It covers a wide array of topics dealing with the Linux operating system and operating systems in general, as well as providing a brief history of Unix and how it led to the creation of Linux. It provides many samples of code written in the C programming language, and provides learning exercises at the end of many chapters. Kerrisk is a former writer for the Linux Weekly News and the current maintainer for the Linuxman pages project,
"The Linux Programming Interface" is widely regarded as the definitive work on Linux system programming and has been translated into several languages. Jake Edge, writer for LWN.net, in his review of the book, said "I found it to be extremely useful and expect to return to it frequently. Anyone who has an interest in programming for Linux will likely feel the same way." Federico Lucifredi, the product manager for the SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE distributions, also praised the book saying that "The Linux Programming Encyclopedia would have been a perfectly adequate title for it in my opinion" and called the book "…a work of encyclopedic breadth and depth, spanning in great detail concepts usually spread in a multitude of medium-sized books…"Lennart Poettering, the software engineer best known for PulseAudio and systemd, advises people to "get yourself a copy of The Linux Programming Interface, ignore everything it says about POSIX compatibility and hack away your amazing Linux software".
In-kernel APIs are not discussed in the book, neither are ABIs.
At FOSDEM 2016 Michael Kerrisk, the author of The Linux Programming Interface, explained some of the issues with the Linux kernel's user-space API he and others perceive. is littered with design errors: APIs that are non-extensibe, unmaintainable, overly complex, limited-purpose, violations of standards, and inconsistent. Most of those mistakes can't be fixed because doing so would break the ABI that the kernel presents to user-space binaries.