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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:10PM (#45404629)

    I'm part of one of these younger generations, and I'm honestly not interested in getting involved because I've seen how much of a raging asshole Linuz can be. He's a great maintainer, but he could be honest and give constructive criticism in less condescending ways. I'm not as experienced as he is, but that doesn't give him the right to be a complete dick in public theater.

    • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:16PM (#45404707)

      This. I've tinkered with the kernel, written device drivers, blah, but 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.

      There are other things I do as a hobby where I'm surrounded by people who are highly experienced, well-respected, but also excellent teachers - e.g. ham radio. There, I'm happy to do as much as I can for the community.

      N.B. I'm not saying that I'd necessarily be good enough to contribute to the official kernel, merely that I wouldn't even try in that sort of environment.

      • 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 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 bored (40072)

            Yah, it sort of matters which subsystem you work on. Some of the maintainers are dicks others ignore people... Etc.. My dealings with Linus himself were a decade ago. Now everyone is pretty much one or two layers below him. So peoples experiences are often dependent on which subsystem they are working in.

            Frankly, all my recent commits have been "bug" fixes, and these are often a PITA to get in because 1: You first get ignored, then you get shot down, then eventually someone picks up your fix. None of my rec

        • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:33PM (#45405631)

          If someone wants to right to yell at me, he's going to have to pay me (well) for the privilege. I would have taken Steve Jobs' abuse, as long as he kept the paychecks coming. Some prick who expects me to VOLUNTEER for the honor of having him dress me down like a bitch? Not so much.

          • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @06:26PM (#45406277)

            It's funny how different perspectives can be. If I wanted to contribute to the kernel and someone ended up being severely impolite, I'd find it weird and either reply or don't. On the other hand, if my boss was being abusive, I'd switch jobs ASAP. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I find random interpersonal abuse way less disturbing than workplace abuse, since in the latter case you're at a clear hierarchical disadvantage and actually depend on your boss to get your paycheck.

            And, by the way, it's interesting that you say "some prick who expects me to VOLUNTEER for the honor of having him dress me down like a bitch? Not so much." while posting on /., where that kind of free verbal aggression seems to be mandatory.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:41PM (#45404971)

        in that sort of environment.

        Well clearly you have never once 'been to' the LKML but instead built your opinion on the basis of stories-posted-on-slashdot.
        Otherwise you would know that the LKML receives around 400 mails per day, the vast majority of which are polite, friendly and helpful.
        Compare that with the number of posts offensive enough to make a story on /.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:08PM (#45405305)

          Well clearly you have never once 'been to' the LKML but instead built your opinion on the basis of stories-posted-on-slashdot.
          Otherwise you would know that the LKML receives around 400 mails per day, the vast majority of which are polite, friendly and helpful.
          Compare that with the number of posts offensive enough to make a story on /.

          I *have* posted bugs on LKML, and gotten responses. I have interacted with at least two high level developers, as well as Mr. Torvalds. The one time I got a reply (Len Brown, INTEL senior systems engineer) plus asked to download software to dump the rom from hardware, followed by an analysis and a change to the kernel (which I then applied, re-compiled and tested with reports. About 200,000 people were affected by that bug (and I got email from around the world). I've also gotten several very polite replies from Alan Cox and a few others. The trick is that you have to 1) know about computers, be able to describe the bug fully, what you have tried to fix the bug, and how it affects things. 2) be able to reply to questions / do more testing 3) re-compile a kernel with a fix and see if it fixes the bug. Most people can't do #3.

        • "environment" (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:59PM (#45406003)

          Well clearly you do not understand what the word "environment" means.

          If someone makes a sexist, derogatory joke in the weekly programming meeting and someone is offended and complains, it's not a defense to say "well it was only one joke, in one meeting, from one person."

          The problem is not the one joke. The problem is that the environment was conducive, accepting, and tolerant of the joke. Linus's abusive treatment of others is not only tolerated, but accepted, excused, and justified, both there and on other communities (like Slashdot, right now...) Because he's in a leadership position, it sets the example and tone for how others are treated...

          The response to people saying "I'm not comfortable contributing" is not "stop being a baby." If it is, you don't actually care about getting people to contribute.

          • Re:"environment" (Score:4, Insightful)

            by epyT-R (613989) on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @03:30AM (#45410219)

            No, see, the thing is, your feelings are supposed to be your responsibility, not the group's. If you're 'offended' like that, to the point where you want to sue people and/or get that person's employer to fire him/modify his behavior for you, you are the one with the problem. These entitlement attitudes bred into the culture from political correctness confuse the issue and the definitions of these words for a lot of people. Young people today suffer from this a great deal more than the previous generations, as recent as the 1990s.

