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Three decades ago, Linus Torvalds, a Finnish student studying computer science at University of Helsinki was tinkering with his project not knowing the impact it would make in the world a few years later. Looking at cloud statistics, it is evident that most servers around the globe are running on Linux and so much more continues to thrive as a result of its presence. Beginning as a fun project, Linux has burgeoned with startlingly rapid progress now being contributed by thousands of developers around the globe.

If you have ever wondered how it all comes together, how Linux works and what it entails, then having a good look at its documentation, books and other resources is worth your while. At the same time, having the skills required to tackle, improve and patch Linux can be quite amazing to the users of the Kernel around the world.


For everyone who knows the value that Linux has brought into the world of tech, they will ambitiously encourage everyone to contribute to the future successes coming. You can add your ideas and code after mastering the Linux Kernel and how it all works using the following books.

1. Understanding the Linux Kernel, Third Edition 3rd Edition

Marco Cesati received a degree in mathematics in 1992 and a Ph.D. in computer science (University of Rome, “La Sapienza”) in 1995. Dan who got a Ph.D. in computer science at UCLA in 1968, was so fascinated by the accomplishments of Linus Torvalds and his followers that he spent the last few years trying to unravel some of Linux’s mysteries. It seemed natural, after all that work, to write a book about what he found.

The third edition of Understanding the Linux Kernel takes you on a guided tour of the most significant data structures, algorithms, and programming tricks used in the kernel. Probing beyond superficial features, the authors offer valuable insights to people who want to know how things really work inside their machine. Important Intel-specific features are discussed. Relevant segments of code are dissected line by line. But the book covers more than just the functioning of the code; it explains the theoretical underpinnings of why Linux does things the way it does.

This edition of the book covers Version 2.6, which has seen significant changes to nearly every kernel subsystem, particularly in the areas of memory management and block devices. The book focuses on the following topics:

  • Memory management, including file buffering, process swapping, and Direct Memory Access (DMA)
  • The Virtual Filesystem layer and the Second and Third Extended Filesystems
  • Process creation and scheduling
  • Signals, interrupts, and the essential interfaces to device drivers
  • Timing
  • Synchronization within the kernel
  • Interprocess Communication (IPC)
  • Program execution

Understanding the Linux Kernel, Third Edition

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2. Linux Kernel Development 3rd Edition

The author, a core kernel developer, shares valuable knowledge and experience on the 2.6 Linux kernel. Specific topics covered include process management, scheduling, time management and timers, the system call interface, memory addressing, memory management, the page cache, the VFS, kernel synchronization, portability concerns, and debugging techniques. This book covers the most interesting features of the Linux 2.6 kernel, including the CFS scheduler, preemptive kernel, block I/O layer, and I/O schedulers.

The third edition of Linux Kernel Development includes new and updated material throughout the book:

  • An all-new chapter on kernel data structures
  • Details on interrupt handlers and bottom halves
  • Extended coverage of virtual memory and memory allocation
  • Tips on debugging the Linux kernel
  • In-depth coverage of kernel synchronization and locking
  • Useful insight into submitting kernel patches and working with the Linux kernel community

Get acquainted with Linux Kernel and gear up for a challenging yet rewarding career of solving problems across the globe. Click below to get your copy from Amazon:

Linux Kernel Development

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3. How Linux Works, 2nd Edition: What Every Superuser Should Know Second Edition

Having worked with Linux since 1993, Brian Ward decided to share what he has learnt for the many years he has spent in tech in this valuable resource. In this completely revised second edition of the perennial best seller How Linux Works, the author makes the concepts behind Linux internals accessible to anyone curious about the inner workings of the operating system. Inside, you will find the kind of knowledge that normally comes from years of experience doing things the hard way.

You’ll learn:

  • How Linux boots, from boot loaders to init implementations (systemd, Upstart, and System V)
  • How the kernel manages devices, device drivers, and processes
  • How networking, interfaces, firewalls, and servers work
  • How development tools work and relate to shared libraries
  • How to write effective shell scripts

Apart from that, you will also explore the kernel and examine key system tasks inside user space, including system calls, input and output, and filesystems. With its combination of background, theory, real-world examples, and patient explanations, How Linux Works will teach you what you need to know to solve pesky problems and take control of your operating system. Feel free to order your book from Amazon below:

How Linux Works, 2nd Edition: What Every Superuser Should Know

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4. Linux System Programming: Talking Directly to the Kernel and C Library Second Edition

Robert Love has been a Linux user and hacker since the early days. He is active in–and passionate about–the Linux kernel and GNOME desktop communities. In this book, Robert teaches how to write software that draws directly on services offered by the Linux kernel and core system libraries. With this comprehensive book, the author who is a Linux kernel contributor provides you with a tutorial on Linux system programming, a reference manual on Linux system calls, and an insider’s guide to writing smarter, faster code.

Love clearly distinguishes between POSIX standard functions and special services offered only by Linux. With a new chapter on multithreading, this updated and expanded edition provides an in-depth look at Linux from both a theoretical and applied perspective over a wide range of programming topics, including:

  • A Linux kernel, C library, and C compiler overview
  • Basic I/O operations, such as reading from and writing to files
  • Advanced I/O interfaces, memory mappings, and optimization techniques
  • The family of system calls for basic process management
  • Advanced process management, including real-time processes
  • Thread concepts, multithreaded programming, and Pthreads
  • File and directory management
  • Interfaces for allocating memory and optimizing memory access
  • Basic and advanced signal interfaces, and their role on the system
  • Clock management, including POSIX clocks and high-resolution timers

Get all the love from Robert Love’s experience and wisdom in his book below:

Linux System Programming: Talking Directly to the Kernel and C Library

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5. Linux Kernel Development 3rd Edition

Robert Love is an open source programmer, speaker, and author who has been using and contributing to Linux for more than 15 years. He is currently senior software engineer at Google, where he was a member of the team that developed the Android mobile platform’s kernel.

