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The Linux Programming Interface: A Linux and UNIX System Programming Handbook Hardcover – October 28, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1593272203 ISBN-10: 1593272200 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1552 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (October 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593272200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593272203
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 2.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Kerrisk has been using and programming UNIX systems for more than 20 years, and has taught many week-long courses on UNIX system programming. Since 2004, he has maintained the man-pages project, which produces the manual pages describing the Linux kernel and glibc programming APIs. He has written or co-written more than 250 of the manual pages and is actively involved in the testing and design review of new Linux kernel-userspace interfaces. Michael lives with his family in Munich, Germany.


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Customer Reviews

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It is now easily THE standard book on Linux/UNIX system programming.
Vladimir G Ivanovic
I found this book to be very thorough, well-organized, and most importantly, easy to understand.
Chrisee
This is not just a great Linux book, but probably one of the best technical book I've ever read.
The Shepherd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 154 people found the following review helpful By Vladimir G Ivanovic on October 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment" by Richard Stevens (2nd Edition updated by Stephen Rago in 2005) has been THE standard for UNIX system programming since the first edition came out in 1992. It is clear, correct and comprehensive. Another really excellent book is the updated edition of Marc Rochkind's "Advanced UNIX Programming." So it is unexpected that a new UNIX system programming book should come out that stands head and shoulders above the Stevens and Rochkind books, but Michael Kerrisk's "The Linux Programming Interface" does.

Kerrisk's book is more thorough, more comprehensive and just as well written as the Stevens and Rochkind books. It covers over 500 system calls in the SUSv3 and SUSv4 specification in 64 chapters, using 200 example programs, 88 tables, 115 diagrams and 1506 pages. It's a monumental work, and it's really very good. It is now easily THE standard book on Linux/UNIX system programming.

No work, no matter how good, is perfect, and I do have two small niggles, neither of which detract from its 5 star rating. (1) Some chapters have only one exercise. I wish there had been more. But, on the plus side, most chapters have at least one solution to an exercise. And, (2) the only treatment of debugging is a two page appendix on strace(1). I would have like to have had some discussion on the use of systemtap, gdb and other tools in debugging programs that use system calls.

All in all, an outstandingly good book and unreservedly recommended.
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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful By John Graham-Cumming on October 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I received a copy of this from the publisher, and boy am I glad I did. It's a wonderful book that's an absolute keeper.

I've done quite a bit of systems level programming with POSIX systems and Linux and I wish that I'd had this book earlier primarily because its descriptions of systems-level programming on Linux are incredibly clear and detailed. Critically, the book is well written and never boring. I found it a pleasure to dip into different sections where I did know the subject (e.g. TCP and sockets) and where I did not (e.g. memory mapped files).

I then passed the book around in my office and a couple of days later got feedback from people that it had been very useful and that people thought it was well worth getting an office copy.

I was worried when the back cover claimed that the book was a 'new classic', but I think it's likely to be justified. It's nicely written and fun to read, and covers topics in depth. The most important thing is that the author has achieved the right balance in his descriptions and is able to explain clearly a huge variety of topics.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By JRW on November 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't have much to add to Vladimir Ivanovic's review, except to echo that this is an outstanding book in the style of Stevens' (and Rago's) beloved classic Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment. I am now recommending it to my friends and colleagues over Stevens. Covers the same territory as Stevens and more, since it contains the entire Linux system call interface. The treatment of each system call is very thorough, indicating deviations from the Single UNIX Specification and comparisons with various Unix flavors.

This is not a "how to program" book, but you will definitely learn a lot about programming from it. I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about Linux/Unix programming in C, or actually in any language.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David W. on December 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Linux Programming Interface" is a very comprehensive book targeted at programmers and is concerned with teaching the system calls and library functions provided by the Linux operating system. It also makes a good Linux programmer's reference book. So far I have read about one third of the 1500 pages, but I can already say it is one of the best programming books that I have ever encountered. I had a background in Windows software development with only limited knowledge of Linux programming, and wanted to increase my Linux knowledge. This book definitely helped with that. It is well written and well organized with good use of diagrams and code examples. The preface recommends that readers should already be familiar with programming in general and C programming in particular.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rob Wehrli on November 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I can't imagine how much work went into producing this volume. Every page seems to jump out of the nice, hard-bound cover with something interesting or exciting such as Chapter 38's discussion of writing secure privileged programs or Chapter 43's table 43-1 collection of "Identifiers and handles for various types of IPC facilities." This extensive work is a pinnacle collection of all things specific to programming Linux at the system call level. From the maintainer of man pages, we have an extension of them in this book. If you tend to think of man pages as more of a "what," this volume gives us the "what" with the "why."

The back cover heralds the work as "the definitive guide to Linux and UNIX system programming," and it is very thoroughly true. If you want to learn how to program Perl or Python, this isn't it. The examples are notably and obviously in C. C is the language of UNIX systems programmers and of the Linux kernel. Likewise, you won't find a dissertation on Gnome versus KDE. It is my opinion that this book is for the hacker who logs into the machine at runlevel 3 or, if at 5, first opens a terminal window in order to do "real work."

I strongly encourage you to obtain a copy of this book. If you're at all serious about Linux system programming, you'll be amazed at the insight produced on the pages of this extensive volume. I searched for at least one "bad" thing throughout it, you know, just to see if there was a blemish worthy of mention or some reason that 5 stars wasn't quite right. I haven't found one yet.

There are books that you simply love and want to read over and over again that you present 5 passionate stars.
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