Reviews of The Linux Programming Interface

As reviews for The Linux Programming Interface appear, I'll add links below. If you see a review that isn't listed here, please email me with a pointer to the review. Where I've managed to find the individuals who wrote reviews in forums such as Amazon, I've hyperlinked to their homepages.

And a request: if you appreciate my book, please consider reviewing it in an online magazine, online bookseller's web site (Amazon or elsewhere), blog, or web site. Reviews really do make a difference in getting the word out and improving sales.

"Kerrisk's book is more thorough, more comprehensive and just as well written as the Stevens and Rochkind books… It is now easily THE standard book on Linux/UNIX system programming."

Vladimir G Ivanovic, reviewing on (28 Oct 2010)

"Absolutely, without question, the best longform technical writer. Reading his books, where he gets to exercise all of the skills in terms of sequencing, layering, explanation, repetition, etc is like receiving an architectural download from the universe."

—Jonah Benton on Hacker News (6 Jun 2022)

"This is one of the best technical books i have ever read (in any topic). It is comprehensive, authoritative, well organized and a pleasure to read. The author uses MANY example programs that are great at illustrating the concept being discussed."

—Kanak Kshetri reviewing on (19 Sep 2019)

"… Crystal clear writing, great explanations and motivations, and tons of technical detail. It's one of the best technical books I've ever read, on par with K&R and Stevens… Thanks to the author for this wonderful contribution to the systems community."

Prof. David O'Hallaron, Carnegie Mellon University, reviewing on (3 May 2012)

"I was hoping this book would serve as a handy reference [...] but it has far surpassed that expectation. This is THE most detailed programming book that I own."

—Lee Mazzoleni reviewing on (10 Mar 2020)

"This is without a doubt the best written technical book I've ever read; it's honestly hard to believe only one person wrote and organized it. In an era where you can often get a better answer from a highly voted Stack Overflow question than you'll find most books, TLPI is 100% an exception."

—Bill Harper reviewing on (8 Mar 2016)

"Beautifully written book, a model of clarity and succinctness, equivalent to K&R's C Programming Language book, but surprisingly readable from front to back too."

—webbje reviewing on (2 Jun 2017)

"I have read a lot of technical books … and really I have NEVER seen a technical book as well written as this one."

—"Read and think" reviewing on (18 Jul 2017)

"…the author beautifully explains how Linux kernel programming works… the writing flows elegantly with each sentence conveying valuable information"

—William P Ross reviewing on (8 Jul 2016)

"… a beautifully written book. The author, Michael Kerrisk, combines technical knowledge about Linux internals with a clear, precise writing style. This book is fun to read. Each chapter deals with a single topic and consists of roughly 25 pages. This is an excellent organisation: it lets you completely understand one area at a time in manageable chunks. … a case study in pleasant, lucid writing."

—Vikram Aggarwal, reviewing on (29 Aug 2011)

"some books … are so good that they become classics and a standard for other books and "must reads" for everyone interested in the topic. … "The Linux Programming Interface" … is such a book."

—Markus Jais, reviewing on (12 Nov 2011)

"I don't think I've mentioned just how good this book is in a while. You all have a copy of it, right? You should, it's that good."

—Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux kernel developer, Google+ (23 May 2013)

"Kerrisk's book 'The Linux Programming Interface' (#tlpi) is slowly, but inexorably, replacing #apue in my heart"

—(Professor) Stefano Zacchiroli, Free Software activist, former Debian Project Leader, Twitter (15 Nov 2011)

"1500+ pages of awe inspiring, amazing technical blessing. It is a fabulous example to everyone in the I.T. industry, and a very high bar for any technical books to come."

—J. Kayser, reviewing on (30 Nov 2012)

"This is not just a great Linux book, but probably one of the best technical book I've ever read."

—The Shepherd, reviewing on (20 Jul 2012)

"I've seldom (maybe never) come across a better programming book in my 40 years as a professional programmer."

—Mark Doyle, reviewing on (12 Apr 2014)

"I've been doing Linux systems programming nearly my entire career (16 years so far...), and this is the most valuable resource I've found… The amount of detail and coverage of subjects completely surpassed my expectations."

—Jeff Woods, reviewing on (23 Sep 2014)

"Everything worthy of knowing about programming 'NIXes and LINUX in particular is summarized in this work as best as would be humanly possible."

—Reza Mostafid, reviewing on (22 Apr 2012)

"The explanations therein are lucid, the sample programs truly illustrate the concepts…"

—Leslie Satenstein, reviewing on (2 Dec 2013)

"A masterpiece, full of essential information."

—Charles A, reviewing on (11 Aug 2013)

"… an outstanding book in the style of [the] beloved classic Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment… The treatment of each system call is very thorough, indicating deviations from the Single UNIX Specification and comparisons with various Unix flavors."

—John Wiersba, reviewing on (26 Nov 2010)

"By far, this is the most interesting book I've read about the Linux operating system. It contains fantastic coverage of a wide range of topics at varying levels of detail. The writing style is very appealing and the details are wonderfully selected and presented.

—Masood Mortazavi, reviewing on (30 Nov 2012)

"The coverage of the Linux system call interface is encyclopedic, but the writing style is very approachable… an excellent reference that will likely find its way onto the bookshelves of user-space developers and kernel hackers"

—Jake Edge, reviewing on (19 Jan 2010)

"I expect this beautiful work to significantly impact the future of the linux community."

