Linux Kernel in a Nutshell

Just spotted by me on via the LXer feeds: the O’Reilly book “Linux Kernel in a Nutshell” is available for free download as a PDF from the official site. Go to to download it.

Many Linux users will already have this, but for those who don’t, it’s free in either it’s totality or you can grab a chapter at a time (useful for people on dial up). About the book:

This book is intended to cover everything that is needed to know in order to properly build, customize, and install the Linux kernel. No programming experience is needed to understand and use this book.

Some familiarity with how to use Linux, and some basic command-line usage is expected of the reader.

This book is not intended to go into the programming aspects of the Linux kernel; there are many other good books listed in the Bibliography that already cover this topic.

In case you are worried about the legality, from the site:

To quote the “official” O’Reilly site for the book:

Written by a leading developer and maintainer of the Linux kernel, Linux Kernel in a Nutshell is a comprehensive overview of kernel configuration and building, a critical task for Linux users and administrators.

No distribution can provide a Linux kernel that meets all users’ needs. Computers big and small have special requirements that require reconfiguring and rebuilding the kernel. Whether you are trying to get sound, wireless support, and power management working on a laptop or incorporating enterprise features such as logical volume management on a large server, you can benefit from the insights in this book.

Linux Kernel in a Nutshell covers the entire range of kernel tasks, starting with downloading the source and making sure that the kernel is in sync with the versions of the tools you need. In addition to configuration and installation steps, the book offers reference material and discussions of related topics such as control of kernel options at runtime.

A key benefit of the book is a chapter on determining exactly what drivers are needed for your hardware. Also included are recipes that list what you need to do to accomplish a wide range of popular tasks.

To quote me, the author of the book:

If you want to know how to build, configure, and install a custom Linux kernel on your machine, buy this book. It is written by someone who spends every day building, configuring, and installing custom kernels as part of the development process of this fun, collaborative project called Linux.

I’m especially proud of the chapter on how to figure out how to configure a custom kernel based on the hardware running on your machine. This is an essential task for anyone wanting to wring out the best possible speed and control of your hardware.

So this isn’t an illegal download, it totally above board. So go get it, I know I have 🙂


Posted on 10 January, 2007, in Books, Computer Stuff, Open Source. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. You wrote this book? Wow!

  2. I don’t think Ray wrote this book. :cheerful: I’d say that was a typo there:

    To quote me, the author of the book:

  3. That line should also have been quoted – fixed now. Whoops 🙂

  4. I’ve been wanting to buy this book for a while.. What perfect timing 😀

    Just a question – why is “official” (O’Reilly site) in quotation marks? They made me feel slightly sceptical of the link 😛

  5. No idea. It’s the way he wrote it and I just copy/pasted it.

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