Dave's Reviews > Linux Kernel Development

Linux Kernel Development by Robert Love
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Jul 29, 07

Read in September, 2006

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 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.
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