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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Recommended reading

Beck, Michael, et al. Linux Kernel Internals, 2nd Edition. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. 1997.

This is an older Linux kernel book, but it's still our favorite. Although it's a bit outdated, it gives a good explanation of the kernel's inner workings.




Describe what the kernel does. Explain the difference between a kernel that uses modules and one that doesn't.



For each configuration method listed on page 221, give a practical example of a parameter that might need to be changed.


Examine the values of several parameters from Table 12.1 on page 222 using both the /proc method and the sysctl method. Change two of the values with one method and then read them back with the other method. Verify that the system's behavior has actually changed in response to your tuning. Turn in a typescript of your experiment. (Requires root access.)


At a local flea market, you get a great deal on a laptop card that gives you Ethernet connectivity through the parallel port. What steps would you need to perform to make Linux recognize this new card? Should you compile support directly into the kernel or add it as a module? Why? (Bonus question: if your hourly consulting fee is $80, estimate the value of the labor needed to get this cheapie Ethernet interface working.)


A new release of the Linux kernel just came out, and you want to upgrade all the machines in the student lab (about 50 machines, not all identical). What issues should you consider? What procedure should you follow? What problems might occur, and how would you deal with them?


In the lab, configure a kernel with xconfig or menuconfig and build a kernel binary. Install and run the new system. Turn in dmesg output from the old and new kernels and highlight the differences. (Requires root access.)

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