[svlug] Code walkthrough notes

Paul Reiber reiber at gmail.com
Fri Nov 9 18:14:09 PST 2007

Julie wrote:
> 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.

Hiya, Julie!  First, thanks so much for your involvement with this,
and your feedback.
It's a team effort all-around, and I appreciate the constructive criticism.

I'm really sorry if any of what I'm doing seems condescending - thats
definitely not my
intent.  We have a mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced
experience in the group,
and therefore we can't please everyone at once.   My intuition on this
is that diving in too
quickly would quickly overwhelm the beginners and probably some of the
folks as well.  I'm not looking to lose them; I'd rather bring them up
to speed first, and
once we're _all_ more familiar with the kernel, the real fun can start.

Please note that I had some side-goals as well for that first meeting including:
- physically have the meeting - don't talk about having one
- check out the venue and ensure it'll meet our needs going forward
- see what kind of turnout we got (~2 dozen RSVP's, over 50 attendees!)
- figure out which aspects of the kernel people were most interested in
- see who ponied up what in terms of leadership and involvement

We managed to do all of that, and still dive into the kernel source a
little.  So I'm pretty pleased with how things turned out, even with
all the confusion of way more attendees than RSVP's, our moving rooms,
having zero setup time, and on top of that, that my computer conked
out on me.

Remember - we have every Tuesday from now until forever for these
meetings - so we
really don't have to leave anyone behind; we really _can_ afford to
start off with overviews,
and we really _can_ afford to start slow, assess people's needs, and
work from there.

> [...] 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.

Yes I expect we'll adopt a structure similar to that going forward.

> The advantage of that sort of schedule being that it takes pressure
> off as far as needing a very knowledgeable speaker for every meeting
> and also encourages more audience involvement.

I agree - those are important goals for us and a 2-or-3-week-per-subject-area
approach will help along those lines.

> Having kernel rock stars speak to us would be absolutely terrific, but
> I don't think there's any reason that we should have to wait for that
> before diving into the kernel internals. We have a lot of talent
> within our group already, and there are a lot of other people we could
> recruit who aren't rock stars, but still have a lot they could
> contribute.

Definitely!  In fact, that's what I've been trying to get at - as a
group, we'll dive
into the kernel, learn what we can, and we'll have deeper and more relevant
questions for the experts once we're ready for them to join us.

> Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help make these
> meetings a success.

I welcome your involvement as a session leader - if there's a
particular facet of the
kernel that you'd like to focus on (and lead us through) by all means
let me know.
The "first come first serve" approach has worked pretty well for this so far.

Best regards,

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