I gulped this down in a few hours. Obviously I skimmed a bit, but I'll be going back to read again more leisurely. The reason for my voracious attack is that this is a subject I have somewhat painful familiarity with: I had to pass a Solaris Internals test as part of my Sun Enterprise Certification years ago. I wish I had a book like this then. I had to rely upon limited course materials from Sun, what on-line resources I could find (which wasn't a lot in 1996) and a few Unix books like The Magic Garden Explained. If Magic Garden gets a "9", this gets a "15".
What I liked most was the constant attention to history. This doesn't just tell you how Solaris 10 does things; it tells you how it used to be done and why it was changed, and what else that change affected. For example, did you know that you can't compile static binaries on Solaris 10? Do you know why (it has to do with LWP allocation)? Did you know that the u_area is no longer swappable (because it's right in the proc structure now). Do you know how Solaris handling of buffer cache is similar to Linux and how it is different? And so on.. There's all kinds of stuff like this scattered throughout the book.
On the one hand, this isn't a book you'd buy just for the heck of it. If you aren't fascinated by kernel internals, the philosophy and implementation details, this isn't for you. On the other hand, even if your interest isn't Solaris specifically, you might find this very much worth its hefty price tag. Solaris is Sys V Unix, so a lot of what you'll learn here is transportable elsewhere. Even Linux owes a lot to Sys V (SCO still insists they stole code, though they don't have much left to base that on, and it's always interesting to compare and contrast different approaches to the same problem. I really wish some one would write a book this good about Linux Internals; I've yet to find one that fires me up above lukewarm.
I reviewed a pre-publication draft copy, but this is one I definitely want to own when it is finally released (scheduled for July 15th, 2006 as I write this). Of course you can always pre-order at Amazon.
See also Solaris Performance Tools
Order (or just read more about) Solaris(TM) Internals : Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris Kernel Architecture (2nd Edition) from Amazon.com
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2009-11-07 Anthony Lawrence
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