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Linux Kernel Development (2nd Edition)
by Robert Love
Publisher: Novell Press
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Edition: Paperback
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1. Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition by Jonathan Corbet, Alessandro Rubini, Greg Kroah-Hartman
2. Understanding the Linux Kernel (2nd Edition) by Daniel P. Bovet, Marco Cesati
3. Building Embedded Linux Systems by Karim Yaghmour
4. The Linux TCP/IP Stack: Networking for Embedded Systems (Networking Series) (Networking Series) by Thomas F. Herbert
5. Understanding the Linux Virtual Memory Manager (Bruce Perens Open Source) by Mel Gorman
Editorial Reviews:

Book Description

The Linux kernel is one of the most important and far-reaching open-source projects. That is why Novell Press is excited to bring you the second edition of Linux Kernel Development, Robert Love's widely acclaimed insider's look at the Linux kernel. This authoritative, practical guide helps developers better understand the Linux kernel through updated coverage of all the major subsystems as well as new features associated with the Linux 2.6 kernel. You'll be able to take an in-depth look at Linux kernel from both a theoretical and an applied perspective as you cover a wide range of topics, including algorithms, system call interface, paging strategies and kernel synchronization. Get the top information right from the source in Linux Kernel Development.

Download Description
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. While the book discusses topics that are theoretical, it does so with the goal of assisting programmers so they better understand the topics and become more efficient and productive in their coding.The book discusses the major subsystems and features of the Linux kernel, including design and implementation, their purpose and goals, and their interfaces. Important computer science and operating system design details are also addressed. The book covers the Linux kernel from both angles - theoretical and applied - which should appeal to both types of readers.The author is involved in Linux kernel development, so the latest kernel version is detailed, as the author has access to the not-yet-released development releases.Specific topics covered will include: all the important algorithms, relevant subsystems, process management, scheduling, time management and timers, system call interface, memory addressing, memory management, paging strategies, caching layers, VFS, kernel synchronization, and signals.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Novell Press; edition (Jan 12, 2023)
  • ISBN: 0672327201
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 Based on 24 reviews.
  • Sales Rank: 4443

Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

3Good and easily readable, but..., Sep 17, 2023
The book is easily readable. It gives a higher-level overview of the architecture of the linux kernel. Most important subsystems are covered, but in-depth descriptions are sorely missing. It is easily readable and generally useful as a guide through more stable parts of the kernel.

One star less because some subsystems are not mentioned at all, like networking, SCSI, ATA, USB or FireWire. For these parts the would-be kernel hacker is doomed to having they way around just the kernel source - no help from this book.

Another star less because of technically incorrect material written in the portability chapter. The problem is that the author is talking about the "C language" and his statements are simply incorrect in that context (although they may be valid for the gcc compiler restricted to the architectures supported by linux).

One example is saying that the unsigned long type is the natural size of the machine word (i.e. 32 bits on 32-bit machines and 64 bits on 64-bit ones). This is simply not correct in the context of the C language as such where unsigned long has to be at least 32 bits, but it doesn't say that on 64-bit machines must be 64 bits.

There are many int-to-pointer and vice-versa conversions in the kernel for which the above comment is very relevant.

Another example is saying that the char type has always 8 bits in C. This is also not true - it has CHAR_BIT bits, defined by the implementation. CHAR_BIT can be arbitrary as far as the C standard is concerned.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

5Excellent Book, Sep 15, 2023
This book will not only provide a good understanding of the Linux kernel but also Operating System design in general. Anyone who wishes to dig into the kernel source should keep a copy of this book in hand. It would be like reading an article in a foreign language and having the translation book with you too :). I highly reccommend it.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

5Great description of the Linux Kernel , Aug 19, 2023
Everybody should introduce their background before reviewing, since that helps a lot when other people read your opinion. In my case I'm an EE, and never took a course in OS or have a lot of experience in OS design or the like. My work has been in low level design of embedded systems, including HW and SW. We'll be porting the Linux Kernel to our own HW architecture, and bought this book as a reference to understand what to touch.

