Linux Internals

Linux Internals is an attempt to explain the structure and concepts of Linux kernel programming. It covers the arrangement of the source code, how the kernel works, basic functionality of the kernel, the Linux process model, the Virtual Memory Manager, scheduling, signalling and file systems.

The main problem with the book is that it discusses kernel concepts in abstract and then appends the relevant kernel code to the end of the discussion. As such, readers get a glimpse of how parts of the kernel work but are then faced with raw C code. The book is very much up to date with recent work on the kernel, such as kernel level Web serving and journaling file systems, but basic and fundamental facets of the kernel have been overlooked, including networking, drives and the support of many different hardware architectures.

A CD-ROM included with the book includes a 2.4 preview kernel, four releases of JFS, the Logical Volume Manager and kHTTPd kernel Web server. Though the back page lists "numerous network driver updates" as being included, I cannot find them except in the preview kernel itself. This CD-ROM is a bit of a disappointment.

The result is a book which gives a glimpse of the Linux 2.4 kernel in action, but leaves the reader without an understanding of the Linux kernel completely and as a whole. Although it includes kernel code, this remains unexplained and would be confusing for a reader who is new to Linux, and would only be suitable for those with a good knowledge of C.

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Gavin Sherry

PC World
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