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Linux Kernel Development (2nd Edition)

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List Price: $44.99
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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 4.45

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Great book
Comment: I like the book because it is well organized, clear, no nonsense, explains the subject top-down, up-to-date including kernel 2.6, contains very little code and despite the subject still readable as a regular book. It is like a book about operating systems in general but about Linux only. I'd recommend reading this book before "Understanding the Linux Kernel".
However, I find the word "Development" in the title a little misleading because the book contains very little about the actual howto and could have been backed up by for example an appendix with an example from real life with a step-by-step walk-thru by the hand.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: clear and careful explanations from an expert
Comment: I was a Linux kernel newbie writing a device driver and started reading "Linux Device Drivers" by Rubini. On hindsight, this was a bad idea. Rubini's book goes deep into driver code quickly with good details but it only sparingly touches the higher level kernel overview or essential concepts. These missing pieces are covered very well in Love's book and I should have understood them before reading Rubini's book; important basic concepts covered in good detail include:

- user thread vs kernel thread.
- kernel-space process context vs kernel-space interrupt context.
- tasklet as a non-concurrent form of softirq and is not related in any way to tasks.
- bottom-half methods comprising softirq, tasklet and work queue; and that BH and task queue are obsolete and deprecated.
- semaphore sleeping vs spinlock spinning (busy-wait).
- spinlock adversely affecting scheduling latency while semaphore does not.

Love's book shows ambly that he is an expert in Linux kernel matters and speaks with authority. At the same time he has the ability of a good teacher to explain obscure and critical kernel concepts clearly. I heartily recommend this as the first book one should read about the Linux kernel, well before books such as Bovet's "Understanding the Linux Kernel" or Rubini's device driver book.

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Excellent Read
Comment: There is only 1 reason that I didn't give this book a 5 star rating. I found the memory management a bit below par. But that's probably because the initial chapters up the bar so high that the last few fail to live up to those high standards.

The chapter on Scheduling is phenomenal - easily the best! Maybe even that is an understatement. An added "advantage" is that this book is on kernel 2.6.

If you're entering the realm of kernel hacking, my recommendation is, read this first, Linux device Drivers by Rubini next, and then Understanding the Linux Kernel by Bovet and Cesati.

What next? The source - that's where you'll get all the answers. :)