November 14, 2000
Understanding the Linux Kernel
Sebastopol, CA--Linux was once seen as a kind of counter-culture hacker
experiment. But as Linux has increasingly become a mission-critical part of
many organizations, a deep knowledge of Linux is increasingly valued as a
sophisticated display of programming skill. In order to really understand
Linux, you must understand the kernel.
Linux was developed by Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
To complete the operating system, Torvalds and other team members made use of
system components developed by members of the Free Software Foundation for the
GNU project. Thus, the only software to which the term "Linux" applies is the
kernel. The Linux kernel is responsible for the sophisticated memory management
of the whole system, and the force behind Linux efficiency.
The kernel is the essential center of Linux, providing all the basic services
for all other parts of the operating system. Typically, the kernel handles all
requests or completed I/O operations and determines which programs will share
the kernel's processing time and in what order.
"Linux source code for all supported architectures is contained in about 4500 C
and Assembly files stored in about 270 subdirectories. It consists of about 2
million lines of code, which occupy more than 58 megabytes of disk space," says
Daniel P. Bovet, coauthor of the latest O'Reilly release
Linux Kernel. "After reading this book, you should be able to find your
way through the code, distinguishing between crucial data structures and
secondary ones--in short, you'll become a true Linux hacker."
If you have ever wondered why Linux is so efficient, or if you want to know if
its performance will be useful for some unusual application that you have,
O'Reilly's latest release, Understanding the Linux Kernel should be on
your radar. Understanding the Linux Kernel provides a guided tour of the
Linux kernel along with valuable and significant insights.
By Daniel P. Bovet & Marco Cesati
ISBN 0-596-00002-2, 702 pages $39.95
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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