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Slashdot: Linux Core Kernel Commentary [Book Review]

May 03, 2000, 20:49 (0 Talkback[s])

"How would you dip your feet in the water, learning enough to start dabbling with kernel development? Scott Maxwell might end up as the guide for a fresh batch of aspiring programmers, with his Linux Core Kernel Commentary. Starting with a lesson on the history and philosophy behind free software, you can learn enough to start contributing on your own."

"The massive tome has nearly 40,000 lines of code from the x86/arch branches of the Linux kernel. That works out to two columns on each of over 400 pages. It's mostly free of annotations, except for small arrows referring to the commentary on that section. The commentary takes up the rest, at three columns per page. The architecture dependent functions target x86 code, and the core features (memory management, processes, scheduling, signals and threads, procfs) are covered."

"Most interesting for me was the "a-ha!" factor. The normal chapter flow describes the subsection in general terms (memory management is designed to do such and such, with these issues), moves to the important data structure, and then walks through the vital functions for that section, stopping here and there to explain peculiarities and subtleties of the code. There's rough going in a few spots, but there are occasional moments of insight where the solutions come in to clear focus."

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