The 11 best Linux Books of all time for advanced programmers

A data-backed answer



There are countless lists on the internet claiming to be the list of must-read Linux books and it seemed that all those lists always recommended that same books minus two or three odd choices.

Finding good resources for learning programming is always tricky. Every-one has its own opinion about what book is the best to learn, and as we say in french, “Color and tastes should not be argued about”.

However I though it would be interesting to trust the wisdom of the crown and to find the books that appeared the most in those “Best Linux Book” lists.

If you want to jump right on the results go take a look below at the full results. If you want to learn about the methodology, bear with me.

I’ve simply asked Google for a few queries like “Best Linux Books” and its variations of. I have then scrapped all those pages (using ScrapingBee, a web scraping API I’m working on).

I’ve deduplicated the links and ended up with nearly 79 links. Using the title of the pages I was also able to quickly discards:

I ended up with almost 72 HTML files. I went on opening all the files on my browser, open my chrome inspector, found and wrote the CSS selector matching book titles in the article. This took me around 1hours, almost 30 seconds per page.

This also allowed me to discard even more nonrelevant pages, and I discarded a lot. In the end I compiled around 43 lists into this one.

Book titles were then extracted with manuel extraction and some web scraping.

I ended up with a huge list of books, not usable without some post-processing.

To find the most quoted Linux books I needed to normalize my results.

I had to play with all the different variation like “{title} by {author}” or “{title} - {author}”.

Or “{title}:{subtitle}” and “{title}”, or even all the one containing edition number.

And afterquite a bit of manual cleaning.

My list now looked like this:

From there it was easy to compute the most recommended books. You can find all the data used to process this list on this repo. Now let’s take a look at the list:

I've also recently used some data from different book sellers in order to not forget important books and try to give more weight to books with incredible reviews.



Linux: 5 Books in 1- Bible of 5 Manuscripts in 1- Beginner's Guide+ Tips and Tricks+ Effective Strategies+ Best Practices to Learn Linux Programming Efficiently+ Advanced Strategies.

Daniel Jones & William Bahl & K.M. Publishing
% recommend
🛒   Buy
If you want to learn Linux programming, there’s no better audiobook on the market for you. This powerful bundle of four audiobooks is going to assume you know absolutely nothing about Linux, then teach you everything from A-Z, some of the most significant topics that will be covered in this audiobook include: The most common and useful Linux command line tools How to write bash scripts and automate your command line workflow How to program in C++ and Python How to understand and think about high-level programming concepts in order to become a better programmer in the end The differences between functional and object-oriented programming and how they apply to you You may be absolutely stumped and not know where to look.

However, this audiobook will teach you everything you need to know - and fast! Without mincing words, the book teaches you two programming languages, how to write scripts, and how to navigate the Linux command line very well. So what are you waiting for? Buy a copy of this audiobook bundle now and get to programming on Linux like a master!

Linux Observability with BPF: Advanced Programming for Performance Analysis and Networking

David Calavera & Lorenzo Fontana
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Build your expertise in the BPF virtual machine in the Linux kernel with this practical guide for systems engineers. You’ll not only dive into the BPF program lifecycle but also learn to write applications that observe and modify the kernel’s behavior; inject code to monitor, trace, and securely observe events in the kernel; and more.

Authors David Calavera and Lorenzo Fontana help you harness the power of BPF to make any computing system more observable. Familiarize yourself with the essential concepts you’ll use on a day-to-day basis and augment your knowledge about performance optimization, networking, and security.

Then see how it all comes together with code examples in C, Go, and Python. Write applications that use BPF to observe and modify the Linux kernel’s behavior on demand Inject code to monitor, trace, and observe events in the kernel in a secure way—no need to recompile the kernel or reboot the system Explore code examples in C, Go, and Python Gain a more thorough understanding of the BPF program lifecycle

Systems Performance (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series)

Brendan Gregg
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Systems performance analysis and tuning lead to a better end-user experience and lower costs, especially for cloud computing environments that charge by the OS instance. Systems Performance, 2nd Edition covers concepts, strategy, tools, and tuning for operating systems and applications, using Linux-based operating systems as the primary example.

World-renowned systems performance expert Brendan Gregg summarizes relevant operating system, hardware, and application theory to quickly get professionals up to speed even if they’ve never analyzed performance before, and to refresh and update advanced readers’ knowledge. Gregg illuminates the latest tools and techniques, including extended BPF, showing how to get the most out of your systems in cloud, web, and large-scale enterprise environments.

He covers these and other key topics: *Hardware, kernel, and application internals, and how they perform *Methodologies for rapid performance analysis of complex systems Optimizing CPU, memory, file system, disk, and networking usage *Sophisticated profiling and tracing with perf, Ftrace, and BPF (BCC and bpftrace) *Performance challenges associated with cloud computing hypervisors *Benchmarking more effectively Fully updated for current Linux operating systems and environments, Systems Performance, 2nd Edition addresses issues that apply to any computer system. The book will be a go-to reference for many years to come and recommended reading at many tech companies, like its predecessor first edition.