—T. B. Gausen, reviewing on (3 Mar 2011)

"…a work of encyclopedic breadth and depth, spanning in great detail concepts usually spread in a multitude of medium-sized books… Kerrisk's work is priceless: any subject be it timers, UNIX signals, memory allocation or the most classical of topics (file I/O) gets its deserved 15-30 page treatment, and you can pick just what you need, in any order."

—Federico Lucifredi, reviewing on (8 Nov 2010)

"… an essential resource for the serious or professional Linux and UNIX systems programmer. Michael Kerrisk covers the use of all the key APIs across both the Linux and UNIX system interfaces with clear descriptions and tutorial examples and stresses the importance and benefits of following standards such as the Single UNIX Specification and POSIX 1003.1."

—Andrew Josey, Director, Standards, The Open Group, and Chair of The POSIX 1003.1 Working Group, in prepublication praise for the book (Full disclosure: Andrew was a technical reviewer for TLPI)

"It's a wonderful book… well written and never boring… the author has achieved the right balance in his descriptions and is able to explain clearly a huge variety of topics."

John Graham-Cummings, reviewing on (29 Oct 2010)

"[TLPI] will no doubt become the standard guide for Linux system programming."

—Pedro Pinto, reviewing on (15 Dec 2010)

"… [the author's] familiarity with the system shines through; fortunately, he also happens to be a good writer, and rather than just telling you what a particular system call does, he first explains why something is useful and when you might want to use it."

—William Springer, reviewing on his blog (5 Mar 2011)

"Michael Kerrisk's new book [is] a thing of beauty. A book you're proud to just have on the shelf, but too useful to stay there."

—Serge Hallyn, Linux kernel developer, blog post (17 Dec 2010) (Full disclosure: Serge was a technical reviewer for TLPI)

"After reading a few initial sample chapters… I can say with great relief that it appears that Erik and I do not need to prepare a third edition of Linux Application Development—we can name TLPI as LAD's successor."

Michael K. Johnson, one of the authors of Linux Application Development (a book I picked up early in my work with Linux and very much liked), after reading a few chapters of TLPI that were released before publication (1 Sep 2010).

Notwithstanding Michael's very kind words, there are some topics covered in LAD that are not covered in TLPI, so you may still want to check out the former book.

"the Rosetta Stone of Linux system programming"

—Fred Woolsey, reviewing on (23 Sep 2011)

"… it's obvious that this is a clear, well thought out, and well written book by someone who knows their subject matter inside and out."

David Walker, reviewing on (28 Nov 2010)

"This book is, hands down, the best [computer book] I have ever bought."

—Christopher R. Sherwood, reviewing on (9 Apr 2011)

"The book is one of the most well written I've ever read."

—Guilherme Maciel Ferreira, reviewing on his blog (23 July 2013)

"… one of the best programming books that I have ever encountered."

—David W., reviewing on (2 Dec 2010)

"… il ne fait pour moi aucun doute qu'il appartient d'emblée à la catégorie des grands classiques du genre."

—filofel, reviewing on (18 Nov 2010; French; translation)

"Derzeit das beste Buch zu diesem Themenbereich"

—Jens Thoms Toerring, reviewing on (22 Dec 2010; German; translation) (Full disclosure: Jens was a technical reviewer for TLPI)

"Für mich mit Sicherheit für die nächsten zehn Jahre das Referenz-Werk zum Thema Linux-spezifische System-Programmierung, völlig ohne auch nur ansatzweise gleichwertige Alternative."

—Philipp M. Frank, reviewing on (6 Jul 2011; German; translation)

"hat das Buch das Zeug zum Standardwerk"

Maik Schmidt reviewing in c't Magazin, Heft 19, 2011, p190 (no online version available, as far as I know).

"É sem dúvida a obra escrita mais completa sobre este tema, e tornar-se-á definitivamente num clássico dos livros técnicos de Informática.

Review on (4 Feb 2011; Portuguese; translation)

"Enfim, se hoje eu tivesse que escolher apenas um livre sobre programação Linux para levar em qualquer lugar, "The Linux Programming Interface" seria o livro."

—Sergio Prado, Reviewing on his blog (10 Jan 2011; Portuguese; translation)

A nice write-up at; in Arabic, so I don't feel confident to quote, but here's a translation (21 Nov 2010)

A nice write-up on fcamel's blog; in Chinese, so I won't try to quote, but here's a translation (6 May 2012)

"Michael Kerrisk has not only written a great book about Linux programming and how it relates to various standards, but has also taken care that bugs he noticed got fixed and the man pages were (greatly) improved. In all three ways, he has made Linux programming easier. The in-depth treatment of topics in The Linux Programming Interface… makes it a must-have reference for both new and experienced Linux programmers."

Andreas Jaeger, Program Manager, OpenSUSE, in prepublication praise for the book (Full disclosure: Andreas was a technical reviewer for TLPI)

"The Linux Programming Interface is a tour de force"

Peter Cooper, author of Beginning Ruby (and doer of many other things!) tweeted (19 Jun 2011)

Pointers to a few other reviews, as well as prepublication praise from a number of readers, can be found on the No Starch Press web page for the book.