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Professional Linux Kernel Architecture [Paperback]

Wolfgang Mauerer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 13, 2008 0470343435 978-0470343432 1
Find an introduction to the architecture, concepts and algorithms of the Linux kernel in Professional Linux Kernel Architecture, a guide to the kernel sources and large number of connections among subsystems. Find an introduction to the relevant structures and functions exported by the kernel to userland, understand the theoretical and conceptual aspects of the Linux kernel and Unix derivatives, and gain a deeper understanding of the kernel. Learn how to reduce the vast amount of information contained in the kernel sources and obtain the skills necessary to understand the kernel sources.

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Professional Linux Kernel Architecture + Linux Kernel Development (3rd Edition) + Understanding the Linux Kernel, Third Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Professional Linux Kernel Architecture

As the Linux kernel constantly evolves, so must your understanding of the central functions of the kernel. Linux expert Wolfgang Mauerer focuses on version 2.6.24 (as well as summarizing changes to versions 2.6.25 and 2.6.26) of the kernel as he walks you through the concepts, underlying structures, and implementation of the Linux kernel. Keeping a close connection with the source code—as well as the components and subsystems of the kernel—this book reviews the VFS layer and discusses virtual filesystems and the Extended filesystem family and examines how the page and buffer cache speed up kernel operations.

You'll take a look at the peculiarities of various architectures supported by the kernel, explore the assorted tools and means of working efficiently with the kernel sources, and investigate the numerous social aspects of kernel development and the Linux kernel community. Ultimately, this insightful book will serve as an indispensable step towards understanding structure and implementation of the Linux kernel.

What you will learn from this book

  • Various ways of viewing the kernel—as an enhanced machine, a resource manager, and a library

  • How the kernel handles all time-related requirements, both with low and high resolution

  • The mechanisms required to ensure proper operation of the kernel on multiprocessor systems

  • How modules add new functionality to the kernel

  • How the kernel deals with memory management, page reclaim, and swapping

  • How the kernel deals with networks and implements TCP/IP

Who this book is for
This book is for system programmers, administrators, developers of Linux-based solutions, and overall Linux enthusiasts. A solid foundation of C programming is required.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

About the Author

Wolfgang Mauerer is a quantum physicist whose professional interests are centered around quantum cryptography, quantum electrodynamics, and compilers for — you guessed it — quantum architectures. With the confirmed capacity of being the worst experimentalist in the known universe, he sticks to the theoretical side of his profession, which is especially reassuring considering his constant fear of accidentally destroying the universe. Outside his research work, he is fascinated by operating systems, and for more than a decade — starting with an article series about the kernel in 1997 — he has found great pleasure in documenting and explaining Linux kernel internals. He is also the author of a book about typesetting with LaTeX and has written numerous articles that have been translated into seven languages in total.
When he’s not submerged in vast Hilbert spaces or large quantities of source code, he tries to take the opposite direction, namely, upward — be this with model planes, a paraglider, or on foot with an ice axe in his hands: Mountains especially have the power to outrival even the Linux kernel. Consequently, he considers planning and accomplishing a first-ascent expedition to the vast arctic glaciers of east Greenland to be the really unique achievement in his life.
Being interested in everything that is fundamental, he is also the author of the first compiler for Plankalk ¨ ul, the world’s earliest high-level language devised in 1942–1946 by Konrad Zuse, the father of the computer. As an avid reader, he is proud that despite the two-digit number of computers present in his living room, the volume required for books still occupies a larger share.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 1368 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 1 edition (October 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470343435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470343432
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.3 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great functional explanation on many kernel aspects August 19, 2010
By filofel
Format:Paperback
I bought this book exactly one year ago, and I have used it for all that time. That's more than enough to make an opinion, and I consider Linux Kernel Architecture (LKA) a *very* valuable book, actually one of the most useful books about Linux Kernel that I own (and I think I have them all).
I use it this way: When looking for some aspect of the Linux kernel logic, I first go to LKA to see if the topic is addressed somewhere (the answer is most often "yes"). Then I read the relevant parts of LKA before I start to dive into the source code for more. What I get is a plain English, detailed, structured functional and technical explanation of the code I'm interested in, with diagrams and figures whenever it can help. The book mentions the path of the relevant source files, something that saves time, too.
In other words, I use it as a reference book, as a birds eye view into the kernel, but also as a functional explanation for a number of part of the code that are all but simple and obvious.

Now be warned: This is definitely not an introductory book for the beginner, nor a Linux kernel programming tutorial or techref manual, nor a book about device driver programming - even if it may help there. But all of those topics are addressed by other famous books such as Love's Linux Kernel Development 3rd Ed., Linux Device Drivers 3rd Ed, Essential Linux Device Drivers and a few others (I use all of those, too).
This is probably not either a book that you would read cover to cover.
It might not either always cover absolutely everything with all the details you might want (heck, it's only 1337 pages!)

