[This is an alpha release of a chapter written by Alessandro Rubini, firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm including it here as it gets worked on for comments.]
This chapter tries to explain the source code in an orderly manner, trying to help the reader to achieve a good understanding of how the source code is laid out and how the most relevant unix features are implemented. The target is to help the experienced C programmer who is not accustomed to in getting familiar with the overall design. That's why the chosen entry point for the kernel tour is the kernel own entry point: system boot.
A good understanding of C language is required to understand this material, as well as some familiarity with both concepts and the PC architecture. However, no C code will appear in this chapter, but rather pointers to the actual code. The finest issues of kernel design are explained in other chapters of this guide, while this chapter tends to remain an informal overview.
Any pathname for files referenced in this chapter is referred to the main source-tree directory, usually /usr/src/linux.