Re: Materials for a Linux deep-dive

Philipp Ahmann

Hi John,

based on your feedback addressing me more or less directly. As the originater of the google doc [1] I marked it as outdated and refer to the latest version in the wiki within the devel-list [2]. I also added "Understanding the Linux Kernel" 3rd edition and the whitepaper from OpenSynergy there with respective links.

Sorry for the confusion with the google doc. I started it, but it never really went live.

Best regards,





Am 08.04.21 um 17:30 schrieb elana.copperman@...:

Totally agreed, John.
Actually it would be a good prerequisite for anyone who wants to join ELISA and investigate Linux safety, to have a deep understanding of the Linux kernel - before making any conclusions about its safety.
Good luck on your journey!

-----Original Message-----
From: devel@... <devel@...> On Behalf Of John MacGregor
Sent: Thursday, April 8, 2021 1:52 PM
To: devel@...
Subject: [ELISA Technical Community] Materials for a Linux deep-dive


Jochen brought this topic up in the sync call yesterday, but somehow or other I didn't get around to addressing it. It came up in our Automotive WG working session today, so I'm throwing it out to the list.

At some point or other we will need a deep understanding of the Linux kernel in order to understand what effects various architectural, design and implementation decisions have on safety integrity.

I've been reading "Understanding the Linux Kernel" and would recommend it with reservations. Basically it was prepared to help university students interpret the Linux source code. It contains description of the control flow and major data structures for various subject areas (See the TOC in the link).

Here are my reservations:

a) The printed version is 944 pages and my e-book reader has said that the remaining reading time is 20 hours for the last 5 reading hours. - It's huge.

b) It's based on 2.6.11 and probably out-of-date in a lot of areas. I think that the basics haven't changed and the overview presents a good place to start.


c) The book has the focus and level of detail that will be needed to do safety analyses on Kernel issues

d) I don't know of a better source, or combination of sources, of information that is more appropriate.

I'm going to read it (again) to the end because I'm pigheaded and I have the time. Does anybody have recommendations for those of us that are less pigheaded or who have less time?

Any comments on (a-d)?



BTW, we do have a ELISA reference materials document[2], which a) doesn't list "Understanding the Linux Kernel" and b) other than an addition by Philipp Ahmann a month ago, hasn't been touched since 2019.
This is another topic for an onboarding document or website :-)

BTW2, I've been meaning to work through the examples in "The Linux Programming Interface"[3] (a couple a day - they're small, just for fun), but haven't got around to it. But that's just looking at the API.
I could well imagine that there is better literature to that subject.


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