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Aging Linux Kernel Community Is Looking For Younger Participants 332

Posted by Soulskill
from the fresh-meat dept.
Lemeowski writes "Time has been good to Linux and the kernel community, with the level of participation and volume of activity reaching unprecedented levels. But as core Linux kernel developers grow older, there's a very real concern about ensuring younger generations are getting involved. In this post, Open Access supporter Luis Ibanez shares some exciting stats about recent releases of the Linux kernel, but also warns that 'Maintaining the vitality of this large community does not happen spontaneously. On the contrary, it requires dedication and attention by community members on how to bring new contributors on board, and how to train them and integrate them alongside the well-established developers.'"
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Aging Linux Kernel Community Is Looking For Younger Participants

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  • It's so much fun! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:17PM (#45404727)

    It seems like most young programmers are way more interested in developing mobile-apps than in getting yelled at, cursed at, and described as being in compromising situations involving Microsoft.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:26PM (#45404823) Homepage

    Why release a simple system, when you can bloat it with a zillion tweaks of dubious value and then charge money to keep the whole mess working?

    I don't think it's really as malicious as that. The larger problem is that everyone has a slightly different definition of what makes a simple, stripped down system. You only want the features you want, I only want the features that I want. You want a rock-solid server; I want a responsive and feature-rich desktop system; my brother just wants to play video games. You can't do it all without a little bit of complexity.

    And look at what happens when they try. Someone proposes a new window compositing system that will make development easier and performance more responsive, and people get all bent out of shape because it breaks the X11 spec.

    Microsoft is a whole other ball of wax. Chronic mismanagement, perverse incentives to sabotage any product which might cannibalize the Windows/Office products, and an attempt to maintain backwards compatibility as much as possible, going back to DOS systems from a quarter century ago.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:29PM (#45404843)

    there's no way in hell I'd ever try to contribute upstream, because I know I'm not an experienced kernel hacker, and frankly I'm not sewn for the sort of macho abuse that dorks like to give each other.

    Sounds like a matter of perception. Linus yells at the people high up in the hierarchy because they are experienced and shouldn't be making dumb mistakes - right or wrong you aren't likely to get on the wrong end of that. As a newbie contributor any work you would do would go through a couple of levels of people vetting it for you. If you make dumb mistakes chances are the person who notices them will be a lot more gentle in pointing them out because dealing with newbies is part of the role in the hierarchy. No system is perfect, I'm sure there are some newbies who have received overly harsh responses, but that's going to be rare.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:43PM (#45404997) Journal

    There is: http://kernelnewbies.org/ [kernelnewbies.org]

  • by Jody Bruchon (3404363) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:48PM (#45405065)
    I have contributed some bug reports and fixes to LKML and I have yet to encounter anything other than a terse but helpful and friendly nature amongst those that picked up my reports and directly communicated with me to fix the code. The only people who get reamed on LKML or get a middle finger are the ones that do egregiously foolish things and should know better. Linux is a massive project that spans thousands of cultures and subcultures in the meatspace department, and there is no time at all to address every error with compliment sandwiches and a facade of "bless your heart" pseudo-kindness.

    "Show me the code" is the mantra. If your code is shit and you're new, you'll be politely pointed at a resource such as the coding style guide or KernelNewbies to correct it. If your code is shit and you manage a whole kernel subsystem, you can expect to be told "your code is shit and you know better!" by Linus directly, because....get this: you tried to feed shit code into the kernel (which hurts everyone else because they ALL have to maintain your code down the line) and you're high enough on the food chain that you know better.
  • by LordNimon (85072) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:01PM (#45405219)

    I've been working on the Linux kernel for 10 years with numerous commits upstream, and I've never communicated with Linus.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:04PM (#45405257) Journal

    If this is what people think of upstream kernel maintaining, they should probably not troll anonymously.

    This is about as far from truth as it is from reality. The man is abrasive, yes, but if you think he's just going to come after you then the problem is absolutely your own perception and not Linus.

  • by vilanye (1906708) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @06:31PM (#45406341)

    Linus yells at experienced devs who should know better and it is a fairly uncommon occurance. Spend some time in the kernel mailing lists and you will see you are 100% incorrect.

    I have even seen newbies try to take Linus to task and he was exceedingly polite to them, far more than they deserved. The one that comes to mind was the newbie complaining about GOTO's and trying to trumpet his terrible solution(it blew up the cache and corrupted the critical path) as things should be done.

  • by Meditato (1613545) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @02:21AM (#45409931)

    The fact that the Linux kernel was initially created by a 15 year old kid on a home computer says much about that.

    Linus Torvalds was born in 1969. The Linux Kernel project began in 1991. He was not 15.

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