Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Best Advanced Linux Kernel Training?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the those-who-teach dept.

Education 153

hdxia writes "Can anybody recommend a good Linux kernel training course? I have had some Linux kernel hacking experience, but would like to further harden and improve my understanding of the kernel. I expect the course would be advanced. You may say that the best method would be to dig into the kernel myself, but I really want to have a chance to discuss and learn all aspects of the kernel with an experienced instructor."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

obligatory? (2, Funny)

feld (980784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738817)

RTFM

there, now everybody should feel at home

seriously though, it would be cool if this was offered at major universities. but you'd need knowledgable instructors and they'd be hard to come by.

Re:obligatory? (4, Insightful)

cide1 (126814) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738941)

Kernel hacking is taught at major universities, but under the title "Operating Systems". These classes teach scheduling, device drivers, file systems, memory management, networking, etc. The goal of a university is to give you the background knowledge necessary to understand specific implementations. The specifics of the linux kernel change rapidly, but the concepts are 40 years old. No instructional course has a chance of keeping up, the kernel documentation cant even keep up. It takes a problem solver, and an inquizitive mind to be able to apply the background knowledge to specific instances.

Re:obligatory? (2, Funny)

jc42 (318812) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739077)

the computer doesn't want any beer, no matter how much you think it does. NEVER, EVER feed your computer beer.

OTOH, when it asks for a cookie, you often find that you have to go along with the request, or the thing you tried to do just won't work quite right.

Re:obligatory? (2, Insightful)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739399)

But if you give your computer a cookie, it's going to ask for a glass of milk...

Re:obligatory? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739647)

And then it'll want a straw, and who knows what will happen after that.

Re:obligatory? (3, Funny)

yada21 (1042762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19741179)

Back when it was all diallup, the interweb was a series of straws.

Re:obligatory? (2, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740457)

But if you give your computer a cookie, it's going to ask for a glass of milk...
And that explains why some people look at breasts all day on their computers?
 

Re:obligatory? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19741465)

> And that explains why some people look at breasts all day on their computers?

breasts are great and all, but after viewing say, 1000 in a single sitting, the novelty wears off!

Re:obligatory? (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739203)

I like to say theory>implementation. It's why I have more respect for Linux S/A's more than Windows S/A's - Linux exposes you and sometimes forces you to understand "theory" but the Windows Wizards only give you implementation.

Re:obligatory? (1)

thedarknite (1031380) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739437)

It depends on the scope of the systems your using. I've found that some types of Win servers still require a fair amount of theoretical knowledge.

There is also the fact that some of the implemented functions, (besides from operating in a bizarro fashion) are not accessible through the gui.

Re:obligatory? (5, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739457)

Kernel hacking is taught at major universities, but under the title "Operating Systems".

We did no kernel programming in either the undergrad or graduate OS class at my undergraduate institution (I took both). It was all fairly low-level C systems programming. The undergrad OS class at my graduate institution (a top ten CS school) is the same way -- in fact, the OS class there is sometimes taught in Java. We did no kernel programming in any class I've taken so far, except for the graduate OS class at my graduate institution, and that was only because that was the project I happened to pick.

You learn OS theory, sure, and you almost need an understanding of a lot of that to know all of what's going on around the Linux kernel, but you're not going to learn about the Linux kernel in an OS class.

Re:obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19740263)

Georgia Tech's first undergraduate-level OS specialization class (CS 3210) focuses on the Linux kernel. The programming projects are focused on modifying the kernel and include implementing a filesystem and replacing the Linux scheduler. The course has been around and using Linux since at least 1999 (and possibly longer). Sure, you're not going to learn everything about the Linux kernel, but you get a good overview of the key subsystems and major functionality (in the context of topics for a undergraduate OS class).

Re:obligatory? (4, Interesting)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740329)

We did no kernel programming in either the undergrad or graduate OS class at my undergraduate institution (I took both). It was all fairly low-level C systems programming. The undergrad OS class at my graduate institution (a top ten CS school) is the same way -- in fact, the OS class there is sometimes taught in Java.

I'm currently the 3rd year Undergraduate Operating Systems instructor at a big University, and while I'd love to have my students do their work with a real kernel (and preferably an Open Source kernel, like Linux, BSD, or Xnu), it just isn't feasible. First off, the student's C is somewhat weak -- by the time they get to me, they've spent most of their time working in Java. Giving them 2 - 3 week long assignments hacking the Linux kernel would absolutely brutalize them. In my case, I have have a lab issue -- the department hasn't assigned a lab to the course, so I don't have a common system they can do their work on. And even if I did, the IT department probably wouldn't be too fond of them having the ability to recompile and load their own kernels (although this could be mitigated by having them run entirely within a VM -- if we had an assigned lab for the course). And finally, the burden on the grad student marker to be able to mark such assignments would be rough.

The only way I can think to make such a course work (at least where I'm teaching) would be to ask the students to study and explain how various OS subsystems work. I'm all for doing such a thing, but my department wants the students to do programming assignments (note that I'm just a lowly Instructor -- I'm not a tenured Professor).

In the end, however, I don't think that it's realistic for me to expect my students to be able to write an OS once they get out, as few (if any) ever will. My stated goals for them are to have them be able to understand how OS's work, so that they can a) write code that interfaces correctly with the system (API/system calls, IPC, memory management, etc.), and b) be able to compare and contrast different aspects of different OS's, and recommend the best OS for a given task.

