|| ||"Kathryn Barrett" <kathrynb-AT-oreilly.com>|
|| ||Understanding the Linux Kernel, Third Edition - O'Reilly's Newest Release|
|| ||Tue, 22 Nov 2005 10:44:17 -0800|
For Immediate Release
For more information, a review copy, cover art, or an interview with
the authors, contact:
Kathryn Barrett (707) 827-7094 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Heart of Linux 2.6--From I/O Ports to Process Management
O'Reilly Releases "Understanding the Linux Kernel, Third Edition"
Sebastopol, CA--If you look at the anatomy of a Linux system, the only
part you actually can identify as "Linux" is the kernel, the software
program that sits at the very core. The rest of the operating system is
generally composed of Unix applications, such as filesystem utilities,
text editors, compilers, and so on. Yet, that small piece of software at
the center has enabled Linux to turn the IT industry on its head.
"All people curious about how Linux works, why it is so efficient, and why
it works so well on a variety of systems will find the answers there,"
says Daniel Bovet, coauthor of the bestseller "Understanding the Linux
Kernel" (O'Reilly, US $49.95), now available in a new third edition. "Our
book might be considered a guided tour of the Linux kernel. Most of the
significant data structures, and many algorithms and programming tricks
used in the kernel are discussed."
Bovet and Marco Cesati, who wrote the widely acclaimed first edition of
"Understanding the Linux Kernel" five years ago to cover Linux 2.2 (and
then a second edition to cover Linux 2.4), have updated the book for Linux
2.6, which has seen significant changes to nearly every kernel subsystem.
"After reading this book, users will find their way through the many
thousands of lines of code, distinguishing between crucial data structures
and secondary ones," Cesati asserts. "In short, they'll become true Linux
The book is not specifically for system administrators or programmers, but
for anyone who wants to understand how things really work inside the
machine. "It explains the theoretical underpinnings for why Linux, and
many other operating systems, do things the way they do," Cesati explains.
"We try to go beyond superficial features and offer a background, such as
the history of major features and why they were used."
"Understanding the Linux Kernel" differs from other books on Linux
internals by discussing the kernel in relation to a specific hardware
platform. "Efficient kernels take advantage of most available hardware
features, such as addressing techniques, caches, processor exceptions,
special instructions, processor control registers, and so on," Bovet
points out. "If we want to convince readers that the kernel indeed does
quite a good job in performing a specific task, we must first tell what
kind of support comes from the hardware."
Appropriately, the authors decided to concentrate on the popular and cheap
IBM-compatible PCs with 80x86 microprocessors, which include the entire
Intel Pentium line. Although Linux now runs on several kinds of PCs and
workstations, Linus Torvalds designed Linux in 1991 to run on a PC using
an Intel 80386 system with 4 MB of RAM. "Linux systems are very fast,
because they fully exploit the features of the hardware components," Bovet
says. "The main goal of Linux is efficiency, and indeed many design
choices of commercial Unix variants have been rejected by Linus Torvalds
because of their implied performance penalty."
By including hardware details, the book takes a bottom-up approach in
studying Linux components, starting with topics that are
hardware-dependent and progressing toward those that are totally
hardware-independent. Among the topics the book describes are process and
memory management, the Virtual Filesystem layer and the second and third
extended filesystems, process creation and scheduling, essential
interfaces to device drivers, Interprocess Communication (IPC), program
execution, and more.
"This is much more than an academic exercise," Cesati remarks. "One of the
more appealing benefits to Linux is that its source code is open and
available to anyone to study. Our book shows readers the conditions that
bring out Linux's best performance, and how the operating system meets the
challenge of providing good system response during process scheduling,
file access, and memory management in a wide variety of environments."
Praise for the previous edition:
"So, taking it as a given that a book about Linux internals is a good
thing, how good is this one? Happily, it's very good--better than any
previous such book that I've seen. The authors have cracked open a large
collection of code that's currently very relevant. If they are in for the
long haul and release revised books in a timely way, then this will likely
become and remain the definitive explanation of Linux internals."
--John Regehr, Slashdot.org
"O'Reilly continues its tradition of exhaustive and thoroughly lucid
guides to all things technical with this thick guided tour of the Linux
kernel. What makes this book stand out among other guides to the Linux
operating system is that it takes the time to explain why certain features
of the kernal are good or bad for specific applications. It's only a
matter of time before this becomes a textbook for advanced college course
on operating systems. Highly recommended for serious programmers and
Further reviews of "Understanding the Linux Kernel" can be found at:
For more information about the book, including author bios, see:
For a cover graphic in JPEG format, go to:
Understanding the Linux Kernel, Third Edition
Daniel P. Bovet and Marco Cesati
ISBN: 0-596-00565-2, 923 pages, $49.95 US, $69.95 CA
1005 Gravenstein Highway North
Sebastopol, CA 95472
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