Understanding the Linux Kernel Paperback – 1 Nov 2005
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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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Top customer reviews
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.
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.
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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