This is the most awesome book ever. No, I'm serious. It's the Chuck Norris of OS design books. It does a comparative analysis of the way in which seve...moreThis is the most awesome book ever. No, I'm serious. It's the Chuck Norris of OS design books. It does a comparative analysis of the way in which several Unix variants implement each concept presented in the book (as well as the Mach kernel), and gives the reader a sense of historical context for each concept. As someone with less than a year of university under my belt, I had struggled for years to understand kernel internals, and mostly in vain. I tore through this book in about a week, and then read it again. It blew the doors off of kernel design for me, and suddenly everything was demystified.
If you've been through operating system design courses, maybe you won't have as much of a boner for it as I do, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this excellent book.(less)
In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith is an open source developer who writes his code offline because his ISP has installed packet sniffers that are...moreIn George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith is an open source developer who writes his code offline because his ISP has installed packet sniffers that are regulated by the government under the Patriot Act. It's really for his own protection, though. From, like, terrorists and DVD pirates and stuff. Like every good American, he drinks Coca-Cola and his processed food has desensitized his palate to all but four flavors: sweet, salty-so-that-you-will-drink-more-coca-cola, sweet, and Cooler Ranch!(tm). His benevolent overlords have provided him with some war happening somewhere for some reason so that he, and the rest of the population, can be sure that the government is really in his best interests. In fact, the news always has some story about Paris Hilton or yet another white girl who has been abducted by some evil bastard who is biologically wired by 200,000 years of human evolution to fuck 12-year-olds, but is socially conditioned to be obsessed with sex, yet also to feel guilty about it. This culminates into a distorted view of sexuality, and results in rape and murder, which both make for very good news topics. This, too, is in Winston's best interests because, while fear is healthy, thinking *too* much about his own mortality is strictly taboo, as it may lead to something dangerously insightful, and he might lose his taste for Coca Cola and breast implants. The television also plays on his fears of the unknown by exaggerating stereotypes of minorities and homosexuals, under the guise of celebrating "diversity", but even these images of being ghetto-fabulous and a lisping interior designer actually exist solely to promote racism and homophobia, which also prove to be efficient distractions.
For some reason, Winston gets tired of eating recycled Pop Tarts and eating happy pills and pretending to be interested in sports and manufactured news items. But, in the end, they fix him and he's happy again. Or something.(less)
I've been somewhat of a novice kernel hacker for many years now and the few pieces of the kernel that I can say that I understand very well have been...moreI've been somewhat of a novice kernel hacker for many years now and the few pieces of the kernel that I can say that I understand very well have been small, hard-won victories for me. There are a number of Linux kernel books out there, and most novice hackers will find, as I have, that it's very difficult to just go in "cold" and learn about a specific kernel subsystem from these books. Books like "Linux Kernel Internals", "Understanding the Linux Kernel" and "Understanding the Linux Virtual Memory Manager", are all very good references, but may be a bit overwhelming for the neophyte.
The problem is that there's just so damn much going on in the kernel. Diving too deeply too soon is likely to give the novice a sense that he/she is working without enough context to actually understand the material.
"Linux Kernel Development" acts as a nice primer for someone who wants to get an idea of how everything comes together before taking the deep dive. The book is fairly light on source code, so you're not terribly likely to come out a kernel hacker if you read this cover to cover, but in conjunction with a reference like "Understanding the Linux Kernel" and, of course, the source code, the kernel becomes much more approachable.
And, of course, while there's no substitute for source code, if you're like me, you need to know *why* something is implemented in a certain way before you're able to make heads or tails of it.
If I get lost in the source, I often find myself coming back to this book to get a sense of the "big picture". Robert Love does an excellent job in getting readers over that initial hurdle.(less)