Now ideally, my course would then segue to a more advanced kernel-hacking course for those who are sufficiently motivated to take it. However, I doubt many Universities have a suitable practical kernel hacking Instructor/Professor on staff. I'd love to be able to teach such a course, but my practical Linux kernel experience doesn't really extend beyond make clean;make menuconfig;make dep;make;make modules;make install.

Such a course would be cool -- I just imagine many Universities lack the expertise in house to offer such a course.

Yaz.

Re:obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19740649)

while I'd love to have my students do their work with a real kernel (and preferably an Open Source kernel, like Linux, BSD, or Xnu), it just isn't feasible.

Surely by year three you could throw Minix or OSKit or Xinu at them and expect them to pick it up? Or am I being too naive?

First off, the student's C is somewhat weak -- by the time they get to me, they've spent most of their time working in Java.

Oh I see, the later.

I fear for the future of humanity if all Universities are doing is churning out mediocre Java developers and then cutting out essential parts of the course because it doesn't fit the Javarific world they've chosen for themselves. Tannenbaum would be spinning on his bicycle.

Re:obligatory? (2, Interesting)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 7 years ago | (#19741241)

I fear for the future of humanity if all Universities are doing is churning out mediocre Java developers and then cutting out essential parts of the course because it doesn't fit the Javarific world they've chosen for themselves. Tannenbaum would be spinning on his bicycle.

I don't disagree at all. By the time they get to me, they will have had a little bit of C experience, but it's just a perhaps month-long module in a course on general Unix development (which also includes Unix commands, Perl, and CVS). I am having the tutorial leader teach them various C stuff in their weekly tutorial sessions, which is a start I suppose.

And while we're complaining, I'll also note that I'm introducing a paper to the course this term, as I've found with some previous experience at this University that the report writing abilities of the undergrad students here are pretty weak. I can't exactly blame the students however, as by-and-large most of their courses in Computer Science are strictly programming courses.

I imagine we can find problems with the curriculum at pretty much any University, but the one I'm at needs to do more advanced low-level programming and more report writing at the lower year levels IMHO.

Yaz.

Re:obligatory? (3, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740127)

Kernel hacking is taught at major universities

Yes, I understand there's a professor Tannenbaum at the Vrije University in the Netherlands who will discuss the Linux kernel in depth, if you ask him.

Re:obligatory? (1)

kendirangu (529038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740933)

The best book is Andrew Tannebaum's Operating Systems: Design and Implementation which details how to build an operatig system called minix. Plus it comes complete with the source code.

Re:obligatory? (1)

jbhuffman (808776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738949)

Actually, depending on the school, there may be a course. I had a systems programming course where the prof chose the linux kernel as the subject. It could've been a little more advanced but there were a number of students that didn't care about linux or programming for that matter (it was a requirement for the degree).

Re:obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19738961)

Having an understanding of kernel internals is an important part of a CompSci degree however this is precisely the reason Minix, Xinu, etc. were created as the Linux kernel or any other "real world" kernel has a lot of optimisation cruft and special case code that would get in the way of a students' understanding of what is going on for all but the very best students.

Re:obligatory? (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739075)

OS design is covered at universities and the Linux kernel is often specifically examined. But they also show how other systems do things (and how they did it in the past). From what I gathered from my OS class, modern kernels are not really THAT different. I mean, they all have to do the same basic things. Once you learn the basics you should be able to just dive into the LInux kernel code and see how it works in detail.

Re:obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19740383)

Try installing Gentoo... thats the best Kernel training tool I've ever used.

An excellent course taught in Italy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19740615)

Is http://bravo.ce.uniroma2.it/kernelhacking2006/ [uniroma2.it] , organized by Bovet and Cesati (authors of "Understanding the linux Kernel", with a pretty impressive schedule (last lesson about memory management is done by Andrea Arcangeli). Not for the faint of heart.

yes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19738819)

an Operating Systems course in a computer science programme at a university, maybe?

and first post.

I guess not? (0, Offtopic)

aldousd666 (640240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738833)

Since I'm at or near FP, I guess not.

Harden ones understanding? (1, Funny)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738855)

How exactly would one 'harden' ones understanding? Sounds wacky.. or tacky ..

--
Wi-Fizzle Fo' Shizzle Dizzle [wi-fizzle.com]

Re:Harden ones understanding? (4, Funny)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738895)

Sounds wacky.. or tacky ..
As opposed to your sig?

Re:Harden ones understanding? (-1, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739081)

look at pictures of naked girls? No, that's how to harden one's penis.

Re:Harden ones understanding? (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739089)

Uh, what? You've never heard someone say that somebody has "a solid understanding" of a subject? It's a pretty common expression to refer to knowledge in that way, as if it were a physical thing - ie. to make your knowledge or understanding more tangible.

Re:Harden ones understanding? (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739117)

Solid; Sure. Harden; No. To me it reads as if it were something composed by an individual who was having difficulty expressing their ideas..

Re:Harden ones understanding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19740133)

Get over yourself.

Re:Harden ones understanding? (1)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739853)

To easiest way to harden one's understanding is to take a normal soft understanding and add the cement of surety. Fill any holes in your understanding with a quick setting rigid factual putty until your mind is completely closed. Softening one's outlook and poking holes in facades has the opposite effect.

