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Linux Kernel in a Nutshell (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596100797
ISBN-10: 0596100795
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"you can't go wrong with adding Linux Kernel in a Nutshell to your library." - James Pyles, Linux Magazine, March 2007

About the Author

Greg Kroah-Hartman has been building the Linux kernel since 1996 and started writing Linux kernel drivers in 1999. He is currently the maintainer of the USB, PCI, driver core and sysfs subsystems in the kernel source tree and is also one half of the -stable kernel release team. He created the udev program and maintains the Linux hotplug userspace project. He is a Gentoo Linux developer as well as the co-author of the third edition of the "Linux Device Drivers" book and a contributing editor to Linux Journal. He also created and maintains the Linux Device Driver Kit. He currently works for SuSE Labs/Novell, doing various Linux kernel related tasks.

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Product Details

  • Series: In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)
  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (December 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596100795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596100797
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #656,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When you are ready to build your own linux kernel this is a great book to read! Greg achieves his goal of providing lots of kernel building information in one easily useable source. He explains without being wordy and lets you learn from his ample experience. The first section deals with getting and building a vanilla kernel and should take you about an hour to read. Chapter 7 is neat because it shows how to isolate exactly what hardware you need to build for to optimize a running system. Chapters 9-11 cover half the book in reference format; boot parameters, build parameters, and configuration options.

If you are a kernel hacker the material is a bit light. However, if you have never built a kernel before you will save hours by this one read. I particularly like the reference style because I can study as much as my brain can absorb, make notes, and come back when I have a question.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Are you a Systems Administrator that needs a refresher course on the Linux Kernel? This is the book for you. Its a book that you spend a weekend with, compile a Linux Kernel and install it. The book gives a mix of high level overview as well as some low level important bits that really help the budding admin. I think that all Linux Admins should go through and follow this book at the very least once, and it will be a painful, slow learning experience but worth it in the long run.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a *must have* kernel reference for all who would configure, build or hack the Linux Kernel v2.6.x. Sections on the bootloaders, Grub and Lilo, Kernel boot parameters, configuration and build targets and a whole lot more make this book an indispensable reference.

This book is a quick reference guide and is well-suited for anyone with basic Unix/Linux skills and no programming experience is expected or required. Note that it does not get into programming the kernel or kernel modules. It will guide you through all of the steps necessary to obtain, patch, configure, build and install a new/different kernel on an existing Linux-based system.

If you are new to Linux and can handle basic navigation using the command line, then you'll be able to use this book for most, if not all, of your Linux kernel needs.
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Format: Paperback
Nowadays its less common for a user to have to compile a kernel, but there are times that if you don't do it a given device will no work properly (or at all). Despite the huge amount of Linux distributions available none is able to fulfill every user requirement. Configuring a laptop or installing a server requires different sets of modules with imply reconfiguring and recompiling the kernel. If you want to listen to a music, enable power management on a laptop or install some enterprise grade features like RAID or LVM this book is surely to help you.

The "Linux Kernel in a Nutshell" was written by one of the most renoun Linux kernel hackers, Greg Kroab-Hartman. Greg Kroab-Hartman develops system drivers since 1999 and is currently responsible for several of the kernel's subsystems, udev and hotplug.

This book was written to explain everything with is necessary to compile and install a Linux kernel. You don't need any prior programming experience but is most recommend some knowledge of the Linux system and it's command line.

The "Linux Kernel in a Nutshell" is quite complete and clear making it easy for the reader to compile its first kernel in just a few hours after having the book. Kroab-Hartman manages to do this supplying plenty of information in a well structured form that makes its reading extraordinarily easy.

The first chapters explain how to obtain and compile the kernel with is very light reading (about one hour). In the next chapters he explains how to customize your kernel. Finally at the end there is a list of boot and compilation parameters.

If you have some experience with Linux or you usually compile your kernel the information available in this book is a bit too simple never the less useful.
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Format: Paperback
I was a bit surprised after reading several chapters of this book that it had such high reviews on Amazon. In my opinion, it's just alright -- but the style and character of the book might be seen as stronger or weaker depending on what you want it for.

The author does a reasonably good job of explaining and listing the major data structures of every critical subsystem. He gives small code excerpts in order to illustrate the pertinent algorithms of the kernel, and for the most part he spares the reader from multiple page-long listings that you might find in other publications. This is classic O'Reilly style and the reader will appreciate this format when approaching such a large monolithic codebase.

Now the drawbacks. The book is written primarily from a descriptive standpoint, and a good 40%-50% of the text in every chapter is really just the author's paraphrasing of key algorithms into English. This often boils down to a long point-form list of the author's notes and comments that he made "inline" in the source while deciphering the code itself -- without the code. This gives the book an airy feel to it. I'm not sure who would benefit exactly from this style of exposition. I think that most readers will actually have the intent of doing something practical that involves the subsystem in question (writing a kernel module, injecting code into a process, trapping kernel calls, etc.) Those that do want a comprehensive view of a subsystem (perhaps for teaching) will benefit from the overviews and conceptual explanations but not likely from the algorithm translations -- they're better off looking directly at source code for that. If you rely on this book's code paraphrase, you are also locking yourself to its publication date of 2006 -- now a bit dated.
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