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Old 10-25-2007, 02:15 PM   #1
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How to study the linux source code?


I am a newbie to linux and OS. I just downloaded the source code of linux-2.6.23 online. I want to study the source code to learn the concept of OS kernel. Anybody knows any resource online that can guide me to understand linux kernel source code?

Thanks a lot,

Old 10-25-2007, 02:28 PM   #2
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well no... you'll not be able to understand the kernel by reading it. the kernel contains well well over a million lines of code, most of which is highly optimized and uncommented to any huge extent. there are plenty of guides about writing your own kernel, e.g. and there are guides about the linux kernel, e.g. but prinring out the source code over 6 trees worth of paper and sitting down with a lot of coffee isn't going to help you.

Last edited by acid_kewpie; 10-25-2007 at 02:36 PM.
Old 10-25-2007, 02:52 PM   #3
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Old 10-25-2007, 03:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for your reply. I know it is hard for me to master the entire kernel source code in a short time (or never). But I have read quite a few books talking about OS, and I am kind of reaching a bottleneck of getting any further. So I decide to deep into the linux kernel source code a little bit as an example to get a concrete feeling about how the process scheduling and memory management stuffs are implemented inside the OS. I just wondering whether there are any documentations online that give direct explanation to the source code in any degree of detail. I think it is wise to ask you guys as experienced programmer about some guideline. Thanks again.
Old 10-25-2007, 03:59 PM   #5
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Who said we were experienced programmers? Most of us probably could not program our way out of the proverbial wet paper bag.
Knowing how to set up and maintain systems is a far cry from knowing how to design them.....

Have you read this book?
Also, check out the O'Reilly website.
Old 10-25-2007, 05:37 PM   #6
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
Have you read this book?
Also, check out the O'Reilly website.
You can also get that book for no cost from the author's website by the way.
Old 10-25-2007, 08:29 PM   #7
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One of the best ways to learn about the kernel is to write a device driver that plugs into the kernel. To do a thorough job of this will have you wandering through an awful lot of the kernel's system structures.

Further, at the end of the journey, you'll have something useful - and who knows? - it might actually wind up in the kernel tree.

And yes, I do kernel programming and that is how I learned the Linux kernel. Unfortunately, my clients won't permit me to release the code under the GPL, and since they pay the bills...
Old 10-25-2007, 09:03 PM   #8
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Have you read a book about operating systems in general? There are two excellent ones that I own "Operating Systems" by Bill Stallings and "Operating Systems Concepts" by Silbershatz, Galvin and Gange.

These books go into the theory of process control, memory management, file systems, etc. That way, you have a good grounding in Operating System Theory, and then you can look at the Linux source and see what you have been learning about.



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