Another way to gain a hard understanding is to construct one's mind from steel. In this way one may obtain a mind like a steel trap, although over time and exposed to natural elements, such a trap will inevitably be rusted shut.

It is not wacky in the least. It is completely serious.

Too much. Focus (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738859)

You can get a broad overview by reading a few good books.

If you want real knowledge then nothing beats deep-ending on some particular area of interest: networking, drivers, file systems...

Sorry to say (3, Insightful)

darthgnu (866920) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738867)

Sorry to say, but experience is very often the best teacher. Experience being mistakes with time.

Just start implementing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19738957)

Just start implementing in the stable kernel and as each of your inputs is rejected, you'll learn. I hope you've had - at least - an operating systems design class (or equiv experience), and you don't try to implement something in kernel space that should be in user space.

BTW, I'm not qualified beyond hacking the IP stack a few years ago with a search/replace, use your imagination for what text was removed/replaced. all this, Just for Fun http://www.amazon.com/Just-Fun-Story-Accidental-Re volutionary/dp/0066620732 [amazon.com] It appears someone else had more time for fun than I.

No, experience is the worst teacher (3, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739031)

experience is very often the best teacher
Experience is the worst teacher, because it's always "test first, lesson afterwards."

Re:No, experience is the worst teacher (3, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739151)

Experience is the worst teacher, because it's always "test first, lesson afterwards."


That just isn't true! Experience should include a lot of independent research and planning. It isn't like you're just blindly trying things to see if they work or not. The only real difference between school learning and experience based learning is that there are real things at stake when learning by experience. And that can be a great motivator.

-matthew

Re:No, experience is the worst teacher (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740619)

"The only real difference between school learning and experience based learning is that there are real things at stake when learning by experience. And that can be a great motivator."

It motivates you to go for the quick and easy solution instead of the right solution. And as the gp said, in the end that will cause you to go with the "test first, lesson afterwards (if at all)" approach.

Even in our young industry there is a wealth of knowledge out there on how to best do things. To throw it out in the guise of "I'll experience it all myself" is just plain wasteful.

Re:No, experience is the worst teacher (3, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740949)

It motivates you to go for the quick and easy solution instead of the right solution. And as the gp said, in the end that will cause you to go with the "test first, lesson afterwards (if at all)"


It depends on the environment, how much pressure you're under, and how much you know going into the situation. What you say is true if you throw someone who doesn't know much into a high pressure situation with high stakes. They're going to find the easiest and quickest solution possible. No question about that. But if a person is consistently pushed only a little bit beyond their capabilities with reasonable demands and stakes, I'm confident that it can be a constructive learning experience. This is even employed in school. You're given reasonable tasks/projects to gain experience. But eventually you outgrow the the kind of experience that a school can offer. Eventually you need to go into the real world. You might start as an intern, or a junior programmer, for example, until you learn from enough experience to move on....

Even in our young industry there is a wealth of knowledge out there on how to best do things. To throw it out in the guise of "I'll experience it all myself" is just plain wasteful.


A solid education is important as a foundation. I'd never dispute that.

-matthew

Obligatory Star Wars (1)

lukesky321 (1092369) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740203)

Who is more foolish, The fool or the fool that follows a fool?
  - Ben Kenobi

Hire someone (5, Insightful)

bscott (460706) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738887)

Truly "advanced" courses are hard to come by, because of limited appeal and other factors. The further you go into something the more inevitable specialization becomes, so it's not just a matter of offering one course for the tenth-of-a-percent of the market who's even heard of the Linux Kernel, but in all likelihood offering half a dozen ranging from security to device drivers to assembler optimization and so on. (and I'm just guessing here, knowing next to nothing about the kernel myself)

My suggestion would be to find someone who's pretty savvy in the area you're aimed at, and hire him or her (OK, let's face it, "him"...) for some lessons. Keep in mind that a good programmer is not the same as a good teacher, but if you find someone who can explain things the way you need to hear them then you won't need that many lessons to make a lot of progress - the cost could very well end up in the same league as a commercially-vended course.

I'm just guessing that finding a kernel guru willing to give up a month of Saturday afternoons at $300 a session will be easier than finding "Linux Kernel for Experts" at the downtown Learning Annex.

Re:Hire someone (4, Insightful)

acidrain (35064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739193)

Keep in mind that a good programmer is not the same as a good teacher

When it comes to this level of specialization you take what you can get, and be happy about it. There is a reason many Universities have brilliant professors doing incredible research who also happen to be poor teachers. (At least in the sciences.)

Re:Hire someone (5, Insightful)

bfields (66644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739239)

My suggestion would be to find someone who's pretty savvy in the area you're aimed at, and hire him or her (OK, let's face it, "him"...)

The gender ratio is pretty extreme, but it's not 100%--there *are* expert female kernel hackers.

I'm just guessing that finding a kernel guru willing to give up a month of Saturday afternoons at $300 a session will be easier than finding "Linux Kernel for Experts" at the downtown Learning Annex.

Personal tutoring is a pretty expensive way to get an education, especially if it's in a fast-moving field whose experts are in demand for other work.

