Linux Kernel Internals and Development (LFD420)

Learn how to develop for the Linux kernel. In this course you’ll learn how Linux is architected, the basic methods for developing on the kernel, and how to efficiently work with the Linux developer community. If you are interested in learning about the Linux kernel, this is absolutely the definitive course on the subject.

Course Overview

This course is designed to provides experienced programmers with a solid understanding of the Linux kernel. In addition to a detailed look at the theory and philosophy behind the Linux kernel, you’ll also participate in extensive hands-on exercises and demonstrations designed to give you the necessary tools to develop and debug Linux kernel code.

Show More

In this course you’ll learn:

  • How Linux is architected
  • How kernel algorithms work
  • Hardware and memory management
  • Modularization techniques and debugging
  • How the kernel developer community operates and how to efficiently work with it.
  • And much more.

The information in this course will work with any major Linux distribution.


8/24/2020 - 8/27/2020
9:00am - 5:00pm US/Central
GuaranteedThis course has reached its minimum class size and is guaranteed to run on the scheduled date.
$3250 Add to cart Get A Quote >
7/27/2020 - 7/30/2020
9:00am - 5:00pm US/Central
GuaranteedWith Next EnrollmentThis class will be guaranteed to run with next enrollment.
$3250 Add to cart Get A Quote >
If none of these fits your schedule, check out our Partner offerings >

Course Outline

  1. Introduction
    • Objectives
    • Who You Are
    • The Linux Foundation
    • Linux Foundation Training
    • Certification Programs and Digital Badging
    • Linux Distributions
    • Platforms
    • Preparing Your System
    • Using and Downloading a Virtual Machine
    • Things change in Linux
    • Documentation and Links
    • Course Registration
  2. Preliminaries
    • Procedures
    • Kernel Versions
    • Kernel Sources and Use of git
  3. How to Work in OSS Projects **
    • Overview on How to Contribute Properly
    • Stay Close to Mainline for Security and Quality
    • Study and Understand the Project DNA
    • Figure Out What Itch You Want to Scratch
    • Identify Maintainers and Their Work Flows and Methods
    • Get Early Input and Work in the Open
    • Contribute Incremental Bits, Not Large Code Dumps
    • Leave Your Ego at the Door: Don’t Be Thin-Skinned
    • Be Patient, Develop Long Term Relationships, Be Helpful
  4. Kernel Architecture I
    • UNIX and Linux **
    • Monolithic and Micro Kernels
    • Object-Oriented Methods
    • Main Kernel Tasks
    • User-Space and Kernel-Space
    • Kernel Mode Linux **
  5. Kernel Programming Preview
    • Error Numbers and Getting Kernel Output
    • Task Structure
    • Memory Allocation
    • Transferring Data between User and Kernel Spaces
    • Linked Lists
    • String to Number Conversions
    • Jiffies
    • Labs
  6. Modules
    • What are Modules?
    • A Trivial Example
    • Compiling Modules
    • Modules vs Built-in
    • Module Utilities
    • Automatic Loading/Unloading of Modules
    • Module Usage Count
    • The module struct
    • Module Licensing
    • Exporting Symbols
    • Resolving Symbols **
    • Labs
  7. Kernel Architecture II
    • Processes, Threads, and Tasks
    • Process Context
    • Kernel Preemption
    • Real Time Preemption Patch
    • Dynamic Kernel Patching
    • Run-time Alternatives **
    • Porting to a New Platform **
    • Labs
  8. Kernel Initialization
    • Overview of System Initialization
    • System Boot
    • Das U-Boot for Embedded Systems**
  9. Kernel Configuration and Compilation
    • Installation and Layout of the Kernel Source
    • Kernel Browsers
    • Kernel Configuration Files
    • Kernel Building and Makefiles
    • initrd and initramfs
    • Labs
  10. System Calls
    • What are System Calls?
    • Available System Calls
    • How System Calls are Implemented
    • Adding a New System Call
    • Labs
  11. Kernel Style and General Considerations
    • Coding Style
    • kernel-doc **
    • Using Generic Kernel Routines and Methods
    • Making a Kernel Patch
    • sparse
    • Using likely() and unlikely()
    • Writing Portable Code, CPU, 32/64-bit, Endianness
    • Writing for SMP
    • Writing for High Memory Systems
    • Power Management
    • Keeping Security in Mind
    • Mixing User- and Kernel-Space Headers **
    • Labs
  12. Race Conditions and Synchronization Methods
    • Concurrency and Synchronization Methods
    • Atomic Operations
    • Bit Operations
    • Spinlocks
    • Seqlocks
    • Disabling Preemption
    • Mutexes
    • Semaphores
    • Completion Functions
    • Read-Copy-Update (RCU)
    • Reference Counts
    • Labs
  13. SMP and Threads
    • SMP Kernels and Modules
    • Processor Affinity
    • SMP Algorithms – Scheduling, Locking, etc.
    • Per-CPU Variables **
    • Labs
  14. Processes
    • What are Processes?
    • The task_struct
    • Creating User Processes and Threads
    • Creating Kernel Threads
    • Destroying Processes and Threads
    • Executing User-Space Processes From Within the Kernel
    • Labs
  15. Process Limits and Capabilities **
    • Process Limits
    • Capabilities
    • Labs
  16. Monitoring and Debugging
    • Debuginfo Packages
    • Tracing and Profiling
    • sysctl
    • SysRq Key
    • oops Messages
    • Kernel Debuggers
    • debugfs
    • Labs
  17. Scheduling
    • Main Scheduling Tasks
    • SMP
    • Scheduling Priorities
    • Scheduling System Calls
    • The 2.4 schedule() Function
    • O(1) Scheduler
    • Time Slices and Priorities
    • Load Balancing
    • Priority Inversion and Priority Inheritance **
    • The CFS Scheduler
    • Calculating Priorities and Fair Times
    • Scheduling Classes
    • CFS Scheduler Details
    • Labs
  18. Memory Addressing
    • Virtual Memory Management
    • Systems With and Without MMU and the TLB
    • Memory Addresses
    • High and Low Memory
    • Memory Zones
    • Special Device Nodes
    • NUMA
    • Paging
    • Page Tables
    • page structure
    • Kernel Samepage Merging (KSM) **
    • Labs
  19. Huge Pages
    • Huge Page Support
    • libhugetlbfs
    • Transparent Huge Pages
    • Labs
  20. Memory Allocation
    • Requesting and Releasing Pages
    • Buddy System
    • Slabs and Cache Allocations
    • Memory Pools
    • kmalloc()
    • vmalloc()
    • Early Allocations and bootmem()
    • Memory Defragmentation
    • Labs
  21. Process Address Space
    • Allocating User Memory and Address Spaces
    • Locking Pages
    • Memory Descriptors and Regions
    • Access Rights
    • Allocating and Freeing Memory Regions
    • Page Faults
    • Labs
  22. Disk Caches and Swapping
    • Caches
    • Page Cache Basics
    • What is Swapping?
    • Swap Areas
    • Swapping Pages In and Out
    • Controlling Swappiness
    • The Swap Cache
    • Reverse Mapping **
    • OOM Killer
    • Labs
  23. Device Drivers**
    • Types of Devices
    • Device Nodes
    • Character Drivers
    • An Example
    • Labs
  24. Signals
    • What are Signals?
    • Available Signals
    • System Calls for Signals
    • Sigaction
    • Signals and Threads
    • How the Kernel Installs Signal Handlers
    • How the Kernel Sends Signals
    • How the Kernel Invokes Signal Handlers
    • Real Time Signals
    • Labs
  25. Closing and Evaluation Survey
    • Evaluation Survey


