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Self-Service Linux: Mastering the Art of Problem Determination 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0131477513
ISBN-10: 013147751X
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This welcome addition to the Linux bookshelf provides real insight into the black-art of debugging. All too often debugging books concentrate solely on the tools but this book avoids that pitfall by concentrating on examples. The authors dissect and discuss each example in detail; in so doing they give invaluable insight into the Linux environment."

Richard J Moore, IBM Advanced Linux Response Team-Linux Technology Centre

"A plethora of Linux books exist but this guide offers a definitive overview of practical hints and tips for Linux users. Written by experts in the field, it will be extremely useful for system administrators and Linux enthusiasts."

Markus Rex, VP and General Manager, SUSE LINUX

  • The indispensable troubleshooting resource for every Linux administrator, developer, support professional, and power user!

  • Systematically resolve errors, crashes, hangs, performance slowdowns, unexpected behavior, and unexpected outputs

  • Master essential Linux troubleshooting tools, including strace, gdb, kdb, SysRq, /proc, and more

The indispensable start-to-finish troubleshooting guide for every Linux professional

Now, there's a systematic, practical guide to Linux troubleshooting for every power user, administrator, and developer. In Self-Service Linux®, two of IBM's leading Linux experts introduce a four-step methodology for identifying and resolving every type of Linux-related system or application problem: errors, crashes, hangs, performance slowdowns, unexpected behavior, and unexpected outputs. You'll learn exactly how to use Linux's key troubleshooting tools to solve problems on your own—and how to make effective use of the Linux community's knowledge.

If you use Linux professionally, this book can dramatically increase your efficiency, productivity, and marketability. If you're involved with deploying or managing Linux in the enterprise, it can help you significantly reduce operation costs, enhance availability, and improve ROI.

  • Discover proven best practices for diagnosing problems in Linux environments

  • Leverage troubleshooting skills you've developed with other platforms

  • Learn to identify problems with strace—the most frequently used Linux troubleshooting tool

  • Use /proc to uncover crucial information about hardware, kernels, and processes

  • Recompile open source applications with debug information

  • Debug applications with gdb, including C++ and threaded applications

  • Debug kernel crashes and hangs, one step at a time

  • Understand the Executable and Linking Format (ELF), and use that knowledge for more effective debugging

  • Includes a production-ready data collection script that can save you hours or days in debugging mission-critical Linux systems!

Series Editor Bruce Perens' is an open source evangelist, developer, and consultant whose software is a major component of most commercial embedded Linux offerings. He founded or cofounded Linux Standard Base, Open Source Initiative, and Software in the Public Interest. As Debian GNU/Linux Project Leader, he was instrumental in getting the system on two U.S. space shuttle flights.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Mark Wilding is a senior developer at IBM who specializes in UNIX and Linux technologies. With over 15 years of experience writing software, Wilding has extensive expertise in operating systems, networks, C/C++ development, and computer hardware. Dan Behman is a member of the DB2 UDB for Linux Platform Exploitation development team at the Toronto IBM Software Lab. He has over 10 years' experience with Linux, and has been involved in porting and enabling DB2 UDB on the latest architectures that Linux supports, including 64-bit x86 and zSeries platforms.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (September 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013147751X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131477513
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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(long review)

I have just finished reading through the book Self service Linux from Wilding & Behman.
Let me point out, that when I read the description first I thought that it would be a troubleshooting & performance tweak guide.
However when I read through the first chapters I believed hat the title should say "Troubleshooting (GNU) Linux using Compiler and Debugger".
Finally after I read the whole book I decided the book deserves a different title something like

"The high art of problem investigation and software debugging". - I explain why below.

O.k the title issue out of the way lets focus on the contents of the book.

Table of Contents
1. Best Practices and Initial Investigation. - (40p)
2. strace and System Call Tracing Explained. - (50p)
3. The /proc Filesystem. - (30p)
4. Compiling. - (30p)
5. The Stack. - (40p)
6. The GNU Debugger (GDB). - (80p)
7. Linux System Crashes and Hangs. - (20p)
8.: Kernel Debugging with KDB. - (10p)
9.: ELF: Executable and Linking Format. - (85p)
Appendix A: The Toolbox. - (13p)
Appendix B: Data Collection Script. - (12p)
Index. - (10p)

You can already conclude just by looking at the TOC that most is compiling and debugging related stuff.
So to make it clear, this book is NOT for the faint hearted neither is it for beginners. It is for the professionals class room, Power users,
Sysadmins, engineers etc. which either have 3-5 years Linux experience, are in need of a thorough understanding or are looking into developing software.

This is also backed up by the fact that Wilding has 15 years experience writing software and Behman 10 years
experience with (GNU) Linux alone.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I'm not sure I've ever given a book 5 stars, but this hits me where I live. The only complaint I have is that the title is misleading: it should have been "Learn how to troubleshoot any Linux problem you ever see" or something like that.

I once thought I'd like to write a book on trouble shooting and problem diagnosis. I'm glad I didn't, because this would make me feel like I had wasted my time.

This is truly excellent. I have already learned more here than I have anywhere in the past year, and look forward to spending a lot more time with this.
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Format: Paperback
Wilding and Behman take us deep into diagnosing problems that can arise under linux. It seems best suited for an experienced developer or sysadmin. The issues it deals with tend to require this. For example, in many instances, the text gives example assembler code, for the x86 architecture. Most programmers, even when debugging, simply do not need to know the assembler version of their code. Or how the stack works.

However, for those of you who do, the text can be very useful in explaining what really happens under the bonnet, when you compile and run a program.

The book's cover suggests that it can also be useful to power users. I'm somewhat dubious of this. The most that a latter user might do or can do is to hand over a core dump or a screen capture of some diagnostics, to a programmer. Where the latter is the one who avails herself of this book.

The book devotes an entire chapter to the GNU debugger, gdb. More readable than the official GNU documentation on gdb. Given gdb's widespread use across of linux, and indeed over most versions of unix, this chapter may be the most helpful in the book, to some readers. It's a usage exposition that is distinct from a reference manual. Also, given the wealth of user interfaces these days, the text shows how to use a UI front end to gdb, called the Data Display Debugger. While some gdb purists might scorn this, and revert to their trusty command lines, others will welcome the DDD.

If you have been looking for help on gdb, the book is a good answer.
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I started dabbling with linux last year after a problem installing software caused my Windows XP system to crash, requiring a rather time consuming re-install. Coupled with the numerous security concerns and performance issues, as well as an interest in learning how to program, I decided to switch over to linux.

Switching from linux is not an easy process, but if you want to learn about the ins and outs of that machine on your desk, running Linux will help.

That is where this book comes in. This book is less about troubleshooting/recipe book per se, but a book that integrates often separated areas from a good computer science curriculum--operating system concepts, hw/OS interaction, software engineering, and the lost art of debugging.

The author goes into extensive detail about the linux system, how to use built in tools such as the GCC compilers, the GDB (GNU debugger), and even how to read C source code, and how that C source gets translated into assembly. He also describes how different assembly optimizations can make debugging difficult.

Further detail is discussed in the chapters devoted to the memory heap and the memory stack, where high level programming constructs are mapped into the actual hardware registries, and the host of things that can go wrong.

If you are a serious C hacker/hobbiest like me, or a paranoid security professional, then this book is a must.
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