Off the top of my head:

  • Volunteer, and find a problem to work on.
  • Find someone to hire you to do kernel work, or some other way to work with people doing what you want to do.
  • Have you considered grad school? There's places where you could get a degree taking operating systems classes and hacking the kernel for your dissertation. And when you're done you'll probably have an easier time with the previous item.
  • Local user groups and universities might be good places to meet up with people who share your interests. Maybe start a study group to learn some kernel subsystem together?
  • Conferences: OLS [linuxsymposium.org] and linux.conf.au [linux.org.au] are fun. The OLS papers at least are on line if you can't go.
  • Mailing lists, irc channels--look at kernelnewbies, etc.
  • Books: Linux Device Drivers, Understanding the Linux Kernel, Robert Love's book.
  • Read the code!

And if people have told you that "the best method would be to dig into the kernel myself",... actually, in the end, it's probably the *only* way. There's a certain point in your study of any field where you just run out of "courses". That's good. It means you're ready to do real work, because you're at the point where people are still busy doing the work and figuring stuff out, and haven't yet figured out how to break it down into manageable chunks and explain it in a logical order, which is a great deal of work in and of itself.

Re:Hire someone (1)

bscott (460706) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739609)

Can I moderate just the last paragraph of the parent comment "insightful"? The rest of it was OK too, but I liked the last bit particularly.

Re:Hire someone (0, Offtopic)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740073)

"The gender ratio is pretty extreme, but it's not 100%--there *are* expert female kernel hackers." Like who? ;)

Alanna Virginia (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19742059)

"The gender ratio is pretty extreme, but it's not 100%--there *are* expert female kernel hackers."
Like who? ;)
Linus Torvalds dressed up as a girl?

Alan Cox after a sex-change operation? (Though he'd have to change his surname as well as his christian name- Cox wouldn't be as appropriate then).

Re:Hire someone (5, Insightful)

azhrei_fje (968954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740199)

I've been teaching Linux Kernel Internals and Linux Device Driver courses (among others) since 1995 and other Un*x topics prior to that.

Many of the big names "outsource" their very technical training to third parties unless the topic is something related to an internal project (I won't name those companies here, but suffice to say that their names are abbreviations and usually three characters or less in length :)).

These training classes will cost the company $1k-$2k per student, depending on the exact nature of the course. This covers a 5-day class, 7-8 hours per day, with labs as practical for each topic. Obviously, in 5 days you're not going to get a lot of depth in any single topic, but a good instructor will be able to answer off-the-cuff questions during breaks between topics. I know that in a 10-15 minute break, I often get about 3 minutes to make a run to a restroom and spend the rest of the time going over details with one or more students. The most common areas of questions include processor scheduling (big changes in this area right now), virtual memory implementation details (especially the slab allocator and zoned memory concepts), and the block layer API. We don't get heavy into implementation details, but the student is expected to have at least some C background so that they can accomplish the lab exercises.

Some customers require detailed knowledge about specific subsystems and I will add a "chalk talk" ("dry erase talk"?) as time permits to cover those areas as much as possible. For example, a company that makes video poker machines running Linux might want details on hacking the interrupt handlers, while a company that builds disk storage units might want to talk about how best to support a custom RAID controller. Those types of things come up primarily in the Linux Device Driver course; the Internals course typically comes first in the curriculum and can be applied by application and system programmers to the code they write.

Most individuals are not going to be able to afford the associated costs, however. There are some training companies that offer "public" courses: I do those classes as well as on-site classes, but public classes for Internals don't often happen because there's not enough interest to fill the classroom with warm bodies. Send me a message if you're looking for such classes and I'll give you a list of vendors. If you opt to go the less expensive route, I suggest you get Robert Love's book on the Linux Kernel; overall it's a great book, but it does lack depth in one or two areas. After you understand what he covers there, then download the free book on the Linux VMM from

Sorry, I'm rambling. I'll now return you to your regularly scheduled pr0n viewing. :)

Umm, we're programmers (3, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738917)

We don't get training. Unless it is in how to use revision control systems or avoid sexual harassment lawsuits.

Compare this with, say, a DBA or a network engineer. They get training which is actually relevant to their job.

Re:Umm, we're programmers (1, Troll)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738937)

Programming is a craft. There's a lot to know, but not much to teach.

Re:Umm, we're programmers (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738995)

Yep, we're just like artisans. Toiling away without any standards. No codification of best practices. We even have our little cults: extreme programming, object and aspect oriented programming, spiral and waterfall methodologies, not to mention the plethora of programming languages. When programmers get old we don't put them into teaching positions to pass on their arcane knowledge, we make them managers and prohibit them from even looking at the code.

It's not surprising the software is so crumby, it's only surprising that it works at all.

The Dark Ages of Computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739165)

It's not surprising the software is so crumby, it's only surprising that it works at all.

These are the Dark Ages of Computing. We're still very much at the stage of examining chicken entrails.

The sad thing about it is that so many programmers think that what they're doing is wonderful and great and worthy of respect. We're not. This field is, at the moment, total crap, even at the highest and most "professional" end.

Re:The Dark Ages of Computing (1)

sh4na (107124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19741915)

The sad thing about it is that so many programmers think that what they're doing is wonderful and great and worthy of respect. We're not. This field is, at the moment, total crap, even at the highest and most "professional" end.

Yes, because we all know everyone that worked and innovated in newly created fields of knowledge were just in their dark ages too, and all they did was essentially crap because it was so new and they didn't have any previously-set standards to follow (the inconveniences of developing a new field and all).

