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Linux Kernel Development (3rd Edition) 3rd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0672329463
ISBN-10: 0672329468
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  • Linux Kernel Development (3rd Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Linux Kernel Development details the design and implementation of the Linux kernel, presenting the content in a manner that is beneficial to those writing and developing kernel code, as well as to programmers seeking to better understand the operating system and become more efficient and productive in their coding.

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The book details the major subsystems and features of the Linux kernel, including its design, implementation, and interfaces. It covers the Linux kernel with both a practical and theoretical eye, which should appeal to readers with a variety of interests and needs.

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The author, a core kernel developer, shares valuable knowledge and experience on the 2.6 Linux kernel. Specific topics covered include process management, scheduling, time management and timers, the system call interface, memory addressing, memory management, the page cache, the VFS, kernel synchronization, portability concerns, and debugging techniques. This book covers the most interesting features of the Linux 2.6 kernel, including the CFS scheduler, preemptive kernel, block I/O layer, and I/O schedulers.

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The third edition of Linux Kernel Development includes new and updated material throughout the book:

  • An all-new chapter on kernel data structures
  • Details on interrupt handlers and bottom halves
  • Extended coverage of virtual memory and memory allocation
  • Tips on debugging the Linux kernel
  • In-depth coverage of kernel synchronization and locking
  • Useful insight into submitting kernel patches and working with the Linux kernel community

About the Author

Robert Love is an open source programmer, speaker, and author who has been using and contributing to Linux for more than 15 years. He is currently senior software engineer at Google, where he was a member of the team that developed the Android mobile platform’s kernel. Prior to Google, he was Chief Architect, Linux Desktop, at Novell. Before Novell, he was a kernel engineer at MontaVista Software and Ximian.

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Love’s kernel projects include the preemptive kernel, the process scheduler, the kernel events layer, inotify,VM enhancements, and several device drivers.

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He has given numerous talks on and has written multiple articles about the Linux kernel and is a contributing editor for Linux Journal. His other books include Linux System Programming and Linux in a Nutshell.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 3 edition (July 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672329468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672329463
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was shopping for a good overview reference book of the Linux kernel, I did not want too much depth into each component, what I wanted was a "brief" overview of all the different components. If you're looking for depth into each module, then this is not the book for you. If you're interested in Linux and want a good overview book that you can finish quickly and have a working knowledge of the different components and how they tie in together then this is a great piece. I think "Linux Device Drivers" by Corbet is a better reference if your interest is strictly device driver and "Understanding Linux Networking Internals" by Benvenuti is better if you want to know more about the IP stack. Overall Robert Love goes through kernel development at a great level for an overview with just enough depth and enough examples. I use the book not every day but I often have it on my desk for reference.
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Format: Paperback
This book is for a reader who is an accomplished C programmer and for someone who wants to learn how to do Linux Kernel Development. The author has been contributing to Linux for more than 15 years and he was a member of the team that developed Android mobile platform's kernel. Although the author explains some of the topics in detail (for example Process Scheduling), he glosses over some of the other topics (for example Process Management). In order to understand some of the theoretical concepts presented in the book, it is better to have a background of Operating Systems. Therefore, it is better to study this book along with a theoretical book on Operating Systems (Silberschatz, Galvin). Having said that, this book can serve as a useful introduction to someone who wants to know the design and implementation of the Linux kernel.

In the first few chapters, the author provides instructions for obtaining the Kernel source code and compiling it. In the rest of the chapters, the author gives details of each of the parts of the Linux kernel. In the chapter on Kernel Data Structures (Chapter 6), the author gives a detailed explanation of the most important data structures that are used in Linux (linked lists, queues, maps and red-black trees). The chapter on Debugging (Chapter 18) is full of useful tips for debugging the Linux Kernel. What I like most about the book is that the author is very practical with his approach and concludes his book by saying that "the only way to start (learning the Linux Kernel) is by reading and writing code".
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Format: Paperback
I am proficient in C but knew very little (or next to nothing) about kernel programming. I tried all the other popular books, websites, blogs, documentation but this book blew them all away.

It is written in a free-flowing fashion, explains concepts first with lots of examples, instances, etc. Only then does it start describing the relevant kernel data structure, the actual implementation, etc. Also, it leaves some of the really complicated stuff out and just mentions it, which is great when you are newbie and dont want to get inundated with a ton of information.

This is the best book on linux kernel programming as of now! Buy it.
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... I couldn't put this book down

I've read my share of OS and internals books but this one by far takes the cake. Even beats out classic Tanenbaum. Although that is a generic OS book and this is (obviously) about Linux the clarity of how every detail is explained transcends just Linux and gives you a good feel of how computers work at the OS level and below. For example, by reading the great section on interrupts and work deferral (which is a concept that also applies to Windows), all the previous reading I've done on how Windows handles interrupts suddenly snaps into place. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested not just in the Linux kernel but OS internals in general. The way the author explains everything is so crystal clear in a way that is hard to find in tech books.
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This is a solid book, well worth the purchase price and the time to read it if you want to know the kernel (particularly 2.6.30) in reasonable detail. You really should have the equivalent understanding of a bog-standard undergraduate OS theory class first, though.

It's particularly good on the issues of multi-core/multithreaded processors (which are just a special case of SMP, after all). There's basically nothing about the unique aspects of embedded Linux, though (other than a brief description of JFFS2 and a couple of other flash filesystems), so if that's what you're doing, the book is a good intro but you're going to need another book afterward.

Gripes:

The book is a bit schizophrenic in its expectations of its readers: time, pages, and grams of weight :) are wasted on quickly reiterating some basic OS theory (mutexes, standard deadlock, preemption) that should be very old hat to anybody who is going to be actually doing kernel work.

I would have appreciated more on kernel debugging philosophy and tricks, but what is there is good.

A fair number of .h files are included in their entirety. IMHO they should have been editted down to just the fields relevant to the discussion in the text; we have The Source when we need the entire .h.

It's probably more x86-centric than it really needs to be, but that's certainly a venial sin at most, since the vast majority of non-embedded Linux boxen do run x86.

Gripes notwithstanding, this book is a real service to the community. Thanks, Mr. Love.
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