The book details the major subsystems and features of the Linux kernel, including its design, implementation, and interfaces. It covers the Linux kernel with both a practical and theoretical eye, which should appeal to readers with a variety of interests and needs.

The author who is a core kernel developer, shares valuable knowledge and experience on the 2.6 Linux kernel. Specific topics covered include process management, scheduling, time management and timers, the system call interface, memory addressing, memory management, the page cache, the VFS, kernel synchronization, portability concerns, and debugging techniques. This book covers the most interesting features of the Linux 2.6 kernel, including the CFS scheduler, preemptive kernel, block I/O layer, and I/O schedulers.

The third edition of Linux Kernel Development includes new and updated material throughout the book:

  • An all-new chapter on kernel data structures
  • Details on interrupt handlers and bottom halves
  • Extended coverage of virtual memory and memory allocation
  • Tips on debugging the Linux kernel
  • In-depth coverage of kernel synchronization and locking
  • Useful insight into submitting kernel patches and working with the Linux kernel community

Again, get all the love from Robert Love’s experience and wisdom in this book from Amazon below:

Linux Kernel Development (Developer's Library)

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6. Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment, 3rd Edition

Now, once again, Rich’s colleague Steve Rago has thoroughly updated this classic work started by the late W. Richard Stevens who was the acclaimed author of UNIX® Network Programming, Volumes 1 and 2. The new third edition supports today’s leading platforms, reflects new technical advances and best practices, and aligns with Version 4 of the Single UNIX Specification.

Steve carefully retains the spirit and approach that have made this book so valuable. Building on Rich’s pioneering work, he begins with files, directories, and processes, carefully laying the groundwork for more advanced techniques, such as signal handling and terminal I/O. He also thoroughly covers threads and multithreaded programming, and socket-based IPC.

This edition covers more than seventy new interfaces, including POSIX asynchronous I/O, spin locks, barriers, and POSIX semaphores. Most obsolete interfaces have been removed, except for a few that are ubiquitous. Nearly all examples have been tested on four modern platforms: Solaris 10, Mac OS X version 10.6.8 (Darwin 10.8.0), FreeBSD 8.0

Advanced Programming in the UNIX® Environment has helped generations of programmers write code with exceptional power, performance, and reliability. Now updated for today’s systems, this third edition will be even more valuable. Check it all out for yourself by getting a copy of this resource from Amazon below:

Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment, 3rd Edition

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7. The Linux Programming Interface: A Linux and UNIX System Programming Handbook

Michael Kerrisk, the writer of “The Linux Programming Interface“, has been using and programming UNIX systems for more than 20 years, and has taught many week-long courses on UNIX system programming.

In this authoritative work, the author who is a Linux programming expert provides detailed descriptions of the system calls and library functions that you need in order to master the craft of system programming, and accompanies his explanations with clear, complete example programs.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Read and write files efficiently
  • Use signals, clocks, and timers
  • Create processes and execute programs
  • Write secure programs
  • Write multithreaded programs using POSIX threads
  • Build and use shared libraries
  • Perform interprocess communication using pipes, message queues, shared memory, and semaphores
  • Write network applications with the sockets API

While The Linux Programming Interface covers a wealth of Linux-specific features, including epoll, inotify, and the /proc file system, its emphasis on UNIX standards (POSIX.1-2001/SUSv3 and POSIX.1-2008/SUSv4) makes it equally valuable to programmers working on other UNIX-related platforms.

The Linux Programming Interface: A Linux and UNIX System Programming Handbook

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8. The Art of UNIX Programming 1st Edition

What Eric Raymond tries to do is inquire deeply into timeless design patterns and the mindset that makes for great software. The author designs software which helps power pretty much every Internet-aware device you use daily – smartphones, ATMs, browsers.

The Art of UNIX Programming poses the belief that understanding the unwritten UNIX engineering tradition and mastering its design patterns will help programmers of all stripes to become better programmers. This book attempts to capture the engineering wisdom and design philosophy of the UNIX, Linux, and Open Source software development community as it has evolved over the past three decades, and as it is applied today by the most experienced programmers. Eric Raymond offers the next generation of “hackers” the unique opportunity to learn the connection between UNIX philosophy and practice through careful case studies of the very best UNIX/Linux programs.

The Art of UNIX Programming (The Addison-Wesley Professional Computng Series)

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9. UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook 5th Edition

Put together by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Trent Hein, Ben Whaley, and Dan Mackin which is a wonderful team of authors, UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Fifth Edition, is today’s definitive guide to installing, configuring and maintaining any Unix or Linux system — including the systems that provide core Internet and cloud infrastructure.

Now fully updated for today’s Linux distributions and cloud environments, it details best practices for every facet of system administration, including storage management, network design and administration, web hosting and scale-out, automation, configuration management, performance analysis, virtualization, DNS, security, management of IT service organizations, and much more. For modern system and network administrators, this edition contains indispensable new coverage of cloud deployments, continuous delivery, Docker and other containerization solutions, and much more.

UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook

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Ending Script

A solid understanding of Linux internals empowers you to extend, patch and even create programs based on it that might be missing in the labyrinthine technological forest. Dive in, put your best geek side into it and make the Linux world a better place for businesses and everyone.

Other invaluable Linux resources can be found in the articles below. Check out the blog for Linux guides as well in case you would wish to set up sweet things in them.

Best Linux Bash Scripting Books

Best Linux Books for Beginners & Experts

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