Intro to Kernel Hacking - finding things to work on.

Presented by Tobin Harding
Monday 3 p.m.–3:20 p.m. in Great Hall CB01.05.009
Target audience: Developer


Finding something to work on is a problem faced by all kernel newbies. The internet abounds with information on creating your first patch, someone (*cough* me) even blogs, and presents, on doing your first patch set. But one patch does not a kernel developer make, nor one patch set. This talk is aimed at developers wishing to get started working on the kernel but unable to find things to work on. You will hopefully walk away with increased enthusiasm and confidence that you can find something interesting and tractable to work on within the kernel. We will discuss the idea that barriers to kernel development are primarily social not technical. You can expect some suggestions on how to manoeuvre within the kernel development process and some tips for maximizing your chances of success. Their will be a brief discussion on motivation - nothing hard can be achieved without the motivation to do so. You can hope to learn how to find, and interact with, other more experienced kernel developers and how that can assist you in finding the solution that works for you. You can _however_ also hope to gain some concrete technical suggestions for getting started with kernel development and finding things to work on. Tobin is a hobbyist kernel developer. Whilst achieving a very small amount of success he has experienced many obstacles that can be lumped together under the problem of 'finding something to work on'. It is his hope that you can gain from this and find yourself happily hacking away on interesting kernel problems.

Presented by

Tobin Harding

Tobin is a self declared apprentice Linux programmer. After completing undergraduate and post graduate degrees in computer science, both in software development, it became clear to him that he still did not know how to code. One day he decided to open K&R and start from scratch. Two years later, 40+ tech books, 7 languages, 40 000+ lines of code, 100+ kernel patches, he still considers himself an apprentice. He currently spends his time hacking on the Linux kernel, ZFS, and Kubernetes. Tobin lives on the Central Coast of NSW, when he is not coding you can find him rock climbing, playing Jiu-Jitsu, or playing Lego with his three children.