel source tree for each concept delivered in the contents of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 1999
The book is largely a comment of the source code, most which is branded as "too complicated". System administrators can not find the stuff that interests them (how to determine time slice, how to control paging/and swapping, what kernel variables are available for tweaking) The presentation style is unclear, superficial and assumes that the readers are the people who wrote kernel itself. I didn't learn anything and so far I consider my money wasted on this book. A note to if you expect us to pay $41 for the book, be so kind and publish the table of contents!
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on 9 July 1998
Since I had already taken a course in university on Unix Kernel Architecture, I found this book a good introduction to the Linux implementation. If you can pick up concepts quickly you may find the book adequate on its own, otherwise get another general Operating Systems textbook to help you with things like understanding virtual memory, interrupt service routines, drivers and networking concepts.
The author's goal seems to be to introduce you to a good portion of the kernel source code. Understanding the kernel source tree, the build process and the code itself is much easier once you have read the first few chapters of the book.
The book avoids teaching you or even using examples in assembly language. This may annoy you if you know assembly language, or thrill you if you don't. For example, the extremely time-critical interupt service routines, which are written in hand-optimized assembler, are explained with some C-like pseudo code.
Although the book is quite short, it is well written, and it explains the Linux kernel implementation in sufficient detail. Although it was intentional, some readers may wish that the book included more explanation of the concepts before the implementation is introduced.
A suggested companion text would be Andrew Tannenbaum's "Operating Systems: Design and Implementation".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 1998
For me this book was quite a disappointment. The English is too breezy, awkward, and quite often extremely difficult to understand. While I understand that authors are not all native English speakers it appears that if it was edited the editor didn't write English either. While the blurb says that it was updated for the 2.0 kernel it is really about the 1.0.x series. I found little I could trust about the 2.0.x kernel.
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on 21 February 1998
For the Linx freak wanting to takle the kernel internal this is certainly a good book. Certainly more interesting than the average '1000 page, big character" book which is only a fast rewrite of the documentation and include of as much as possible available document. On the other side, this book is not on a par with kernel books such as the Bach one, Tannebaum's, especially (but not Linux oriented, but my favorite) Vahalla "Unix internals, the new frontier", the BSD internal or even "the magic garden explained". With Linux the interesting point is the wide availability of source code to read. There, this book can help gain a lot of time but go to the classics for more though. By the way the English translation from german is average, R Stevens books are refered under a German title !!!!
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on 2 June 1999
I consider myself an system apps programmer. That means above the OS, but below the apps programmer. In other words I would write databases, web servers, etc.
I found this book excellent. It explains the workings of Linux without bogging down in details. It took me about 3 days to read the book and as such I have a firm understanding of how Linux works. Be forewarned though that you do need to understand what an OS wants to achieve in general. For example the issues of virtual memory, file systems, user and kernel mode.
Will it help me write extensions to the OS or device drivers? Maybe, but only after doing some kernel digging. But that does not matter since I really wanted an insiders knowledge of how Linux worked and what the limitations and great features of Linux are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 1998
It is a book not so good, expecially the part talking about device drivers. Too few examples and too abstract. It doesn't teach you so much, on the contrary, it only shows you the source of the kernel without too much explanations.
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on 22 October 1998
An enjoyable introduction to the kernel, although inevitably a little out of date. Don't be decieved by the volume of this book. There are no gimmicky icons or repititions to pump up the price. Have the kernel source by you when you're reading this book---there's no real substitute.
I am already looking forward to the next edition.
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on 17 February 1999
Introduction to the kernel Memory management
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