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Understanding Linux Network Internals: A Guided Tour to Networking on Linux

January 17, 2006

Sebastopol, CA--In a world where Linux is becoming more and more ubiquitous--you can find it embedded in your router or running the file server--it is becoming more and more important to understand the internals. And in a world where more and more devices are networked in increasingly diverse ways, understanding the network internals of an operating system can be the key to getting the best performance or tailoring it to your specific needs.

According to Christian Benvenuti, author of Understanding Linux Network Internals (O'Reilly, US $49.95), "Students and tech companies often use the Linux operating system as base for their projects. In order to add or modify a piece of code (i.e. a new functionality), you first need to learn about the design of the current implementation."

That's why he wrote the new book. He continues, "I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with others, and I wanted to document a big component of the Linux kernel for which there was no good documentation. O'Reilly already had two good books on the Linux kernel (Understanding the Linux Kernel and Linux Device Drivers) and this new one was the missing piece."

Benvenuti adds, "After reading the book, people will be able to navigate the networking source code confortably, and understand how the various subsystems/components of the TCP/IP stack interface with each other."

Like the popular O'Reilly book Understanding the Linux Kernel, this volume clearly explains basic network concepts and teaches readers how to follow the actual C implementation code. Although some previous experience with TCP/IP protocols is helpful, readers can learn a great deal from this text about the protocols themselves and their many uses. Once they thoroughly understand these networking tools, readers can then use the book's code walk-throughs to figure out exactly how the most sophisticated parts of the Linux kernel work.

Benvenuti, an operating system designer who specializes in networking, explains much more than how Linux code works. He shows the purposes of major networking features, discusses trade-offs involved when choosing one solution over another, and includes numerous flowcharts and other diagrams to help bring the material into focus.

Topics in this book include:

  • Key problems with networking
  • Network interface card (NIC) device drivers
  • System initialization
  • Layer 2 (link-layer) tasks and implementation
  • Layer 3 (IPv4) tasks and implementation
  • Neighbor infrastructure and protocols (ARP)
  • Bridging
  • Routing
  • ICMP
  • Anyone who has ever wondered how Linux carries out the complicated tasks assigned to it by the IP protocols--or just wanted to learn about modern networking through real-life examples--will find an ideal guide in Understanding Linux Network Internals.

    Additional Resources:

    Understanding Linux Network Internals
    Christian Benvenuti
    ISBN: 0-596-00255-6, 1035 pages, $49.95 US
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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