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Linux Networking Architecture Paperback – May 9, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0131777200 ISBN-10: 0131777203

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall (May 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131777203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131777200
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,933,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Written to give students and professionals the basics required to implement network functionality in the Linux kernel, this book also addresses everyone who wants to deepen their understanding of network specific processes in an operating system. This book introduces the key components and mechanisms of the Linux kernel and the designs of communication systems.

The Linux Networking Architecture is a detailed description of the network subsystem in the newer versions of the Linux kernel. It explains how protocols work and establishes important concepts of the Linux network architecture from device drivers to application interfaces. In addition to central issues such as PPP, IP, firewalls, routing, TCP, NAT, UDP, and sockets, the book discusses more recent protocols and extensions such as PPPoE used in DSL access technologies, the Bluetooth® driver, and quality-of-service support.

Features

All core protocols of the TCP/IP protocol family are covered, with additional treatment of supplementary protocols such as RSVP, Mobile IP and IP Security.

Each chapter contains:

  • A conceptual introduction to the corresponding protocol
  • Discussion of how the protocol's functionality is configured and administered
  • Explanation of data structures, algorithms, and programming interfaces

Interface design is explained with a view to which design principles to use when protocols should be implemented.

The informational appendix further facilitates working with Linux, for instance, debugging in the Linux kernel.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

This book deals with the architecture of the network subsystem in the Linux kernel. The idea for this book was born at the Institute of Telematics at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, where the Linux~kernel has been used in many research projects and its network functionality is modified or enhanced, respectively, in a targeted way. For instance, new services and protocols were developed for the next-generation Internet, and their behavior was studied. In addition, existing protocols, such as the TCP transport protocol, were modified to improve their behavior and adapt them to the new situation in the Internet.

In the course of these research projects, it has been found that the Linux kernel is very suitable for studying new network functionalities, because it features a stable and extensive implementation of the TCP/IP protocol family. The freely available source code allows us to modify and enhance the functionality of protocol instances easily. In addition, the enhancement of the kernel functionality is very elegantly supported by the principle of the kernel modules. However, many studies and theses in this field showed that familiarization with the Linux network architecture, which is required before you can modify the behavior of a protocol instance, demands considerable work and time. Unfortunately, this is mainly due to the facts that the network subsystem of the Linux kernel is poorly documented and that there is no material that would explain and summarize the basic concepts.

Although there are a few books that deal with the Linux kernel architecture and introduce its basic concepts, none of these books includes a full discussion of the network implementation. This situation may be due to the following two reasons:

  • The network subsystem in the Linux kernel is very complex. As mentioned above, it implements a large number of protocols, which is probably one good reason for the enormous success of Linux. Both BoCe00 and BBDK+Ol mention that the description of all these protocols and their concepts would actually fill an entire book. Well, you are reading such a book now, and, as you can see, it has eventually turned out to be quite a large volume, although it describes only part of the network functionality, in addition to the basic concepts of the Linux network architecture.
  • Operating-system developers normally deal with the classical topics of system architecture—for example, the management of memories, processes, and devices, or the synchronization of parallel activities in a system-rather than with the handling of network packets. As you go along in this book, you will surely notice that it has been written not by system developers, but by computer-science specialists and communication engineers.

While considering the facts that there was little documentation covering the Linux network architecture and that students had to familiarize themselves with it over and over again, we had the idea of creating a simple documentation of the Linux network architecture ourselves. Another wish that eventually led to the more extensive concept of this book was a stronger discussion of important communication issues: design and implementation of network protocols in real-world systems. Networking courses teach students the most important concepts and standards in the field of telecommunication, but the design and implementation of network functionality (mainly of network protocols) by use of computer-science concepts has enjoyed little attention in teaching efforts, despite the fact that this knowledge could have been used often within the scope of studies and theses. The authors consider the description of the implementation of the Linux network architecture and its structure, interfaces, and applied concepts a step towards strengthening the informatics component in networking classes.

The authors hope that this book will help to make the processes and structures of the Linux network architecture easier to understand, and, above all, that our readers will have fun dealing with it and perhaps learn a few things about the networking concept and its practical implementation.

