Updated: February 11, 2011
Writing books is not a new experience for me. I've been doing it since the age of 10. Most of these books
gather proverbial dust on this or that hard disk, others are being pampered for limelight, others yet have been
abandoned. There's no better place to announce the demise of one project as at the birth of another. As you may
have guessed, my super-extensive mother-of-all Linux topics book is not going to be published any time soon, as
simple system administration no longer excites me. The single Apache
chapter remains a proof-of-concept poetic demonstration, an orphan of what might have been.
Instead, I have started casting my eye toward more advanced, more complex topics. Like Linux crash analysis. This is a subject that has lots of unanswered mail threads and plain text documents scattered all over the place, inaccessible to almost everyone, save the tiny percentage of super geeks. Whether this should be so or not makes no difference. There comes a need, there comes a man with an idea, and that man writes a book.
My personal and professional interest in the last three years has taken me down the path of Linux kernel secrets, all the way into assembly code, where magic happens. I felt the desire to learn what happens in the heart of the system. Like most technical topics, there was some information to be found online, but it was cryptic, ambiguous, partial, nerdy, or just not there at all. Dedoimedo is a reflection of how things ought to be after all. I'm writing guides and tutorials and reviews the way I perceive the world - friendly and accessible toward normal human beings. In a way, every article is an attempt to make things a little clearer, a little more understandable. Step by step, nothing omitted, you know the mantra.
Linux kernel crash is no exception. If you're familiar with my website, you know this book is just a compilation of seven in-depth tutorials already posted and available freely for everyone's use. But there's a difference between some HTML code, scattered around, and a beautiful stylish book written in LaTeX. Not much difference, I admit, but still worth this fancy foreword.
This book is a product of several factors. First, my ego demands recognition, so I'm making the best effort of appearing smart in the posh circles. Nothing like a book to make you look wise and whatnot. Second, the book really makes sense, when you take the entire crash series into consideration. Starting with crash tools via collection all the way to analysis, plus some extras and general tips. It's an entire world, really, and it belongs inside a single, comprehensive volume. Third, half a dozen Dedoimedo readers contacted me by mail, asking that I compile my crash material into one document. I did hint at a possible PDF given popular demand, so here we go.
Linux Kernel Crash Book is 180 pages, 120 lovely screenshots and tons of excellent information. You won't easily find better content on this subject, I guarantee you that. You get this book for free, no strings attached. There's some copyright and disclaimer, mainly designed to protect my intellectual rights and hard work, but nothing draconian. Be fair and enjoy the knowledge shared with love and passion. If you happen to really like this book, think about donating a few bucks. An officially published book would probably cost between 20 and 40 dollars.
Now, this is no humble man's marketing plot. I surely do not expect to get miraculously rich this way. If you take my Golf GTI donation scheme as an example, it's a long way before my pockets swell with booty. However, like any egocentric human being, I love praise and recognition for my work. If you cannot or do not wish to donate money, then spread the word and lavish me with compliments. That will do, too.
I am also considering getting the book printed, whether through self-publishing or by insinuating my charm into an editor's heart. So if you're looking for talented fresh new blood to spatter the walls of glory, I'm your man. If you are a publisher and like my style and knowledge, don't be shy, email me.
My readers, worry not! Even if this book goes pro, the online tutorials will always remain there, for free. The emphasis on always is within the Planck limits of time and space, excluding an occasional mega-meteor strike or a cosmic gamma ray burst event.
I guess that's all. This book is waiting for you to read it. Enjoy!
Linux Kernel Crash Book is available under following conditions:
The book is free for personal and education purposes. Business organizations, companies and commercial websites can also use the book without additional charges, however they may not bundle it with their products or services. Said bodies cannot sell or lease the book in return for money or other goods. Modifications are not permitted without an explicit approval from the author. All uses must be accompanied with credits and a link to www.dedoimedo.com.
You may also mirror and hotlink to this book. You must credit me for any such use. In all eventualities, Dedoimedo retains all rights, explicit and implicit, to the original material. The copyright section may change at any time, without prior notice. For any questions, please contact me by email.
I am not very fond of disclaimers, but they are a necessary part of our world.
I must emphasize the purpose of this book is educational. It is not an official document and should not be treated as such. Furthermore, I cannot take any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or damages resulting from the use of this book and its contents.
All of the material in this book has been carefully worded and prepared. However, if for some reason you may feel this book infringes on copyright or intellectual property of another work, please contact me with a detailed explanation pointing to the troublesome parts and I will try to sort the problem in the best way possible.
This book has also been posted as a series of articles. For any news, changes or updates, you should always refer first to the online content.
OK, so you got this book downloaded to your machine. What now? Are you going to use it daily? Is it going to make you any smarter? Will you be more proficient using Linux after reading this book? Will you become a hacker? Or perhaps a kernel expert?
Linux kernel crash analysis is not an everyday topic. It is very likely a niche topic, which will interest only system administrators and professionals dabbling in the kernel. This condition may stop you from reading the book, as you may not be either the person maintaining server boxes nor the code developer trying to debug his drivers.
However, you may also consider this book as a very extensive learning lesson in what goes behind the curtains of a typical Linux system. While you may not find immediate use to the contents presented in this book, the general knowledge and problem solving methods and tools you find here should serve you universally. Come the day, come the opportunity, you will find this book of value.
I have written the book in a simple, linear, step-by-step manner, trying to make it accessible even to less knowledgeable people. I am fully aware of the paradox in mixing words inexperienced users with kernel crash analysis, but it does not have to be so. Reading this book will provide you with the confidence and understanding of what makes your Linux box tick. However, it cannot replace hands-on experience and intuition gained from actual work with Linux systems.
Therefore, you may gains tons of knowledge, but you will not become a hacker, an expert or a posh consultant just by reading the contents of this book. In fact, this book may very well frustrate you. As simple as I tried to make it be, it's still super-uber-ultra geeky. You could end spending hours rereading paragraphs, trying to figure out what's going on, deciphering the crash analysis reports, and trying to replicate my examples. It is important that you do not get discouraged. Even if glory does not await you at the last page, I am convinced that by mastering this book you will gain valuable knowledge. For some of you, it will be an eye-opener and maybe a very useful business tool. For others, it will be a missing piece of the puzzle called Linux. Others yet might end waiting years for the reward to appear.
To wrap this philosophical speech, Linux Kernel Crash Book is a highly technical piece of education with immense practical applications. It is probably the most comprehensive guide on the subject you will currently find available on the market, free, paid, hobbyist, professional, or otherwise. It's ideally suited for administrators and IT experts. It can also make home users happy, if they are willing to take the leap of faith.
Here you can download the Linux Kernel Crash Book, in PDF format. The book is 182 pages long, contains 113 screenshots and weighs 4.87MB. The book supercedes the previously published LKCD and Kdump PDF files. Until recently, this file was stored on Dropbox servers. At the moment, it is available here as a direct download.
While the book is available for free download, you may also want to consider buying the book to support this website. You can choose among five prices, ranging from USD1.00 to USD50.00. The payments are handled securely by PayPal. Thank you.
As I have mentioned earlier, I will have removed the LKCD and Kdump PDFs within two weeks from the publication of this article. This gives you enough time to fix your pointers and links, if you want. You can still use the older guides, but I recommend you try the complete book.
Below, you can find links to the original seven articles that comprise the Kernel Crash series, starting with LKCD and Kdump, via specific setup on CentOS and openSUSE, ending with collection and analysis of memory cores.
And yes, that would be all.