We should really let all those guys that really invented their own fields of work (you know, newton, archimedes, einstein, turing, those chaps) that they were working in (their own field's) dark ages and all they did was just crappy stuff. I mean, it can't be at all possible to work in a new field, innovate *and* do something worthwhile and professional. Of course not.

You, sir, are an idiot.

Re:Umm, we're programmers (1)

musicmaker (30469) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740041)

I'm pretty sure most people agree that waterfall is dead.

Re:Umm, we're programmers (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740475)

Corporate project managers aren't people?

Oh, wait....

Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (5, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19738931)

Hello all, please give me, a foreign consultant with no work experience but an H1B visa, all your knowledge and a step by step instruction on how to do your job, so that I can displace you in yours, since your boss only looks at buzzwords on a resume anyways.
I await your full attention to this matter,
Samir Nagheenanajar

Re:Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (1, Offtopic)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739019)

That sounds pretty racist. So Indians are not allowed to ask the white master race technical questions or something? Seriously, what's the problem.

Re:Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739109)

Dude, go watch the movie Office Space. That's where his name came from. The post was (half a) joke.

Re:Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739303)

There's no way that guy is Indian. The name isn't even close. From my vast phone-in tech support experience, they all have names like Mike, Ted, Bill, Cindy, and the like.

Re:Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (4, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739803)

When I did tech support I worked with a lot of East Indians who would probably find that snippet quite amusing. I never did find humour offensive, but I realize that humour (along with any other art form) will always insight the Politically Correct.

It would be nice if I could feel free to express myself and give a bit of humour to the world without worrying about offending somebody. Unfortunately there will always be the intolerant and Politically Correct among us who will project there own anxieties on other people.

Say anything good, bad or neutral that involves a "race", and that statement can be said to be "racial", but "racist" implies intolerance and dis-respect, and this is something I just don't see. Perhaps this is because I view ethnic and phenomic differences as trivial, and yet view humour and the creative use of words and ideas as a very important part of my personality. The sad thing is, is that I don't use humour a lot because I know there will always be some people who just don't "get it". So I just give up :(

Re:Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740177)

When I did tech support I worked with a lot of East Indians who would probably find that snippet quite amusing.

Just because people laugh at offensive jokes doesn't make them offensive. Hell if you were working in India and people made racist comments about your ethnic group, you'd probably decide that it was easier to laugh them off than risk losing your job. Ok, it's probably hard to explain to you, since if you were working in India you'd probably not be too unhappy about having to go back home where wages are much higher and you know people.

But if you're an India working in America and you get canned and sent home, you'll probably never get another chance to work in the US again, and you're stuck in a low wage country. So if someone like you cracks an offensive joke, they have no choice but to humour them.

It would be nice if I could feel free to express myself and give a bit of humour to the world without worrying about offending somebody.

Well if you're white and/or from a rich country you can, as your experience with Indians shows.

Say anything good, bad or neutral that involves a "race", and that statement can be said to be "racial", but "racist" implies intolerance and dis-respect, and this is something I just don't see.

We've all seen "please do my homework/job for me. fast response appreciated coz I has a dedline!" type posts to mailing lists. What's racist about the post is suggesting that this is somehow typical of foreigners. The H1B and the Indian name at the end make it racist. There are lazy people and hard working ones in all nationalities after all.

Re:Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740947)

To put things in perspective, from my experience most tech support type jobs are filled by Indians (I live in Canada), so I was always the visible minority where I worked. I mentioned that East Indians would likely find it humurous because my Indian co-workers were the types of people to circulate YouTube video's etc that make fun of the stereo-type of the typical call-centre worker being Indian. They also had a preference for "ethnic" humour, like Borat and others.

The main premise of the joke in question isn't even about Indians, it is based on the idea that companies find it better to get cheap labour through immigration than to keep qualified employees already working for the company. Of course the name at the end implies that this person is from the Asian sub-continent, but this is secondary to the over-all premise. And yes I have heard "racist" jokes about Canada and Canadians and I was not offended. I have also heard a joke about "white" people and I was not offended (though I never did get the joke), nor was I concerned that it was anything more than a joke, as opposed to an ethnic slur.

laugh at offensive jokes
Humour nor jokes are offensive however anybody would like to project their beliefs and morals onto things, jokes are not offensive. If jokes were offensive then they would not be funny. In fact I consider "racial" jokes to be a sign of tolerance that we can make fun of our differences, though this would be qualified to the intent that the person telling the joke has.

The realm of comedy uses complexities and subtleties of language and ideas that most people are not adept at. I really doubt if somebody simple-minded enough to be a racist could appreciate humour, much less have the aptitude to be creative in the intellectual realm of comedy.

So if someone like you cracks an offensive joke, they have no choice but to humour them.
If people don't find jokes funny they won't laugh (fake laughter is pretty easy to spot). If there is a problem with racism in the work force then telling jokes are certainly not the problem. I've never worked in America so I don't know about all the racism that goes on in the workplace over their. There's a point to be made though: the joke in question is not offensive and it is not racist. I would suspect that the majority of people who find it racist are white people with money (the Middle Class) who want to project their middle class Idealism onto other people.

Well if you're white and/or from a rich country you can, as your experience with Indians shows.
No this is not true. There will always be people like you who will talk to me like I'm some type of jackass. I often think of that person as the Management Type. Also there are some people who do not have the genes to understand humour. The ability to understand irony for example is genetically based. This was a real insight when I first heard this because I always wondered why I can't joke around with some people. It's ironic because more than one of these people have themselves told me that I was stupid.