Embedded Linux Systems with the Yocto Project (Pearson Open Source Software Development Series)

Rudolf Streif
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Build Complete Embedded Linux Systems Quickly and Reliably Developers are increasingly integrating Linux into their embedded systems: It supports virtually all hardware architectures and many peripherals, scales well, offers full source code, and requires no royalties. The Yocto Project makes it much easier to customize Linux for embedded systems.

If you’re a developer with working knowledge of Linux, Embedded Linux Systems with the Yocto Project™ will help you make the most of it. An indispensable companion to the official documentation, this guide starts by offering a solid grounding in the embedded Linux landscape and the challenges of creating custom distributions for embedded systems.

You’ll master the Yocto Project’s toolbox hands-on, by working through the entire development lifecycle with a variety of real-life examples that you can incorporate into your own projects. Author Rudolf Streif offers deep insight into Yocto Project’s build system and engine, and addresses advanced topics ranging from board support to compliance management

Assembly Language Step-by-Step: Programming with Linux

Jeff Duntemann
% recommend
🛒   Buy
The eagerly anticipated new edition of the bestselling introduction to x86 assembly language The long-awaited third edition of this bestselling introduction to assembly language has been completely rewritten to focus on 32-bit protected-mode Linux and the free NASM assembler. Assembly is the fundamental language bridging human ideas and the pure silicon hearts of computers, and popular author Jeff Dunteman retains his distinctive lighthearted style as he presents a step-by-step approach to this difficult technical discipline.

He starts at the very beginning, explaining the basic ideas of programmable computing, the binary and hexadecimal number systems, the Intel x86 computer architecture, and the process of software development under Linux. From that foundation he systematically treats the x86 instruction set, memory addressing, procedures, macros, and interface to the C-language code libraries upon which Linux itself is built

Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment, 3rd Edition

W. Stevens & Stephen Rago
% recommend
🛒   Buy
For more than twenty years, serious C programmers have relied on one book for practical, in-depth knowledge of the programming interfaces that drive the UNIX and Linux kernels: W. Richard Stevens’ Advanced Programming in the UNIX® Environment .

Now, once again, Rich’s colleague Steve Rago has thoroughly updated this classic work. The new third edition supports today’s leading platforms, reflects new technical advances and best practices, and aligns with Version 4 of the Single UNIX Specification.

Steve carefully retains the spirit and approach that have made this book so valuable. Building on Rich’s pioneering work, he begins with files, directories, and processes, carefully laying the groundwork for more advanced techniques, such as signal handling and terminal I/O.

He also thoroughly covers threads and multithreaded programming, and socket-based IPC. This edition covers more than seventy new interfaces, including POSIX asynchronous I/O, spin locks, barriers, and POSIX semaphores.

Most obsolete interfaces have been removed, except for a few that are ubiquitous. Nearly all examples have been tested on four modern platforms: Solaris 10, Mac OS X version 10.6.8 (Darwin 10.8.0), FreeBSD 8.0, and Ubuntu version 12.04 (based on Linux 3.2).

As in previous editions, you’ll learn through examples, including more than ten thousand lines of downloadable, ISO C source code. More than four hundred system calls and functions are demonstrated with concise, complete programs that clearly illustrate their usage, arguments, and return values.

To tie together what you’ve learned, the book presents several chapter-length case studies, each reflecting contemporary environments. Advanced Programming in the UNIX® Environment has helped generations of programmers write code with exceptional power, performance, and reliability

Linux Command Bible 3e

Richard Blum & Christine Bresnahan
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Talk directly to your system for a faster workflow with automation capability Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible is your essential Linux guide. With detailed instruction and abundant examples, this book teaches you how to bypass the graphical interface and communicate directly with your computer, saving time and expanding capability.

This third edition incorporates thirty pages of new functional examples that are fully updated to align with the latest Linux features. Beginning with command line fundamentals, the book moves into shell scripting and shows you the practical application of commands in automating frequently performed functions.

This guide includes useful tutorials, and a desk reference value of numerous examples. The Linux command line allows you to type specific shell commands directly into the system to manipulate files and query system resources.

Command line statements can be combined into short programs called shell scripts, a practice increasing in popularity due to its usefulness in automation. This book is a complete guide providing detailed instruction and expert advice working within this aspect of Linux.

Write simple script utilities to automate tasks Understand the shell, and create shell scripts Produce database, e-mail, and web scripts Study scripting examples ranging from basic to advanced Whether used as a tutorial or as a quick reference, this book contains information that every Linux user should know. Why not learn to use the system to its utmost capability? Linux is a robust system with tremendous potential, and Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible opens the door to new possibilities.

