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on 25 December 2011
This book covers a lot of the kernel API and inner workings in depths and use-cases that the kernel's own Documentation tree and general online discussions don't even begin to cover. (Good Luck googling kthreads, for example!) And few, if any, other books match it.

As such it's indisputably required reading for anyone in their first couple of years of kernel hacking, and is handy for people who've done it before but need reminders...

But it has problems! Introduction of terminology is patchy. (For example process groups and namespaces are mentioned in an early chapter, but aren't explained until much later.) Cross referencing swings between excessive and non existent, prior knowledge leaps between basic compsci principles to experienced linux developer, and I've found more than a few typos and other glitches. Despite these the book is still a damn fine resource.

It waffles, but then enthusiasm always does, and I've a high enough opinion of this book that I wouldn't be ashamed to lend it to someone who needed help, indeed I've annotated my copy against that time.

None of the glitches in this book will waste much time of a good reader, my only complaint would be that it's a shame that the author didn't have enough respect for his own (remarkable!) expertise to check the details, this is a third edition, the wrinkles should be out by now! And it is for those reasons that I must give this four, rather than five, stars.
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on 26 February 2004
This should take the kernel novice and make them perhaps not a kernel expert, but at least strongly informed on the technical side of how to start hacking the kernel.
The book particularly focuses on some of the improvements in the 2.6 kernel, which is very welcome.
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on 17 May 2011
This book gives an excellent overview of the modern (2.6.35+) kernel series. It's aimed at developers wishing to make their first foray into the kernel, and assumes a good knowledge of C (the programming language) and architectural concepts. It does a great job in explaining not only the design of key parts of the kernel, but also the reasons for the design. There is some historical discussion as well, to allow legacy pieces of kernel design to be understood, but if you're planning to hack older kernels, this probably isn't the book for you.

Great sections on locking, memory access, devices, etc. - although it's not primarily a reference book, it can certainly act in that capacity as well. The author notes that the book _can_ be read non-linearly, but as there is quite a lot of back-referencing, you'll probably want to read it from the front to the back (at least first time round).
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on 15 September 2005
Sometimes the style can be a little cheesy and Robert Love avoids many of the device driver issues that most wannabe kernel hackers will face, but as a general and practical introduction to the 2.6 series kernel I doubt this book will be surpassed. Love focuses on the big picture throughout and assumes some, but not too much, general knowledge of operating systems basics. If you want to become a kernel hacker then you need to buy and read this book - I came at all of this the other way round (wrote a device driver and then looked for more about the kernel) - but reading this first would have been better.
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on 9 September 2010
This book esplains the Linux kernel internals. It is a mix between a book about Operating Systems, and a book about Linux internals. Every part is initially explained from a theoretical point of view, then the book shows how that part is implemented in the Linux kernel.

If you want to start hacking the kernel, this may not be the right book to start with. At least, you should read also "Linux Device Drivers" to have a more complete vision about how to make Linux do what you want.

Instead, if you want to understand how things work inside Linux, and how start collaborating with the kernel community, then this is the right book.

Unfortunately, the mechanisms inside Linux change very quickly. For this reason, this version (i.e., second) of the book might be too old. For instance, it does not contain the latest (i.e., CFS) Linux scheduler. You should buy the third edition, which, in my point of view, is a minor update of this book, adding some information about the new CFS scheduler and about some new synchronization mechanisms.
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VINE VOICEon 5 October 2011
This book does most of what I wanted in that it describes the why of the kernel features as well as the how. The focus is on the how and there are many code snippets but to put them in context it does help to open up the files in $EDITOR and see how it really looks. The coverage is broad and detailed enough to get you started. For real in-depth knowledge the answer is in the code.

The one area I thought slightly weak(hence 4 stars) is in that most hands-on area of all, actually putting together a patch and submitting it. This is covered very briefly(3 pages), presumably because its assumed that if you can work on the kernel you can probably figure out the process for patching yourself! A step by step example would have been useful here. This section also includes a short section on kernel coding style (and the use of indent/Lindent which I thought would have been better at the front alongside the stuff about the GNU compiler C enhancements/features.

A few more diagrams might have been useful too, to illustrate the data structures and calling sequences (Some activity diagrams or sequence charts maybe?). There are a few but there could have been far more. Or am I the only programmer who thinks mainly in pictures? But overall this is a worthy attempt in an area which has little else of note.
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on 9 December 2012
I did not buy this book in order to immediately start writing kernel software. I wanted to learn from a "nuts and bolts" point of view how kernels (and the Linux kernel in particular) work. The book does an excellent job of the material that it covers. It avoids being dry as far as possible and is generally well-written, with useful code extracts sprinkled in liberally. My only concern is (given the size of the kernel) it gives no hint to what it does not cover... Presumably not a problem for those with more kernel experience than I.
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on 28 October 2013
I found it very enlightening, presenting the most essential, well documented, information about Linux kernel. I'm using it as a thorough guide in my PhD.
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on 21 May 2013
Comprehensive introduction to the kernel you need to read this before diving into the code, I wish I had bought this book sooner.
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on 28 September 2016
A very good book even if you are not interested in writing kernel code but are just interested in how the kernel works. It doens't require a lot of foreknowledge. If you understand C well you should be able to understand everything in this book!
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