Now on to the book: I think it's great. I haven't got to the point where we touched actual code though. I've read the book and got a great idea of how Linux handles all the tasks an OS should. It also helped me understand a lot about OS design in general, without being a beginner's book (you know, those that have just the basic stuff that you can't do anything with).

I believe the idea behind the book is to teach you the philosophy behind the OS, with samples of the algorithms and C cde, and then point you in the right direction (where in the source to go for each thing). After that, you need to dig into the source code yourself.

I'd really recommend this book for someone with my background or even for experienced SW types or students who need to get started with the Linux Kernel and want to understand how it is designed. The great thing is that it covers the latest release (2.6) and also talks about how things were done in previous releases.

If you'll be implementing a Linux System this book should be complemented with some driver design reference for Linux, since this book only covers the Kernel (and entry points for the drivers, but not driver design).

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

5One of the Best Linux Book, Jun 29, 2023
I just got my order (the 2nd edition) yesterday. This is my second book about Linux Kernel, the other one is "Understanding The Linux Kernel" by Daniel P. Bovet, Marco Cesati. I was having hard time to understand by reading the Bovet's book, but when I read this book it really was really fun. I even could stop reading it when the time past midnight (wow, it is like reading a thrilling novel book :-).

I love the way the author tries to explain in a "human plaintext" language (w/ some humors), and gradually he introduces some jargons w/ clear explanations. The book is intended for intermediate to advanced programmers who now C and have some experience in building their kernel from source code. Although, it still guides readers how to compile, to patch and so on (chapter 2).

Another good thing is that, unlike many other Linux Kernel books, the author emphasizes concepts of the Linux Internals. So he tries to minimize a copy-paste of the source code on the book (you can just open the source code and see it, no need to have a book for that). This is what I have been looking for. Besides, when there is a new patch/version, the book will be still relevant long into the future.

Here is the list of the chapters:

1. Intro to the Linux Kernel
2. Getting Started w/ the Kernel
3. Process Management
4. Process Scheduling
5. System Calls
6. Interrupts and Interrupt Handlers
7. Bottom Halves and Deferring Work
8. Kernel Synchronization Intro
9. Kernel Synchronization Methods
10. Timers and Time Management
11. Memory Management
12. The Virtual Filesystem
13. The Block I/O Layer
14. The Process Address Space
15. The Page Cache and Page Writeback
16. Modules
17. kobjects and sysfs
18. Debugging
19. Portability
20. Patches, Hacking and the Community
Appendix (Linked Lists, Kernel Random Number Generator, Algorithmic Complexity)

My suggestion is first read this book thoroughly, then may continue with "UNderstanding The Kernel" and also "Linux Device Drivers", 3rd Edition by Jonathan Corbet. If you want to know more about TCP/IP stack in the kernel, "The Linux TCP/IP stack" by Herbert may be good too (I bought this book too, but I have not read it yet, but from what I saw on the table of content seems it is interesting). The last but not the least, another book about wi-fi "Linux unwired" may also compliment your personal library of Linux.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

4independent of Novell, Jun 17, 2023
[A review of the 2ND EDITION 2005.]

You should find this to be a graceful description of what it means to change the linux kernel. Love goes into enough detail to give practical guidance with code mods. But he also writes clearly of the reasons behind the various kernel operations. The choice of using the current 2.6 kernel means this book may be more relevant than earlier linux kernel texts.

A point of some amusement is the table of supported linux architectures. Surely some of these will be exiting the stage soon. Who is going to keep developing linux for the DEC Alpha or the 32 bit MIPS?

Don't be put off by the Novell logo on the cover. Love works for them and they approved the book. But in going through it, there seems to be no pro-Novell slant. It may also be that Novell is trying to burnish its open source credibility with books like this.


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