The Linux Programming Interface by Michael Kerrisk; O’Reilly Media


The Linux Programming Interface is a very extensive tome on the ins and outs of the Linux (nay Unix) system programming interfaces, from the maintainer of the Linux man-pages project. The book covers everything from the a.out (assembler output) format to zombie processes.

At more than 1500 pages long, it is not a book to read from cover to cover. As each chapter is fairly self-contained and covers a single topic thoroughly, I recommend diving into the book every time a topic tickles your fancy.

You stand much to gain by reading about a topic in the book rather than only perusing man pages. For instance, the topic on processes shows where the environ global variable points to in a process’s memory layout, describes the environment list data structure, and presents an example showing how to access the environment variables. Much more than you get from “man environ” on the command line.

The book’s 64 chapters cover every Linux programming topic I can imagine. Its breadth does mean that it is shallow on some occasions. I have had need to use, and blogged about, TCP keepalive before, a topic that does not occur in the book. To its credit, it is peppered with references to other books and articles that cover a topic in depth.

Definitely a book I’ll dive into every time I need to use a Linux programming interface I have never used before. I thank O’Reilly media for providing me an e-book to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s