What you have told me is your opinion. You have not proven to me that the joke is offensive. If you even have to prove it then there seems to be some dubiousness in your assertion. You've already implied that I am racist ("someone like you.."), so I would assume you have other prejudices. This is another irony because I am neither racist nor do I seek to offend. If I did seek to offend I wouldn't feel so up-tight about telling jokes because I know there are a million ways how people can miss-interpret an art form.

I see the joke as making fun of the processes companies use to get cheap labour. My background-understanding of the joke comes from CNN and not mailing lists. Reading racism into the joke is something that is attributed to YOU, and not me. You can't even objectively speak about the author because you probably don't know him. I certainly don't. I don't know his background, mentality, Weltanschauung, etc.

I always keep an open mind, but having somebody tell be that humour is wrong just doesn't match up with my belief system. I will finish this off on a very serious note: I am VERY much against racism, sexism, and man's inhumanity to man. I have very strong opinions about human rights (and yes, one of my loves, comedy) and freedom of expression. If I thought this joke was offensive in any way I would say so. I just don't see this.

Re:Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (1)

Yoozer (1055188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740271)

but I realize that humour (along with any other art form) will always insight the Politically Correct.
Oh, if only it gave 'm the insight! Then they'd refrain from complaints ;)

(I think you meant incite)

Re:Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740499)

I'd be damned if I could find the correct spelling. Thanks. I realized my mistake after I posted, but still couldn't find the phonetic equivalent (spelling). But yes "insight" seems somewhat appropriate too :)

Re:Reads like a mailinglist posting by some H1B (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740573)

(I think you meant incite)

I wonder how unlametheweak would feel if you'd said

(I think you meant incite)
Joke about illiterate $(ETHNIC_SLUR)s


Where $(ETHNIC_SLUR) happened to match his ethnicity and didn't match the majority ethnicity. Would it be okay if your $(ETHNIC_SLUR) janitor or coworker thought it was funny too?

Hahahah Samir Nagheenanajar (1)

gekoscan (1001678) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739059)

Samir: This is a... fuck!

You just made my day.

It would be nice to have that kind of job security.

Re:Hahahah Samir Nagheenanajar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739751)

Yeaaaah..

Now, are you going to have those TPS reports on my desk for me?

Teaching and doing (2, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739043)

Well, good luck. Have you ever heard the saying, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach" ? I don't agree with it , but there is a kernel of truth. You've probably had a professor who was a genius, and and expert in their field, but couldn't teach worth a damn. You've probably also learned from someone who was a good teacher, but didn't know their stuff, or didn't have the resources to teach it properly.

Finding someone who is an expert in the linux kernel, *and* who can teach, and has the time and willingness to teach you one-on-one, will be a rare find indeed. ( Are you willing to pay them what they're worth for their background and ability? )

That person has probably already written a book [amazon.com] .

Re:Teaching and doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19740431)

"Those who can, do"

"Those who can't, teach"

"And those who can't teach, lecture on Sociology of Education courses!"

Teach (4, Insightful)

ziah (1095877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739115)

Teaching is the best way to learn. I was a computer science tutor up at Berkeley and I learned FAR MORE from tutoring than I did from the classes. Find someone who is interested in the linux kernel and teach them. If they're smart they'll ask you questions you've never thought about asking, which in turn will end up solidifying your knowledge.

Re:Teach (1)

dgp (11045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739979)

>end up solidifying your knowledge.

Thats the missing phrase!
'solidifying' makes a lot more sense than 'hardening'.

RTFML (2, Insightful)

aero6dof (415422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739153)

Read the LKML archive?

rule number 1: get the name right (2, Funny)

Karma Sucks (127136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739163)

First of all, it's GNU/Linux kernel not Linux kernel... I remember reading something about this and why getting the name right is important but can't find the link anymore. Cheers!

Re:rule number 1: get the name right (1)

MindDelay (675385) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739201)

this had to be a joke, right? please be a joke.

Re:rule number 1: get the name right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739335)

I'm guessing it's a troll...

Re:rule number 1: get the name right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739663)

this had to be a joke, right? please be a joke.

Given his name, it is probably not a joke.

Re:rule number 1: get the name right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739217)

That's not true. You're probably remembering the GNU website, which advises you to remember that most Linux-based OS's are GNU/Linux. The kernel is Linux, the surrounding apps/environment are GNU, therefore, the system is a GNU/Linux system.

Re:rule number 1: get the name right (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739271)

First of all, it's GNU/Linux kernel not Linux kernel


Actually, I think in this instance, even the GNU folks would call it just plain Linux. See, Linux is the kernel. GNU is the core software. GNU/Linux is what they want people to call the whole integrated operating system.

Re:rule number 1: get the name right (3, Funny)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739339)

Whoosh.

Re:rule number 1: get the name right (2, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739369)

Many people will not spot the joke so I will point out that linux is not a gnu project.

There was a move a few years ago to get distributions of linux, gnu tools, X windows and other bits renamed to LiGnuX to draw attention the the gnu project. This wasn't taken seriously so later there was a move to put a gnu prefix on before linux in the name of distributions - only Debian took it up as far as I know. Newbies that missed the point also started putting gnu in front of any reference to a distribution containing linux and then any reference to linux at all.

