How Linux Works

What Every Superuser Should Know
by Brian Ward

May 2004, 368 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-59327-035-3

View a sample chapter, Chapter 3: How Linux Boots
View a sample chapter, Chapter 10: Maintaining the Kernel
Download the bibliography

How Linux Works describes the inside of the Linux system for systems administrators, whether you maintain an extensive network in the office or one Linux box at home. Some books try to give you copy-and-paste instructions for how to deal with every single system issue that may arise, but How Linux Works actually shows you how the Linux system functions so that you can come up with your own solutions. After a guided tour of filesystems, the boot sequence, system management basics, and networking, author Brian Ward delves into open-ended topics such as development tools, custom kernels, and buying hardware, all from an administrator's point of view. With a mixture of background theory and real-world examples, this book shows both "how" to administer Linux, and "why" each particular technique works, so that you will know how to make Linux work for you.

About the Author

Brian Ward has been working with Linux since 1993, when he scraped together enough pennies for a secondhand 386. He has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Chicago, and currently works in San Francisco as a consultant and instructor. He is author of the Linux Kernel-HOWTO, The Book of VMware, and The Linux Problem Solver.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Basic Unix
Chapter 2: Devices, Disks, Filesystems, and the Kernel
Chapter 3: How Linux Boots
Chapter 4: Essential System Files, Servers, and Utilities
Chapter 5: Configuring Your Network
Chapter 6: Network Services
Chapter 7: Introduction to Shell Scripts
Chapter 8: Development Tools
Chapter 9: Compiling Software from Source Code
Chapter 10: Maintaining the Kernel
Chapter 11: Configuring and Manipulating Peripheral Devices
Chapter 12: Printing
Chapter 13: Backups
Chapter 14: Sharing Files With Samba
Chapter 15: Network File Transfer
Chapter 16: Buying Hardware for Linux
Chapter 17: User Environments



"How Linux Works, written by HOWTO Linux Kernel author Brian Ward, is a great resource for learning about the things that are common to all distributions, and it sticks completely to the command line."
—eWEEK (Read article)

“I would definitely recommend this book to those who are interested in linux, but have not had the experience to know the inner workings of the OS.”
O'ReillyNet (Read more)

"This is one of the best basic books on learning Linux and is written with the power user in mind. It takes a different approach to learning Linux than most other books. I really like the way it teaches basic knowledge in all areas, then intermediate knowledge in all areas, then advanced." (Full review)

“If you are one of a kind who is always curious about the inner workings of things, then this book is for you.”
Bay Area Python Interest Group (Full review)

"Succeeds admirably because of the way in which it's organized and the level of technical detail it offers."
Kickstart News (Full review)

"This is a very different introduction to Linux. It's unflashy, concentrates on the command-line and digs around in the internals rather than on GUI front-ends that take the place of more familiar MS Windows tools." (Full review)

"It's new, fun and the author does a nice job of covering the basics."
Philadelphia Area LinuxChix Chapter review (Full review)

"This book does a good job of explaining the nuts and bolts of how Linux operates."
Hosting Resolve (Full review)

"[How Linux Works] describes the inner workings of a Linux system beginning with the file system and boot process and covering advanced topics such as networking, firewalls, development tools, device management, shell scripts, and sharing printers with Samba. Though a determined beginner could learn a lot from this book, it is really intended for superusers and system administrators who want to improve their understanding of Linux and who are ready to start building their own kernel. The final chapter is a very helpful guide to buying Linux-compatible hardware."
—SciTech Book News

Book review on Sound Bytes radio show on June 12, 2004. The host loved the book. Sound Bytes airs from 12:25 to 2 PM every Saturday on WHAM 1180 AM in Rochester, New York. It's been on the air for 14 years.

"This book does a good job of explaining the nuts and bolts of how Linux operates."
(Read article)

"This is one of the best basic books on learning Linux and is written with the power user in mind...Designed for the person who wants to really learn about Linux from the ground up How Linux Works is a recommended read."
—Harold McFarland, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer



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