Como o Linux funciona?

Um livro para o usuário com alguma experiência que gosta de saber porque o Linux faz as coisas que faz e como as faz.

WARD, B. How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know. 2. ed. San Francisco: No Starch Press, 2014, 392 p. – ISBN 9781593275679. Edição para Kindle aqui.

(…) How Linux Works deals less with practical day-to-day issues and deals more with what the operating system is doing under the surface while we are using it. While other texts talk about creating files or scanning through logs, How Linux Works deals with the methods programs use to talk to the Linux kernel and how files are organized and located on the hard drive. Other books discuss setting up permissions on files and directories, How Linux Works shows us how permissions are implemented. Recently we’ve been hearing debates over different types of init software, How Linux Works discusses how each init implementation works and goes over the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

Brian Ward’s book is for a specific sort of person, someone that is less interested in what their operating system does and more interested in why. Why is accessing swap space slow? What do inodes do and why do we have them? How do threads work? What goes on behind the scenes when the kernel is scheduling processes? Why do we need a boot loader to bring the operating system on-line? All good questions curious people want answers to and Ward has those answers (and many, many more).

Something I like about How Linux Works is there is a certain abstract approach to the text. There are relatively few practical examples or tutorials on display, most of the book is focused on explaining what goes on in the background when we do certain things (…) Admittedly, if you are new to Linux and trying to figure out web browsing and package management, then this book is probably going to provide more information than you want to digest right now. However, if you are curious as to how Linux (and similar operating systems) do the things they do, if you want to know (in gritty detail) how the pieces of your operating system fit together, then How Linux Works will answer your questions in clear, concise terms. (da resenha publicada por Jesse Smith em DistroWatch – 15/12/2014)

Diz o autor Brian Ward no prefácio do livro:
I wrote this book because I believe you should be able to learn what your computer does. You should be able to make your software do what you want it to do (within the reasonable limits of its capabilities, of course). The key to attaining this power lies in understanding the fundamentals of what the software does and how it works, and that’s what this book is all about. You should never have to fight with a computer.

Linux is a great platform for learning because it doesn’t try to hide anything from you. In particular, most system configuration can be found in plaintext files that are easy enough to read. The only tricky part is figuring out which parts are responsible for what and how it all fits together (…)

Although Linux is beloved by programmers, you do not need to be a programmer to read this book; you need only basic computer-user knowledge. That is, you should be able to bumble around a GUI (especially the installer and settings interface for a Linux distribution) and know what files and directories (folders) are. You should also be prepared to check additional documentation on your system and on the Web. As mentioned earlier, the most important thing you need is to be ready and willing to play around with your computer.

Sobre as duas edições do livro:
A primeira edição é de 2004, e sobre as novidades da segunda, publicada agora em novembro de 2014, diz o autor:  I have omitted some older and perhaps less relevant material… Of course, so much of the original subject matter in this book has changed over the years, and I’ve taken pains to sort through the material in the first edition in search of updates… I’ve also omitted some of the historical information that was in the first edition, primarily to keep you focused.

Quem é Brian Ward?
Brian Ward has been working with Linux since 1993. He has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Chicago, and currently works in San Francisco as a consultant and instructor.

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