The best advanced kernel course I have found (5, Informative)

12AU7A (676539) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739189)

The very best course I have found is a ~32 hour DVD course on the FreeBSD kernel internals [mckusick.com] and: Advanced FreeBSD Kernel Code Walkthrough Videos [mckusick.com] I've never found anything more thorough.

Re:The best advanced kernel course I have found (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739507)

The very best course I have found is a ~32 hour DVD course on the FreeBSD kernel internals and: Advanced FreeBSD Kernel Code Walkthrough Videos I've never found anything more thorough.

Or, if the BSD kernel is indeed your thing, hire Groggy [lemis.com] . Would you study under someone without a beard?

Re:The best advanced kernel course I have found (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19741869)

The very best course I have found is a ~32 hour DVD course on the FreeBSD kernel internals [mckusick.com] and: Advanced FreeBSD Kernel Code Walkthrough Videos [mckusick.com] I've never found anything more thorough.
that is seriously expensive. where did you get the money for that?

Getting Training vs. Getting Good (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739259)

Maybe this observation doesn't apply anymore, but I remember a Director at an International Telecommunications company telling me in 2003, that when they looked for a top-level network engineer, anyone that listed their certifications and instruction prominently, went to the bottom of the pile.

His point was that at the highest level, they needed people who had learned by failing, not by sitting in class listening to an instructor.

Maybe that doesn't apply anymore, but it made a weird kind of sense to me at the time.

Re:Getting Training vs. Getting Good (1)

Talisein (65839) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739313)

Of course, they couldn't hire anybody to fail on THEIR systems. Let some other poor schmuck pay for the OJT!

Re:Getting Training vs. Getting Good (2, Insightful)

ezratrumpet (937206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739329)

Failure comes wrapped in many packages. I'd hate to think my desire to have someone who could handle setbacks and failures would cause me to overlook a person who had failed in other careers, been kicked to the curb in other disciplines, and finally found their place in the sun, so to speak.

Every sorcerer was once an apprentice. Every wizard was once a n00b. Even Linus, Bill, and Steve.

Some classes on the left coast (5, Informative)

rlh100 (695725) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739381)

Out here on the left coast the extension programs at the various University Of California campuses have some Linux Kernel classes. These tend to be developed and taught by engineers in the industry with a real working knowledge of the subject.
UC Santa Cruz Extension, http://www.ucsc-extension.edu/ [ucsc-extension.edu] has an "Linux Kernel Architecture and Programming" which looks like an intro course. You can take it online or as two Saturdays. There is also a Linux device drivers class which a once a week class and an Advanced Device Drivers class which is 4 Saturdays.
I checked the other campuses but they all seem to be summer schedule with a limited set of classes.
Red Hat also has a one week Kernel internals class which is a "hands on" which to me means a trade off of less information for some finger programing of the brain.
All of these courses seem to have an introductory flavor to them. But I suspect that you will learn a lot about all of the various areas of the kernel and how the different parts hang together. My experience as kernel hacker is that I have learned a lot about the parts I am interested in, but that there are many big areas of the kernel that I only have a superficial understanding of.

Hope this helps
RLH

Not trying to be an asshole, but... (2, Insightful)

cdw38 (1001587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739475)

...this made the front page? The course is called "Operating Systems," and it's taught at major universities, as someone previously mentioned. In many of these courses, the semester-long project is to develop your own distribution of Linux (as a class or group).

Re:Not trying to be an asshole, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739947)

You need to be a university student to do a University course. The poster wants a standalone course.

Re:Not trying to be an asshole, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19740175)

Ya, you obviously are not a CS student that has taken "Operating Systems" at a major university. I am a CS student at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology). If you consider programming some threads in C and learning a bunch of high level explanations of how things work a way to jump into programming the Linux Kernel you are mistaken. Practical knowledge of the Linux Kernel is not taught in "Operating Systems".

Red Hat Courses (3, Informative)

Erisian Pope (636878) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739641)

I may be a little biased since I've taught the courses... but...

If what you're looking for is the typical corporate 1 week training course, then IMHO you can't do much better. But! Let's be honest here, what can you get out of a one week course? If it's a serious course, like these are, you're going to get so much information that you'll have trouble staying afloat. You're not going to master these skills in a week. Depending on your programming skills and operating systems background you're looking at months to years before you're comfortable kernel hacking. What these courses can give you is a lot of solid coding examples to build your skills. But don't take my word for it, the code samples are available at ftp://axian.com/pub/RHD_SOLUTIONS [axian.com] . Oh, and of course the Red Hat info: http://www.redhat.com/training/developer/courses/ [redhat.com]

If you're not in the typical corporate time crunch mode, I'd definitely recommend college courses. Get some general background in OS design while you're at it if you don't already have it. Oh, and LUGs, lots of lugs have groups doing kernel hacking, not a bad place to start there either, plus LUGs don't cost anything!

Operating Systems understanding + books + practice (3, Informative)

edis (266347) | more than 7 years ago | (#19739681)

I doubt your target for course is correct. Having been trough after-studies Operating Systems course like 20 years ago, centering on RSX-11, I still feel solid in concepts of today's OSes - Linux, too.

