Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know” as Want to Read:
How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  350 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
How Linux Works describes the inside of the Linux system for systems administrators, whether they maintain an extensive network in the office or one Linux box at home. Some books try to give you copy-and-paste instructions for how to deal with every single system issue that may arise, but How Linux Works actually shows you how the Linux system functions so that you can com ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 24th 2004 by No Starch Press (first published May 1st 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How Linux Works, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How Linux Works

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Michael Koltsov
Jan 25, 2017 Michael Koltsov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn't claim to cover all Linux features, but definitely it covers some of the most important ones.

It's easy to read, though it encompasses lots of useful information. I wish my first Linux book was like that.

The only complaint I had with it was that though its second edition has been recently issued and it wasn't strictly specified on which Linux distribution should I run some of the commands from the book I wasn't able to try some of them due to that there were no such packages in t
Jun 15, 2008 Christopher rated it it was amazing
For making a book about Linux only ~340 pages long, it's hard to find one this complete and educational. Out of the dozens of books I've bought on Linux, this is the one I keep turning to over and over again.

True, with the more recent live-cd's and other gadgets made for the general public, you may not use some of the things written in this book (old utilities, &c) but it really has everything you should know to maintain and develop on these systems.

Especially if you're going to install Linu
Laura Stone
Jan 18, 2015 Laura Stone rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've been reading quite a few books on Linux recently, and this one has been the most comprehensive and technical. It was actually a bit of a challenge for me to get through, and I took a lot of notes.

The author does not always articulate himself as clearly as I would like, but it covered a lot of concepts relevant to the LPIC-1 exam (including the boot process, bash scripting, libraries, managing files, etc.) plus more, and did so in far greater depth than a lot of the other material I've been
Daniel Q
Good book, but not as good or complete as the blurb suggests. It does cover a lot of ground, but most of the time it is superficial. A few times it looked like it drifted away from the subject when it was getting really interesting. The "real-world examples" are few and not very helpful.
Dec 10, 2014 Tassos rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book, neither too advanced nor too basic. However, even thought I'm not a super advanced Linux user myself, there are not so many things that this book had to offer.

One thing I certainly missed was more complete examples of commands and more hands on tasks for the reader.
Farid Samadov
Jan 17, 2016 Farid Samadov rated it really liked it
Book could look boring for advanced users, but nevertheless, there's always something new.
Jan 29, 2017 Volodymyr rated it liked it
More not a "how Linux works", but of general introduction into it by the way covering and explaining its internal workings to some extent
Dec 08, 2016 Justy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I frequently use Linux for development/deployments but considering I learned most of that by doing I wanted to fill in my gaps with a general Linux book.

First off, this book isn't for beginners, you have to have a tech background in order to get through it. I would suggest having taken an undergrad-level operating systems knowledge before starting.
It would also be nice to have some networking background, you don't really need to know much about programming though.

The first half is pretty grea
Jan 25, 2015 Jascha rated it really liked it
Shelves: linux, sys_admin
Another great title published by No Starch Press. If you are a Linux power user, Brian definitely knows how to properly feed your desire to know more about what’s happening under the hood, without getting into the details of titles such as The Linux Programming Interface or Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment. Easy to read and follow, it’s a long long talk about many of the topics that make Linux what it is today.

I don’t remember a single tech book published by No Starch Press that did
Joshua Goller
Jun 06, 2015 Joshua Goller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew! This is a pretty huge book (or at least it felt like one). It’s about 350 pages of solid, high-signal Linux how-to information, starting with basic use and moving to more advanced topics like the kernel, init processes, networking, display servers, etc. It’s probably not a good book to read if you haven’t been working with Linux for a while first, but it’s definitely something you want to read to make sure you cover things you may have missed; my impression is that the average Linux user s ...more
Anton Petkov
Jun 12, 2016 Anton Petkov rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computer-science
I bought the paperback copy of the the second edition of How Linux Works and read it with pleasure while commuting.
I read the book while attending the Operating Systems and Computer Networks courses in the university where I studied and practiced almost everything covered in the book.
I have a few pages left to read, but i can say with confidence that this is one of the most useful books i have ever read as a beginner. I like the fact that the book covers so many topics and it gives you a very go
May 11, 2015 Jeff rated it it was amazing
A great overview of Linux in simple terms and examples. Many books about Linux are for system administrators. This book is for those seeking an understanding off the major components of a Linux system and how they interact. It instructs on how to investigate and test a system running Linux as its operating system. I felt the book spent just the right amount of time on each topic. I will likely refer to this book many times.
Evgeny Rusak
May 06, 2015 Evgeny Rusak rated it really liked it
The purpose of this book is to provide insightful generic overview of the internals and main components of the Linux systems. There are some parts like init process for example that must deviate from generic way in favor of specific OS distribution way of doing things. And in that situation author does the best in providing brief description and explains what differs and what is in common to provide the coherent knowledge knot. Thxz
Feb 17, 2015 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, compsci
Went through this over a couple of days at a new job where I'll need to be a bit more competent with Linux. I'm not exactly a newbie but nowhere near an expert, so I think I picked this up at the right time. It's a great overview and answered a lot of questions I'd developed. Also very well-organized, and a good mix of depth and breadth. Makes it easy to skim through things you're already comfortable with or areas that seem out-of-scope for what you need to do.
Anton Antonov
Dec 17, 2014 Anton Antonov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
Whether you're a enthusiast, student, employed software developer or sys admin - this book will do you good. As a software developer, I loved the shell scripting and networking chapters. I learnt a lot in a well organized way and know what else to read, since through the chapters, you'll find a lot of paragraphs where the author recommends books that will help you learn more about the topic(s).