But what LKA provides is a very well commented guide and roadmap into many aspects of the kernel, and one that is still recent enough to still be relevant. I just hope it will be regularly updated, and new editions republished.
In other words, LKA is a great time saver. I consider my time as valuable, and LKA has paid for itself manyfolds.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for developers new to Linux January 19, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall this book does have some irritating issues, but it is worthwhile text for programmers who are starting out with the Linux kernel. Even though Linux is a moving target, this book will save you some headaches and surfing message boards on the internet.

Is it better than Love's book? No probably not, but it is different.. This book provides some insight into coding and specific advice that will help you get past the Linux learning curve. Even if you never code, you will at least understand how to solve your own system problems.

The real issue with this book is organization and the index is horrible. The overviews are not as good as Love's, and as one reviewer mentioned he is not concise.

But he does walk you through more of the code and gives you the various coding housekeeping tasks you must peform in the kernel.

I think Love does a better job with the high level overviews, and he does provide analysis of tradeoffs.

Either way this book is worth the money, since if it saves you reading kernel sourcecode to learn, then trust me it is worth the price.
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50 of 69 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overbearing and huge December 8, 2008
Format:Paperback
I picked up Mauerer's work on the bookish desire to keep my Kernel book library complete - and contrary to my hopes I was disappointed right from the introduction.

The book is 1337 pages long, which in itself is a negative and the leading reason for the low score - being clear (which the author is) should not come at the expense of being concise. All major areas of kernel architecture are covered, and the author often covers operating systems basics not found in such books, which partly explains (but hardly justifies) the bulk.

The kernel version covered in the book is 2.6.24, which is newer than that covered by Robert Love's book, which remains my recommendation regardless because of its pointedly zeroing in on the relevant bits, instead of exploring every single minutia along the way as Mauerer does here.

The book has merit for a bookworm such as myself, who will refer to it on a chapter basis, but is not the top choice for someone entering the subject anew.

For general use (i.e. where your bookshelf does not include every Linux kernel book ever published), Love's "Linux Kernel Development" (2nd ed) is a much better architectural introduction. If you miss operating system's basics, your first stop should be Tanenbaum's "Operating Systems Design and Implementation" (3rd ed) as well as his "Modern Operating Systems" (3rd ed) before you even think to start poking at the Linux kernel and get overwhelmed by the number of concepts you should have had previous familiarity with.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Linux review August 3, 2009
Format:Paperback
Would have preferred if there were a high level overview sections in each chapter.
and then the code details separate.

Each chapter does a smooth transition to low level details. A good read for deep dive into internals.
Still reading...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read the book, I love it, highly recommend to those who want to deeply understand the internal of Linux Kernel. Although Linux Kernel is being rapidly updated, but this book is still valuable. I hope the author continues his work for second edition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent and thorough work on explaining Linux internals
This is an awesome book on Linux kernel internals. The author gave a very detailed treatment of various core subsystems of the kernel. Code explanations are really good! Read more
Published 18 months ago by Musfiq
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to have it as a reference
I wanted to buy the book a couple of years ago when it was paperback book. I bought the Kindle format ebook this time. I can read it on my Kindle and PCs. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Bing Zhu
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good
Very good book for Linux kernel developers. Must have to enhance your knowledge in linux kernel. Really helped my team members to improve their Linux kernel skills.
Published on June 26, 2012 by jgjgv jg
5.0 out of 5 stars LKA Kernel Use
This book is a must have for almost any Engineer using the Embedded Linux OS to attain dsp/control/communication operations. Read more
Published on March 2, 2012 by mstolzle
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book
Bulk Book covers kernel basics but missing multi-processor, multi-core handling and virtualization as both host and client which modern Linux kernel has to handle and already... Read more
Published on March 24, 2010 by qw
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to Linux kernel.
It is an excellent book which will guide you through Linux kernel. It is based on version 2.6.26, but the book is still compatible with more recent versions of kernel. Read more
Published on May 26, 2009 by J. R. B. Monteiro
3.0 out of 5 stars Haven't found it useful so far
I purchased this book to use as a reference. I work in a group that does device driver development. I've picked up this book twice to look at since purchasing. Read more
Published on January 28, 2009 by Daniel Cardenas
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good but you need a lot of spare time to read it!
Very good reading, it explain how kernel works with a lot of code source from recent version of kernel. You must have a lot of time to dedicate to this book!
Published on December 9, 2008 by C. Giovanni
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