How Linux Works 3rd Ed cover

How Linux Works, 3rd Edition

What Every Superuser Should Know
by Brian Ward
April 2021, 464 pp.
ISBN-13: 
9781718500402

Look Inside!

Download Chapter 5: HOW THE LINUX KERNEL BOOTS

Linux for the Superuser

Unlike some operating systems, Linux doesn’t try to hide the important bits from you—it gives you full control of your computer. But to truly master Linux, you need to understand its internals, like how the system boots, how networking works, and what the kernel actually does.

In this third edition of the bestselling How Linux Works, author Brian Ward peels back the layers of this well-loved operating system to make Linux internals accessible. This edition has been thoroughly updated and expanded with added coverage of Logical Volume Manager (LVM), virtualization, and containers.

You'll learn:

  • How Linux boots, from boot loaders to init (systemd)
  • 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

You’ll also explore the kernel and examine key system tasks inside user-space processes, including system calls, input and output, and filesystem maintenance. With its combination of background, theory, real-world examples, and thorough explanations, How Linux Works, 3rd Edition will teach you what you need to know to take control of your operating system.

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • Hands-on coverage of the LVM, journald logging system, and IPv6
  • Additional chapter on virtualization, featuring containers and cgroups
  • Expanded discussion of systemd

Covers systemd-based installations

Author Bio 

Brian Ward has been working with Linux since 1993. He is also the author of The Linux Kernel-HOWTO, The Book of VMware (No Starch Press), and The Linux Problem Solver (No Starch Press).

Table of contents 

Introduction
Chapter 1: The Big Picture
Chapter 2: Basic Commands and Directory Hierarchy
Chapter 3: Devices
Chapter 4: Disks and Filesystems
Chapter 5: How the Linux Kernel Boots
Chapter 6: How User Space Starts
Chapter 7: System Configuration: Logging, System Time, Batch Jobs, and Users
Chapter 8: A Closer Look at Processes and Resource Utilization
Chapter 9: Understanding Your Network and Its Configuration
Chapter 10: Network Applications and Services
Chapter 11: Introduction to Shell Scripts
Chapter 12: Network File Transfer and Sharing
Chapter 13: User Environments
Chapter 14: A Brief Survey of the Linux Desktop and Printing
Chapter 15: The Big Picture
Chapter 16: Introduction to Compiling Software from C Source Code
Chapter 17: Virtualization

View the Copyright Page
View the detailed Table of Contents
View the Index

Reviews 

"Comprehensive . . . The third edition of How Linux Works is a good introduction to Linux that also is organized such that readers can flip through and go as far into a subject as necessary to answer questions at hand, skipping the more extensive explanations that aren’t crucial for their current topic of interest. In that regard, the book is a nice reference to have on the bookshelf."
—Lee Teschler, Microcontroller Tips

"The book is very thorough—from looking down into the hardware, through delving into how the kernel functions, to covering the most important commands, file systems, swap space, boot loaders, networking and more. In fact, I'm not at all surprised that this book has survived to its 3rd edition—both because it's a genuinely good book and because Linux has gone through some serious changes in the past seven years, especially related to such things as its use of containers, the flexibility of logical volume manager and the continued move toward virtualization. . . . This is a very thorough and up-to-date book. After using Unix and then Linux for nearly 40 years, I am still getting a lot of value and significant insights from reading it."
—Sandra Henry-Stocker, longstanding Linux journalist

"If you've not read this book yet, you really should. It's very good, highly detailed, approachable, comprehensive, and just an overall joy to read as a Linux nerd. Highly recommend!"
—Adam Miller, @TheMaxamillion

"This book provides an overview of Linux, with some information on how to dive deeper into its topics. Recommended."
—Ian Bruntlett, C Vu Journal Vol. 33 #4, ACCU

Reviews for How Linux Works

“If you are interested in Linux, How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know is a must-read title.”
—LinuxInsider

“Lots to offer on almost every aspect of the Linux architecture.”
—Everyday Linux User

“You’ll get an essential understanding of what’s going on under the hood without getting bogged down in minutiae—making this a very refreshing (and wholly recommended) addition to the Linux literature.”
—Phil Bull, co-author of Ubuntu Made Easy and member of the Ubuntu documentation team

“Dives straight into the transparent depths of Linux-based operating systems and shows us how all the pieces fit together.”
—DistroWatch

“Earns its place on the shelf as an essential reference.”
—The MagPi magazine

"The book teaches you the concepts behind Linux internals. It is ideal reference material for anyone curious to know about the operating system’s inner workings."
—Xtreme Pentesting, @xtremepentest

Updates 

Page 103: in Section 4.4.2, under "Creating Physical Volumes and a Volume Group," the last line which reads:
my-vg 2 0 0 wz--n- <20.16g <20.16g
should instead read:
myvg 2 0 0 wz--n- <20.16g <20.16g

Page 162-163: we deleted step 7, and renumbered step 8 to step 7

Page 221: The first sentence which currently reads:
"An exception to these rules is the root cgroup found at the bottom of the hierarchy."
should instead read:
"An exception to these rules is the root cgroup found at the base path of the hierarchy."