[svlug] some peoples thoughts on Linux kernel code walk-thru

Paul Reiber reiber at gmail.com
Mon Nov 12 13:27:00 PST 2007

> Three of us who were hugely disappointed with the first meeting of the Linux kernel code
> walk-through have been conversing via email.

Not surprising.  Your impatience is exasperating to me; rather than
take a wait-and-see
stance, or  coordinating with me regarding helping make things better,
you've decided
that public, on-list criticism is the best plan.  I'm no fan of that;
penning (and cleaning up!)
on-list responses takes time and energy that I just don't have.

(by the way; Darlene, regarding contacting people "for SVLUG"...
please let the officers and/or
people they designate handle that, OK? We really don't need extra
self-appointed representatives.
For example, you're asking for speakers for this Tuesday - when I
already have someone lined up
for that evening!)

> I'm sending on our thoughts, concerns, suggestions to the list in the attempt to see if others share
> our view and want to do something about it - have the Linux kernel code walk-through actually be a
> code walk-through - delve into the code.

One meeting does not a trend make.

> Are there people still interested in an actual code walk-through of the Linux kernel?

Of course there are!!!    And... They'll all be showing up on Tuesdays
for just that purpose !!!

> [...] Does anyone have other suggestions?

Patience?  Flexibility?  Maybe asking me how I'm planning to address
the various
issues that have come up?  (YES - I have been incorporating people's feedback -
not only yours!!!)

I'm tempted to iterate through some actual ideas/changes-we'll-make
for the walkthrus
but I don't want to mix that positive energy into this thread; I'll be
sending out an update
on the walkthroughs under separate cover.

> Are any of the people who know the kernel still interested? Would any of you be willing to lead
> Tuesday's session - either the lot of us or the few of us?

Boy, you really decided the dog died last week, huh?  Bury it and buy
a new puppy, huh?

> Julie might have sent this on to Paul: [...]

I hope you know Julie well enough to be sure she's OK with you putting
words in her mouth.

> [... big snip...] the point is that by trying to serve two very
> distinct groups at the same time, you're not actually serving either
> group very well and the knowledgeable and experienced kernel hackers
> that we need could become bored and discouraged and drop off if
> they're not given a motivation to stick around. The altruistic notion
> that the experienced ones are the teachers is nice but may not be
> enough motivation to keep the group together.
> Have you considered if it's possible to engage both groups simultaneously?

You've broken things down into some black/white categories that just
don't hold water.
First, there aren't "two groups" - there's one - all of the attendees.
 Second, YES - It IS
possible to accomodate all of the attendees, and the fact that they're
at varying experience

Jeesh.. How about asking "So, Paul, how do you plan to address problem
X?" instead of fretting
about and thinking "Paul's not handling X; he must not agree X is a
problem; how can we convince
Paul to do X?" That's common courtesy in my world... and since I'm
doing this all for SVLUG totally
for free, I think a little courtesy (or even more than a little!) is
reasonable to ask.

Again I'm really tempted to write out some of the solutions to things
that I have in mind (and
have already discussed with some SVLUG volunteers, by the way!)... but
I'm just not going
to do that in this context.

> About your letter: I like pointing out the two groups of people.
> I don't think this would have any effect on Paul. I'd like to think
> posting it might cause other people to think, but it looks like SVLUG
> people just aren't interested in discussing this.

Wow that's a bummer of a misconception, both about me and about SVLUG.
 Rest assured, an
approach for accomodating "both" groups (arrgh!) of attendees is in the works.

> What Paul is doing is none of these three. [snip]

Ah... YES!  Now we've gotten to the crux of the matter.  I'm not
trying to position SVLUG to compete
with local universities and colleges.  This is NOT a training course -
say goodbye to the Socratic
method.  It's a walk-through.  More specifically, it's a
"you-walk-through" and not even a
"walk-you-through"...there I go, delving into details when I said I
wouldn't do that in this thread.

Oh, well.

> I guess I'll go ahead and read init/ and some of those links that
> Alvin and Srihari posted (some of them look pretty useful) and
> think about whether it's worth going on Tuesday, just in case it
> turns out that anyone wants to discuss it.
>         ...Akkana

I believe this Tuesday's guest speaker will be working through init...
so that probably makes some
sense.  But, again, some patience regarding letting this thing become
what-it-will-be-soon would really
be appreciated.

> Why are all of the other members so silent? That's really puzzling me.

My take:
- most people are pleased with things (example: a recent ego-boost
email said: "best SVLUG prez. ever!")
- most people with concerns (not that there are many; only a few,
actually) have emailed me off-list.

I'm not surprised that the very first of our new kernel-walkthru
sessions wasn't what some people
were expecting.  But I am surprised that people haven't been more
patient about fixing it.

-Paul  http://Reiber.org
President, http://SVLUG.org

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