This chapter presents an in-depth examination of the Linux operating system. By examining a complete, real system, we can see how the concepts we have discussed relate both to one another and to practice.
Linux is a version of UNIX that has gained popularity in recent years. In this chapter, we look at the history and development of Linux and cover the user and programmer interfaces that Linux presents—interfaces that owe a great deal to the UNIX tradition. We also discuss the internal methods by which Linux implements these interfaces. Linux is a rapidly evolving operating system. This chapter describes developments through the Linux 2.6 kernel, which was released in late 2003.
Linux looks and feels much like any other UNIX system; indeed, UNIX compatibility has been a major design goal of the Linux project. However, Linux is much younger than most UNIX systems. Its development began in 1991, when a Finnish student, Linus Torvalds, wrote and christened Linux, a small but self-contained kernel for the 80386 processor, the first
true 32-bit processor in Intel's range of PC-compatible ...