For good professional background, I would recommend you to get also good books. On OS principles themselves, and on Linux Kernel. I have been printing and binding myself freely distributable online David Rusling book "The Linux Kernel" (that over 10 years ago). It mentions even Alpha processor view of things - very good for broader understanding. Love this book, very special. Also in my library sits book of Linux kernel anatomy: too lazy to go upstairs for exact title, but it must have been published by SAMS, and is book analyzing specifically code, that makes Linux Kernel, there are sources of very first versions of kernel included too, which should help to understand evolution of kernel as final touch. And plenty of code and discussion of it. Author might be not available for classes, but book is serious alternative for such.

Good luck! OS things deserve your attention.

Re:Operating Systems understanding + books + pract (2, Insightful)

dgp (11045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740023)

i second the good books notion and thanks for the reference to Rusling's book - I haven't heard of that one.

I can say that Robert Love's book, Linux Kernel Development (2004) is very well written and easy to read and understand. (print only)

There is also Greg Kroah-Harman's Linux Kernel in a nutshell at http://www.kroah.com/lkn/ [kroah.com] - free PDF download.

Re:Operating Systems understanding + books + pract (1)

edis (266347) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740227)

It happened: went upstairs to check what was that other book, and it is translation of this one:
"Linux Core Kernel Commentary: Guide to Insider's Knowledge on the Core Kernel of the Linux Code"
by Scott Maxwell. Beware, that most of this book is made of kernel code, and one's expectation might be disappointed. However, it is very illustrative and should be handy for learning. There was once ago such "Linux Bible", published by Yggdrasil, consisting of many open source documentation of that time only - you could say what sense to have it in print, still never was regretting by this heavyweight on hands.

Anyway, having variety of good books used to be helpful.

Besides, Rusling's book was being printed by me on OKI dot matrix (in graphical mode), actually. Yeah...

RTFC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19739687)

/* Linux Kernel */

main()
{ .....

Re:RTFC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19742003)

If you actually bothered to RTFC, you'd see that there is no function called main() in Linux.

never heard of a class for actual hacking (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740095)

ive never really heard of a hacking class or a kernel hacking instruction. ive gone through the usual computer security system classes in college to get that certificate, but what you go over is securing your system and how holes are taken advantage of. you don't learn how to find new holes.

But since we're speaking of kernel hacking, that necessarily doesnt have to do with security, especially with what you're speaking of. the closest i can think of are book references to device driver coding and such, but they dont really follow the concept of "here is unsupported device A, make it work with this operating system" so i dont define that has hacking; this is just my personal opinion.

the way i learned about kernel hacking and device driver hacking is from taking my current programming knowledge and presenting myself with the challenge, and going forth with it; gaining the needed knowledge. the biggest thing i can think of is when i made my own version of an apple airport driver for mac os x, partially based off of freebsd code, because at the school i was at, apple laptops couldnt use wep on the cisco aironets since they were in wpa migration mode - where both wep and wpa are enabled, but you can only connect through wep via key index 2. msft & linux & freebsd drivers worked fine(you can pick your key index), but apple airport drivers are only designed to use key index 1 (and also wpa, but unfortunately at the time there were compatibility issues with original apple airport cards and cisco aironet waps).

anyways, what im saying is that skills in kernel hacking i think come from experience and determination, not classes or anything. perhaps this may change in the future, but when someone tells you to "hack away at it", it usually refers to not giving up until you succeed, regardless of what you were taught from a book or classes, learning from your mistakes, teaching yourself, etc.

as a compliment to you, it's good to have a positive attitude towards learning about the inner workings of operating systems; not alot of people who earned a computer science BS go that deep, at least from the people i know of. dont give give up :)

East Coast (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19740481)

I recently finish a course that was titled "Linux Kernel & Device Driver Programming". This is by far the best class that I have taken in my college career. The book for the course was Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition which is available for free now. The course was more of a guide. It did not teach how how to program the linux kernel but instead how to research and a general overview and methodology of the kernel. The teachers showed us some of the the code and designs and why these designs were chosen. I believe that the people that learn how to program the kernel have a certain mindset coming in. The people that learn the kernel always wish to know WHY something works and not that it just works. They are the kind of people that are constantly questioning others decisions as well as their own.

If you can take this class, CIS 4930/COP 5641 as FSU summer term, it is a great opportunity. You will learn how to research the kernel so that you can program at the kernel level. It is a intense course that you will spend 12-16 hours a day working on but it is VERY rewarding. Again, you will come out of this course knowing how to research the kernel and by no means am I telling you that you will know everything about the kernel.

Linus is the man (1)

iampiti (1059688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19740493)

Try knocking on Linus' door and offering some beers for his time.
You may learn a lot of interesting things ...or you may be left without beers and without knowledge

a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19741135)

Understanding the Linux Kernel, 3rd Edition by Daniel P. Bovet, Marco Cesati. It takes a very detailed tour through every essential part of the Linux kernel architecture.

Simple (1)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19741719)

The code is pretty well commented, and it's usually worth having a good look at the sections you're interested in. It's well organised and clean [in the interesting parts]. It has to be, it's modified by a lot of people. Seriously, you won't be sorry. Above this, Google is your best friend. IBM's developer works has good holistic info, and Linux HQ [linuxhq.com] has lots of links to great information. Kernel hacking on your own time is pretty easy, I don't think it needs to be taught. If you want to work on THE Linux kernel, the official archives and documentation are a must.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?