[svlug] kernel meeting

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Wed Nov 7 16:21:37 PST 2007

Darlene Wallach writes:
> It was very generous of Warren to step in but
> we needed someone who knows the kernel to have
> provided some kind of overview. 

I agree with Darlene. For the next meeting, I hope we can get an
idea ahead of time of what area we'll be covering and who will be
doing it. That way we wouldn't have to waste so much meeting time
rehashing things that had already been discussed on the list, and
we'd all come out ahead.

> I'm still
> wondering why the person who raised his hand
> saying he knew the kernel wasn't asked if he'd
> be willing to give an overview.

There seemed to be several kernel experts in the audience.
Is there any chance a few of them might be willing to tell us a
little about the areas of the kernel they know, to get us started?

Larry Colen writes:
> As with so many open source projects, we cannot rely on people who
> already know how to do it, to do it, so we've got to do the best we
> can. I do agree that it would be helpful to have someone more clueful
> to at least get us started with the overview, but as long as we put
> effort in, we'll learn and eventually become those cluefull people
> ourselves.

But is that a workable way of learning the kernel?
There's so much code in the kernel that I wonder whether a few
hours per week of clicking on random LXR links trying to figure
out what does what is really going to tell us much.

Learning is a lot easier when there's some sort of structure for
what's going to be covered in what order -- and especially when there's
someone around who can answer questions when things aren't clear.

Alternately, with open source you can learn a lot about specific areas
by digging into the code and trying to make a change or a fix ...
but that's not something most of us could do in an hour, in unfamiliar
code with a roomful of people watching and video cameras trained on us.
And while it might be relatively easy to learn about a specific driver
that way, gleaning higher-level structure is a lot harder.

Maybe there's a happy medium. But I understand now why Darlene wanted
to see a syllabus, and I hope that there will be some plan for what
the next meeting will try to cover and who will be leading it.


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