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Linux Kernel Programming (3rd Edition) Paperback – September 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 078-5342719758 ISBN-10: 0201719754 Edition: 3rd

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you intend to write kernel code or a kernel module, or just want to know how the kernel of a Linux system works, this book is an excellent source of information. ... I highly recommend this book for anyone who is serious about writing code or who wants to know what is in the Linux kernel." Phil Hughes, Linux Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 3 edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201719754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201719758
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
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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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mladen Gogala on August 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
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 Amazon.com: if you expect us to pay $41 for the book, be so kind and publish the table of contents!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Basically there are two approaches to help you really understand how unix kernel works. The static approach is to look at the code and illustrate how various parts cooperate. The dynamic approach is by showing you how to play with the kernel with various tools the kernel hacker used to debug kernel. This book takes the static approach mostly. I just browsed through the first several chapters and disappointedly found this one did not really help if you don't already know another unix kernel. This book does not cover x86's multitasking support mechnism at all. The kernel memory management chapter is also too vague. It even makes people thinking whether the authors really understand the content at a kernel hacker's level. Though I would rather believe the authors did not have enough time(or due to some other limitations) to illustrate what they know in detail. Unfortunately, to be terse does not work for static approach.
The most sucessful static approach I have seen is Dr. Tanebaum's 1997 book about minx. And the best dynamic approach to me is Pate's Unix Kernel internels: a practical approach. I really hope there will be a linux kernel book that can be comparable to the above two.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Randall Barrett on February 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book is well done. There's no way you could please everyone when attempting to explain the kernel of an OS, but I thought they did an outstanding job. It makes "grepping" through the source much more pleasant and understandable. Chapters 1 through 3 present the flow of processes in Linux and introduce the operation of system calls, wait queues,etc. The chapter on the file system was very well done, however, the chapter on memory management left me with more questions than answers...it needs a little more work. The book requires a pretty good knowledge of C and some prior knowledge of OS's in general.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the explanations in this book to be very clear, giving enough detail for a good head start into Linux internals. The book briefly explains the OS concepts, such as semaphores, virtual memory, etc., followed by an overview of how each is implemented in Linux, and code snippets.
Most of the code snippets are simplified for readability, which I found useful because the hacks can be distracting (scary, too) for a beginner. Detailed and up-to-date information can best be obtained from source code itself.
The book assumes some familiarity with Unix concepts, as it mentions such buzzwords as POSIX, BSD, and SVR4 in the context of the discussions, but one could safely ignore them, and just concentrate on the Linux part.
The book briefly covers adding new system calls, compilinag and debugging the kernel, and even shows how to write a simple device driver - these are hard to find in one place.
Overall, I found this book to be very useful for my self-paced study (the best so far), and I only wish they had a newer edition.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was quite disappointing. I don't feel that I learned anything that I couldn't have learned in a similar amount of time spent by reading through source code. What's worse, the book wasn't any better at presenting that information.
I give some credit for not resorting to simply printing the kernel sources in bound format as other books have done, but apart from that, there's not much good to say here.
First off, the authors' command of the English language, as presented in final form by the book's editorial staff, leaves much to be desired. The prose is very conversational and awkward, and although generally understandable (words are strung together in grammatical correctness), the text doesn't clearly present ideas.
Second, the book suffers from a lack of clear focus on a specific reader. At times, very detailed descriptions of things like slow/fast IRQ handling are discussed, but then at other times the authors spend a great deal of time talking about the specific quirks of the 8253 timer chip in the ISA PC architecture. I would have preferred if the majority of this book were discussing the ideas involved in the Linux kernel design, but it wanders in and out of describing things that most readers who would buy the book based on its title already know.
Finally, in general the book is vague just when you'd want it to be specific, in describing the way things really fit together in the Linux kernel. They've attempted to simplify the explanations of complicated, optimized subroutines, and that's great, bt in dissecting everything into little pieces, I'm left with a very small picture of how the whole system actually fits together.
As if all this weren't enough, the book is really only 300pp of useful information.
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