Students should be proficient in the C programming language, basic Linux (UNIX) utilities such as ls, grep and tar, and be comfortable with any of the available text editors (e.g. emacs, vi, etc.) Experience with any major Linux distribution is helpful but not strictly required.


I would definitely recommend this course to others. I came away with much better knowledge than when I started.”  Jun 2020


The labs are well thought out and really enforce the learning. Our instructor was fantastic.”  Jun 2020


The instructor was always willing to answer any questions. The drawings on the whiteboard helped me to understand some of the topics better.”  Jun 2020


Whiteboard drawings were helpful. The instructor managed to keep the class moving along whilst taking time to answer questions, and we managed to stay on schedule.”  Jun 2020


The white board discussions were very helpful in grasping key concepts. The instructor patiently answered all the follow up questions with detailed answers.”  Jun 2020


I liked how incredibly knowledgeable John is. The course manual is really awesome, and I really like examining the lab solutions.”  Jun 2020


Liked the material, and the instructor shared good knowledge about the Linux Kernel development.”  May 2020


Live demos, and the amount of material covered whilst still going into detail.”  May 2020


This course is really up to date.”  May 2020


The whiteboard sessions were really great!  The lab exercises were good too.”  Apr 2020


Answered all doubts and queries with patience.”  Apr 2020


I really appreciate the pace of the course and the ample amount of time provided to work in the labs.”  Apr 2020


The course material is well designed and organized.”  Apr 2020


Most drawings were very helpful.”  Mar 2020


John delivered the material very well and it definitely shows that he’s an expert.”  Mar 2020


John’s diagrams and explanations were excellent.”  Mar 2020




At a Glance

Delivery Method

Live Online (Virtual)

Delivery Method

Live (Classroom)


  • 4 days of Instructor-led class time
  • Hands-on Labs & Assignments
  • Resources & Course Manual
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Digital Badge
  • Free Chromebook

Experience Level


Course Rating



Training 5 or more individuals?
Get a Corporate Quote >


Get training and a free Chromebook.

When you train with The Linux Foundation you’re already getting the best open source training straight from the source. And now, we are including a free Chromebook with the purchase of select Linux Foundation instructor-led training courses to help you get the most out of your training experience.

Learn More