Full review:
Jelmer De reus
Aug 18, 2015 Jelmer De reus rated it really liked it
I already knew this.... Kidding! I'm glad I could use this resource for deeper understanding of a few fundamental building blocks and I've used it to give more background information in a course on Linux Administration. Together with an implementation specific book (Ubuntu Unleashed or RHCE books) you can get a good picture of how it works!
Antonios Hadjigeorgalis
Sep 15, 2016 Antonios Hadjigeorgalis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technology
I've been using Linux daily since 2012 and I've frequently peeked under the hood. Reading through this book filled in some missing details that I had never uncovered. I highly suggest this to any newbies or people like me that have been using Linux but have never had a thorough run-thru of all the bits and pieces.
What Man
Dec 01, 2016 What Man rated it it was amazing
Good concise introduction to the GNU/Linux operating system. Worth the read and really helps you understand the history behind why things are done a certain way in the Linux world while not abandoning the newer things like Systemd.
Aaron Roberts
Jul 29, 2016 Aaron Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for developers using or building Linux systems

I have been using Linux professionally and as a hobbiest for several years. I did not realize how little I actually knew or did not actually understand about Linux until I read this book.
Arash Tohidi
May 23, 2016 Arash Tohidi rated it it was amazing
Excellent Book. It explanations are very sufficient and detailed but doesn't waste your time on unnecessary writing. It's also well organized, it tells you stuff when it's the right time to know about them.
Great book.
Eugene Popovych
Oct 23, 2015 Eugene Popovych rated it it was ok
More a bunch of manuals and howtos than a detailed book about Linux internals. Could be interesting as a reference or investigation guide for different Linux components for somebody. Not for me though.
Alec Justice
Apr 04, 2016 Alec Justice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
A thorough beginner/intermediate level introduction to the basic functions of Linux. A lot of this is to satisfy curiosity rather than prove practical, but it is otherwise the most definitive book on Linux working I have found.
Alex Kitchens
Sep 21, 2014 Alex Kitchens rated it really liked it
Shelves: skill-specific
This book is a great introduction to understanding the insides of Linux. While it's dated(written in 2005), I learned enough to get a grasp of the Linux structure. Part of me wishes I had waited until November to read the new edition! Great book.
Sep 20, 2016 Hussain rated it really liked it
It's is a very good book and I recommend it for anyone who wants to know about linux inner workings, But I have to say that it was a Very Very Boring book and some subjects were a little difficult to understand.
Aug 15, 2016 Jorg rated it really liked it
Shelves: computers
A thorough introductio, indispensable for newbies but containing something new even for an experienced user.
Alan Calderwood
Jun 12, 2016 Alan Calderwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read

Excellent book. Needed to refresh my knowledge of linux along with some of the newer aspects such as systems. Well worth a read.
Richard Pavlovsky
Aug 07, 2016 Richard Pavlovsky rated it really liked it
A good introduction text for those wanting to understand Linux and how to interact with your system. Also a bit of computer history which is always fascinating. I would definitely recommend.
Suvash Thapaliya
Jun 30, 2015 Suvash Thapaliya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015, linux
Quite a packed book that goes one below to explain how things actually work in a modern(2015) Linux. will definitely be coming back to refresh my memory on certain parts when needed.
Erkin Unlu
Nov 16, 2015 Erkin Unlu rated it really liked it
Biraz outdated kalsa da baslangic icin iyi bir kaynak. Bilgisayar uzerinden bir okuyucu ile okumanin faydali olacagini dusunuyorum.
Bhaskar Chowdhury
It is a okay kind of book . Good for beginner, who lacks the information about the subject. Newbies will get great help out of this book .
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • UNIX Power Tools
  • The Linux Command Line
  • Linux in a Nutshell
  • Understanding the Linux Kernel
  • Practical Malware Analysis: The Hands-On Guide to Dissecting Malicious Software
  • UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook
  • Windows® Internals, Part 1: Covering Windows Server® 2008 R2 and Windows 7
  • Write Great Code: Volume I: Understanding the Machine
  • The Linux Programming Interface: A Linux and UNIX System Programming Handbook
  • Practical Vim: Edit Text at the Speed of Thought
  • Gray Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Reverse Engineers
  • Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction
  • Cryptography Engineering: Design Principles and Practical Applications
  • tmux: Productive Mouse-Free Development
  • Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: Practical Programming for Total Beginners
  • Nmap Network Scanning: The Official Nmap Project Guide to Network Discovery and Security Scanning
  • Linux Bible
  • The UNIX Programming Environment

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »

Share This Book

“To see an input stream at work, enter cat (with no filenames) and press ENTER. This time, you won’t get your shell prompt back because cat is still running. Now type anything and press ENTER at the end of each line. The cat command repeats any line that you type. Once you’re sufficiently bored, press CTRL-D on an empty line to terminate cat and return to the shell prompt.” 0 likes
“There are many different Unix shells, but all derive several of their features from the Bourne shell (/bin/sh), a standard shell developed at Bell Labs for early versions of Unix. Every Unix system needs the Bourne shell in order to function correctly, as you will see throughout this book. Linux uses an enhanced version of the Bourne shell called bash or the “Bourne-again” shell. The bash shell is the default shell on most Linux distributions, and /bin/sh is normally a link to bash on a Linux system.” 0 likes
More quotes…