The content of this book corresponds to our knowledge of the Linux network architecture. This knowledge is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive. Nevertheless, we have tried to represent the processes and structures of the Linux network architecture in a fashion as easily understandable and detailed as possible. We are thankful for all hints, suggestions for improvement, ideas, and comments, and we will try to consider them in later editions. Updated information about the Linux network architecture and this book is available online at http://www.Linux-netzwerkarchitektur.de.

ORGANIZATION OF THIS BOOK

Chapter 1 will deal intensively with the motivation behind Linux in general and the Linux network architecture in particular; Chapter 2 is an introduction into the basic mechanisms and components of the Linux kernel. To keep the volume of this book manageable, we will discuss only those components that are important for understanding the Linux network architecture. With regard to the other components of the Linux kernel, we refer our readers to other books (e.g., BBDK+01).

Chapter 3 is an introduction to the general architecture of communication systems and the functionality of protocols and protocol instances. It includes an introduction to the popular TCP/IP and ISO/OSI layering models.

Chapters 4 and 5 discuss fundamental concepts of the Linux network architecture, including the representation and management of network packets in the Linux kernel, (see Socket Buffers-Chapter 4) and the concept of network devices (Chapter 5). "Network devices form the links between the protocol instances on the higher layers and hide the particularities of the respective network adapters behind a uniform interface.

Chapter 6 gives an overview of the activity forms in the Linux network architecture and the flow of transmit and receive processes. In addition, this chapter introduces the interface to the higher-layer protocol instances.

Chapters 7 through 12 discuss protocols and mechanisms of the data link layer. More specifically, it describes the SLIP, PPP, and PPP-over-Ethernet protocols and how the ATM and Bluetooth network technologies are supported in Linux. Finally, we will describe how a Linux computer can be used as a transparent bridge.

Our discussion of the TCP/IP protocols starts with an overview of the TCP/IP protocol family in Chapter 13. We will begin with a brief history of the Internet, then give an overview of the different protocols within the TCP/IP protocol family. Chapter 14 will deal with the Internet Protocol and its mechanisms in detail. In addition, it introduces the IP options and the ICMP protocol. Chapters 15 through 23 discuss the following protocols and mechanisms on the network layer: ARP, routing, multicasting, traffic control, firewalls, connection tracking, NAT, KIDS, and IPv6.

Chapters 24 and 25 describe the TCP and UDP transport protocols, respectively. We will close our discussion of the kernel with an explanation of the socket interface, in Chapter 26, then end with a short overview of the programming of network functionality on the application level.

The appendix includes additional information and introduces tools facilitating your work with the Linux network architecture. The issues dealt with include the LXR source code browser, debugging work in the Linux kernel, and tools you can use to manage and monitor the Linux network architecture.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION

This section lists a few useful sources of information where you can find additional information about the Linux network architecture.

Magazines

  • The Linux Magazine (http://www.Linux-mag.com) is probably the best-known Linux magazine. It features articles about all issues that are of interest when you deal with Linux. Of special interest is the Kernel Corner column, which regularly publishes articles about the architecture and implementation of components of the Linux kernel-most of them by developers themselves.
  • Linux Focus (http://www.linuxfocus.org) is an online magazine publishing articles in many different languages. It also includes a Kernel Corner.
  • The Linux Gazette (http://www.linuxgazette.com) is another online magazine dedicated to Linux.

Useful Links in the World Wide Web

  • Linux Headquarters: http://www.linuxhq.com
  • Linux Documentation Project: http://www.linuxdoc.org
  • Linux Weekly News: http://www.lwn.net

Other Information

  • Howtos include a lot of information about different Linux issues. Most deal with the configuration and installation of various Linux functionalities. Especially for the Linux kernel, there are also a few howto documents—for example, how to use locks in the kernel RUSSOOb, and general information on hacking in the Linux kernel RUSSOOC. Of course, we should not forget to mention the networking howto, which includes a wealth of tips and information about configuring the network functionality in Linux Drak00.
  • The source code of the current kernels is found at ftp. kernel .org. There are also mirrors of this FTP server, a list of which can be found at http://www.kernel.org/mirrors/.
  • Information about components and drivers of the Linux kernel are also included directly in the source code of a kernel version, in the Documentation subdirectory. In addition, the file Documentation/kernel-docs.txt includes a list of current information about the Linux kernel—for example, documentation, links, and books. (It's worth taking a look at this file!)

