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Self-Service Linux: Mastering the Art of Problem Determination Paperback – September 29, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0131477513 ISBN-10: 013147751X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (September 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013147751X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131477513
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.2 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: #1,393,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
If you want to get only one book about compiling and debugging, this is it !
Nils Valentin
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.
Rob Ryley
The purpose of the book is to provide the reader with a best practices manual and guideline for how to approach and resolve problems in Linux.
Harold McFarland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nils Valentin on June 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
(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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Lawrence VINE VOICE on October 13, 2005
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 15, 2005
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Whether you are a power user or a Linux system administrator if you like to work through and resolve problems yourself then you will want a copy of this book. The purpose of the book is to provide the reader with a best practices manual and guideline for how to approach and resolve problems in Linux. The first chapter is an introduction that includes the four phases of investigation and determining the difference between a symptom and a cause. From there the author leads the reader through how to use various tools to locate exactly what is happening. The rest of the book examines the details of the Linux system and includes items like using strace to trace system calls, using the information in the /proc filesystem to troubleshoot a problem, compiling the Linux kernel and how to deal with various compilation problems, the GNU debugger (a particularly good chapter), dealing with Linux crashes and hangs, using KDB to debug kernel problems, and the executable and linking format. Appendix A is a listing of common utilities for resolving problems, when to use them, and where to find them. This is a very good resource to keep handy when you are looking for the right tool but really don't know what it is. Self-Service Linux is highly recommended for all Linux power-users and administrators.
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