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Professional Linux Kernel Architecture by Wolfgang Mauerer

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Chapter 12. Networks

That Linux is a child of the Internet is beyond contention. Thanks, above all, to Internet communication, the development of Linux has demonstrated the absurdity of the widely held opinion that project management by globally dispersed groups of programmers is not possible. Since the first kernel sources were made available on an ftp server more than a decade ago, networks have always been the central backbone for data exchange, for the development of concepts and code, and for the elimination of kernel errors. The kernel mailing list is a living example that nothing has changed. Everybody is able to read the latest contributions and add their own opinions to promote Linux development—assuming, of course, that the opinions expressed are reasonable.

Linux has a very cozy relationship with networks of all kinds—understandably as it came of age with the Internet. Computers running Linux account for a large proportion of the servers that build the Internet. Unsurprisingly, network implementation is a key kernel component to which more and more attention is being paid. In fact, there are very few network options that are not supported by Linux.

Implementation of network functionality is one of the most complex and extensive parts of the kernel. In addition to classic Internet protocols such as TCP, UDP, and the associated IP transport mechanism, Linux also supports many other interconnection options so that all conceivable types of computers and operating systems are ...

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