[volunteers] Kernel Walkthrough Update
mark at weisler-saratoga-ca.us
Thu Jun 5 12:19:37 PDT 2008
On Thursday 05 June 2008 01:33:46 Andrew Fife wrote:
> Last night at Dennys John Delany gave an update on the Kernel Walkthroughs.
> It was flushed out that we need to decide what the goals of the
> walkthroughs should be.
> Are we creating a professional (or near professional) level training course
> to help create kernel developers? Are we offering a high level
> introduction to the kernel for enthusiasts or newbies? Or should we be
> aiming somewhere in between?
> In thinking about the above question of goals, two more questions flushed
> 1)Who is the SVLUG audience?
> 2)Should the technical level of content be designed to accommodate the
> existing audience or to attract a new demographic?
> My guesstimate is that the SVLUG audience is approximately:
> 60% sysadmin
> 20% developer
> 10% home user / hobbiest
> 10% other (recruiter, marketing, journalist, sales, etc.)
> IMHO, the kernel walkthroughs should _start_ at a level that is
> approachable to most of SVLUG's audience, which would be sysadmin based on
> the assumptions above.
> It would be great to get a discussion going around these questions. What
> would you like to see come out of the kernel walkthroughs?
> volunteers mailing list
> volunteers at lists.svlug.org
I have a few thoughts that I aired last fall and will repeat here...
First of all, I do think a lot of good came out of the first kernel
walk-throughs and is evidenced by the continued interest in the topic.
Concerning purpose and audience I think that the work of carefully defining
the purpose and audience will pay off with a program that hits its mark.
There are many different purposes, audiences, objectives and formats
that can be employed. For example, are the walk-throughs a series of fireside
chats with different people talking about what they know? Or is it more
formal with a curriculum that would take several months to work through and
with outside preparation (not to call it homework) expected? Both of these,
and many other possible programs, could have value. But whatever it is, it
should be articulated to properly set expectations.
We might rephrase the issue as, How can we learn about the Linux operating
system, broadly defined, and set a course of study and understanding that
might be stepped or graduated in thoroughness (and difficulty)? I believe
that, for example, most all enthusiasts would like to know a good bit about
the theory of operation of the Linux operating system so they can understand
what to expect of their systems and interaction with Linux. But they may not
want to delve into the intricacies of strace, for example. A good
foundational curriculum would be useful to everyone and then there could be
more sophisticated follow-on work or walk-throughs.
We might also ask, Who else has done this or attempted this?
In partial answer to this, the IEEE and ACM have, for decades, had and evolved
computer science learning as shown here:
This is academic material and we have to ask ourselves how academic we want to
be in putting together this walk-through. That's not clear yet. At the same
time though, the study of the kernel of an operating system is not for the
faint of heart.
We might also ask, To what extent are the walk-throughs edutainment? I'm
reminded of the Discovery Channel on TV, or the History Channel that can
bring to life some subjects that might not otherwise get much attention. If a
curriculum has some amount of edutainment but "hooks" to more formal and
rigorous learning, that might be very useful.
Last, if a suitable program of study does not exist I believe there are many
organizations that would contribute to putting one together. Universities and
colleges would be interested, and non-profits like the Annenberg Foundation
(http://www.whannenberg.org/). With the use of computers growing all over the
world, and more people using them, understanding the heart of their operation
will be of continued and substantial interest. And, just as the IEEE
curriculum has been translated to other languages and adjusted for different
cultures, the "kernel walk-through" material could become widely used.
Very last thought, we might collaborate with other LUGs on this, certainly Bay
Area LUGs if not worldwide.
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