CONVENTIONS USED IN THIS BOOK

This book uses the following typographical conventions...


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Harvey Sugar on August 30, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be a useful introduction to the Linux TCP/IP stack but the book could be better.

It was not the translation that I found to be problematic in this book. I found the flaws in translation to be at worst a minor annoyance and at times even amusing. I have two major problems with this book. First, I found the book to be poorly organized. Second, too much of the book is devoted to describing individual functions and data structures and not enough of the book is devoted to how the various pieces fit together and interact.

The book is organized more-or-less based on the network layers. This is a logical organization but it means the reader must take detours through chapters on SLIP, ATM, and Bluetooth which are hardly the mainstream protocols that most readers are interested in. The chapter on PPP often referred back to material in the SLIP chapter, making it hard to just skip this chapter. ARP is covered after a description of IPv4. Later in the chapter on Packet Filters and Firewalls several pages are devoted to ipchains as implemented in version 2.2 of the Linux kernel which was replaced by the netfilter architecture that is currently in use.

In spite of these flaws I found this book to be a useful guide to understanding the Linux networking software. The book is thorough, covering everything from transparent bridging to sockets programming. The appendices provide useful supplemental material on navigating the source code, tools and commands for network operation, and some code examples.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By science-buff on May 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is marred by pretty bad translation from the original German edition. It takes a while to figure out that the translator is more an English major struggling with intricate computer science terminologies than a fellow programmer. For example, device "base address" is translated to device "basic address" in chapter 5, multiple times; "re-compile the entire kernel" miraculously becomes "retranslate the entire kernel" in chapter 2.

There are also quite a bit of misleading typos. Like "ip_input()" appears multiple times in the discussion of chapter 14, although no such function exists in the code. Actually, the correct term should have been "ip_input.c" - referring to a file, not a function.

It is a major triumph for a German book on Linux network stack to be translated to English by a major publisher; my guess is the German version is well written and well received. This probably means that the English translation/editing is the main culprit.

Other than the cryptic translation and typos, the book does quite detailed code walkthroughs in the Linux network stack. It traces the function calls as an incoming packet enters the Linux kernel from the device driver, and as an outgoing packet propagates down from the higher protocols. The stack uses a lot of function pointers and this makes reading the code quite difficult unless a book like this tells you what function the pointer is pointing to. This, I feel, is the redeeming feature of the book, especially when you are diving deep into the code. There are a bit of code insights described here and there throughout the book, but generally such passages are few and far between, amidst the voluminous mechanical description of who calls who in the code; nothing compares to the kind of insights in Robert Love's "Linux Kernel Development" book.

I would suggest that you look at the "Linux TCP/IP Stack" book by Herbert first, then try this one if you really need help tracing the code.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Shadi T. Khasawneh on June 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
I did not give this book a 5-star rating only because it does not cover the latest 2.6 kernel. There are quite a few changes in the networking subsystem, nevertheless, there are lot of useful information in this book.

The books covers all protocols (not only TCP/IP). It provides the theoretical background along with the step-by-step technical explanation of the implementation code in Linux.

It covers the Linux implementation of SLIP, PPP, PPP over Ethernet, ATM, Bluetooth, Bridges, TCP/IP, ARP, NAT and even Ipv6.

It is a must to read for anyone interested in Linux Networking and the TCP/IP implementation in Linux.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Thomas on May 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is an incredible explanation of the Linux implementations of networking. The book covers all levels of networking from the driver to TCP and UDP. The book cites specific functions from the source and explains what they do. The book walks through the kernel structures and identifies the purpose of each variable. I highly recomend this book for linux kernel programmers!
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