[svlug] Code walkthrough notes

Darlene Wallach freepalestin at dslextreme.com
Fri Nov 9 17:38:03 PST 2007

Akkana Peck wrote:
>> On Nov 9, 2007 12:13 PM, Paul Reiber wrote:
>>> Within a few months, the group will be prepared and knowledgeable
>>> enough to be guided
>>> by 'domain experts' both from within our own ranks and from the
>>> outside world.
> Julie Hill writes:
>> I know you mean well and I appreciate all that you're doing, but I
>> find this disappointing and condescending. I can't speak for others,
>> but I was ready on Tuesday to seriously look at the kernel internals.
> Yes! Julie, you hit the nail on the head.
> The discussion before the meeting was all about understanding
> kernel code, and working on study projects in between so that we
> could really understand the issues and delve into details.
>> Would it be possible to pick a topic and put out a call to the members
>> for people who can speak on that on Tuesday? It doesn't have to be
>> perfect. A team of people could speak initially to take the pressure
>> off any one individual.
>> One idea that someone mentioned to me was that we could have one
>> meeting where a specific kernel topic was presented and homework
>> assigned. Then the next few meetings after that would be follow ups to
>> cover additional details, time for discussions, question and answer
>> sessions, help with homework, etc.
> I'd love to see a series like that. Speakers when we can get them;
> then for meetings where we don't have a speaker lined up, what about
> a "study group" meeting?  Assign a specific topic ahead of time --
> we can discuss on the mailing list details like what code is most
> relevant and where to start.  
> Then at the meeting, maybe we could sit in a group and discuss what
> we found. "I didn't understand the part around line 597 where it
> doesn't start init if kx is zero.  Did anybody figure out what it's
> doing there?" "Sure, it's doing [explanation of kx] but what I
> wasn't clear on was how this routine gets called in the first
> place -- can anybody give an overview?" Not a presentation but
> a series of discussions and mini-presentations.
> I don't know if anybody else is interested in the idea, but
> if people are, we'd need a topic. I've seen lots of lists of
> topics, but we need to pick just one.
> So here's an idea.  Lots of people seem interested in the boot
> process (me too).  In, I see a directory at the top level
> called init.  It's pretty small: it contains a main.c, a bunch of
> files with names starting with do_mounts, a couple of files dealing
> with initramfs, calibrate.c and version.c -- 9 C files in all
> (and two of them are tiny, around 50 lines).
> That might be a nice bite sized piece to get us started.  Most of
> us probably know a little bit about filesystem mounting and initrds
> already, but I bet there's lots to learn from looking through this
> code to see what the kernel actually does. If it turns out to be
> TOO easy and you get bored, go investigate grub and how the MBR
> works, or techniques for making initrd images, and share that
> with the group on Tuesday.
> So how about it?  Anybody interested in studying the init/ directory
> this week, then getting together in person to discuss what we learned
> and ask about what we don't understand?
> And are there any kernel experts in the group who already know
> a little about the boot/init process and would be willing to be
> there to guide us if we go astray?
> 	...Akkana


Great ideas and suggestions Akkana. I'm interested
in studying the init/ directory and discussing it
on Tue, 13th November.

This sounds great. We'll actually get some work
done! Thank you for taking responsibility and
proposing what to do.

If noone in the group knows enough to guide us if
we go astray, does anyone know someone who can
come on Tuesday, 13th November?

Darlene Wallach

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