The Linux Programming Interface: A Linux and UNIX System Programming Handbook

Michael Kerrisk
% recommend
🛒   Buy
The Linux Programming Interface (TLPI) is the definitive guide to the Linux and UNIX programming interface—the interface employed by nearly every application that runs on a Linux or UNIX system. In this authoritative work, Linux programming expert Michael Kerrisk provides detailed descriptions of the system calls and library functions that you need in order to master the craft of system programming, and accompanies his explanations with clear, complete example programs.

You'll find descriptions of over 500 system calls and library functions, and more than 200 example programs, 88 tables, and 115 diagrams. You'll learn how to: –Read and write files efficiently –Use signals, clocks, and timers –Create processes and execute programs –Write secure programs –Write multithreaded programs using POSIX threads –Build and use shared libraries –Perform interprocess communication using pipes, message queues, shared memory, and semaphores –Write network applications with the sockets API While The Linux Programming Interface covers a wealth of Linux-specific features, including epoll, inotify, and the /proc file system, its emphasis on UNIX standards (POSIX.1-2001/SUSv3 and POSIX.1-2008/SUSv4) makes it equally valuable to programmers working on other UNIX platforms

How Linux Works, 2nd Edition: What Every Superuser Should Know

Brian Ward
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Unlike some operating systems, Linux doesn’t try to hide the important bits from you—it gives you full control of your computer. But to truly master Linux, you need to understand its internals, like how the system boots, how networking works, and what the kernel actually does.

In this completely revised second edition of the perennial best seller How Linux Works, author Brian Ward makes the concepts behind Linux internals accessible to anyone curious about the inner workings of the operating system. Inside, you’ll find the kind of knowledge that normally comes from years of experience doing things the hard way.

You’ll learn: –How Linux boots, from boot loaders to init implementations (systemd, Upstart, and System V) –How the kernel manages devices, device drivers, and processes –How networking, interfaces, firewalls, and servers work –How development tools work and relate to shared libraries –How to write effective shell scripts You’ll also explore the kernel and examine key system tasks inside user space, including system calls, input and output, and filesystems. With its combination of background, theory, real-world examples, and patient explanations, How Linux Works will teach you what you need to know to solve pesky problems and take control of your operating system.

The Hacker Playbook 3: Practical Guide To Penetration Testing

Peter Kim
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Back for the third season, The Hacker Playbook 3 (THP3) takes your offensive game to the pro tier. With a combination of new strategies, attacks, exploits, tips and tricks, you will be able to put yourself in the center of the action toward victory.

The main purpose of this book is to answer questions as to why things are still broken. For instance, with all the different security products, secure code reviews, defense in depth, and penetration testing requirements, how are we still seeing massive security breaches happening to major corporations and governments? The real question we need to ask ourselves is, are all the safeguards we are putting in place working? This is what The Hacker Playbook 3 - Red Team Edition is all about.

By now, we are all familiar with penetration testing, but what exactly is a Red Team? Red Teams simulate real-world, advanced attacks to test how well your organization's defensive teams respond if you were breached. They find the answers to questions like: Do your incident response teams have the right tools, skill sets, and people to detect and mitigate these attacks? How long would it take them to perform these tasks and is it adequate? This is where you, as a Red Teamer, come in to accurately test and validate the overall security program.

THP3 will take your offensive hacking skills, thought processes, and attack paths to the next level. This book focuses on real-world campaigns and attacks, exposing you to different initial entry points, exploitation, custom malware, persistence, and lateral movement--all without getting caught! This heavily lab-based book will include multiple Virtual Machines, testing environments, and custom THP tools

The Linux Command Line, 2nd Edition: A Complete Introduction

William Shotts
% recommend
🛒   Buy
You've experienced the shiny, point-and-click surface of your Linux computer--now dive below and explore its depths with the power of the command line. The Linux Command Line takes you from your very first terminal keystrokes to writing full programs in Bash, the most popular Linux shell (or command line).

Along the way you'll learn the timeless skills handed down by generations of experienced, mouse-shunning gurus: file navigation, environment configuration, command chaining, pattern matching with regular expressions, and more. In addition to that practical knowledge, author William Shotts reveals the philosophy behind these tools and the rich heritage that your desktop Linux machine has inherited from Unix supercomputers of yore.

As you make your way through the book's short, easily-digestible chapters, you'll learn how to: •  Create and delete files, directories, and symlinks •  Administer your system, including networking, package installation, and process management •  Use standard input and output, redirection, and pipelines •  Edit files with Vi, the world's most popular text editor •  Write shell scripts to automate common or boring tasks •  Slice and dice text files with cut, paste, grep, patch, and sed Once you overcome your initial "shell shock," you'll find that the command line is a natural and expressive way to communicate with your computer. Just don't be surprised if your mouse starts to gather dust.


I hope that you liked this list. Please do not hesitate to check out the other ones I've published.

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