            No, the phrase "I'm not comfortable" is newspeak for "I am a timid coward who wants others to limit the diversity around me to acceptable parameters". In this case, diversity of thought and expression. You don't have to agree with everything others said, and you're welcome to voice your displeasure, but if you 'feel uncomfortable' on a regular basis just because of what others said, the weakness is you, not them.

            • Re:"environment" (Score:4, Insightful)

              by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Wednesday November 13, 2013 @06:37AM (#45410945) Homepage
              Yeah, I used to think like that. Then I worked out that being a dick to people around me is actually not OK. I get it, it's really easy to think like this when you're a straight white male. But it's just bullshit. Grow up and get over it.
            • No, see, the thing is, your feelings are supposed to be your responsibility, not the group's.

              It is, at a minimum, the group's responsibility if they are community of VOLUNTEERS are trying to attract new members, to not be a bunch of assholes to each other.

              Your extremely hostile, nasty, aggressive, ignorant, threatened response perfectly demonstrates the issues we're talking about. Also: stop narcissistically blaming everyone around you for how they react to the way you act towards them.

      • Yeah. Sometimes projects can wind up in a nightmarish situation in terms of getting new contributors, because the bar to contribution is perceived to be high (even if it might not be).

        I used to be a contributor to a fairly large open source project - Overall it was good, but the leads could be downright pricks. They would often trash talk potential contributors, even ones that did show potential. (Sadly, this particular area had a lot of "wannabes" out for glory too...) - While their smacktalk would keep the "wannabes" at bay, it also drove away some exceptional talent.

        I was always frustrated by some of these "lone wolf" developers that weren't upstreaming, until myself and a few contributors had a massive disagreement with the project leadership regarding an attempt they made to obtain dual-license commercial rights to a contribution. We started working on founding our own project, and we've found that many of those who I originally (mistakenly) perceived as "lone wolves" and not contributing because something was wrong with them were actually not contributing because there were so many things wrong with our former project and we had been drinking the kool-aid. Quite a few of them have proven to be spectacularly talented and excellent team players.

      • by LoRdTAW (99712)

        To be fair we are talking about one man who is the gate keeper for a kernel which has grew from a hobby project to major player in the operating system landscape. Just put yourself in his shoes for a minute. Your student project turned hobby now runs on/in everything from phones to supercomputers, refrigerators to robots and cars to space craft. It is quite an achievement and a large amount of responsibility. Most of his explosions happen when someone does (bad code/design) or says (git should use C++) some

    • by DeBaas (470886) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:21PM (#45404769) Homepage

      I'm part of one of these younger generations, and I'm honestly not interested in getting involved because I've seen how much of a raging asshole Linuz can be. He's a great maintainer, but he could be honest and give constructive criticism in less condescending ways. I'm not as experienced as he is, but that doesn't give him the right to be a complete dick in public theater.

      You've managed to asses that he is 'a raging asshole', but now how to properly spell his name?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        *assess. Bazinga.

      • by isorox (205688)

        I'm part of one of these younger generations, and I'm honestly not interested in getting involved because I've seen how much of a raging asshole Linuz can be. He's a great maintainer, but he could be honest and give constructive criticism in less condescending ways. I'm not as experienced as he is, but that doesn't give him the right to be a complete dick in public theater.

        You've managed to asses that he is 'a raging asshole', but now how to properly spell his name?

        vmlinux->vmlinuz
        Linus->Linuz

        If the compressed version of Linus is a raging asshole, what the hell is the uncompressed version? Goatse?

    • I logged in to say this. Linus (with an 'S') needs to jump off his high horse and be a personable human being. I have nothing against riding someone for breaking stuff but he's intolerable.
    • by bobbied (2522392) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:40PM (#45404949)

      After watching a few videos of "Linuz"... I can assure you that he's pretty harmless, at least in person. I think he puts on the aura of raging narcissist on purpose and if you think about it, the whole persona serves him and Linux well. So far the Kernel project hasn't been fragmented and the project has been extremely stable for many years. This is not the normal course of an open source project, especially one of this visibility. This is largely due to "Linuz" and his persona.

      But this is not to say I think the kernel is in good hands with him at the wheel. I worry about succession should "Linuz" become unavailable (say he's hit by a bus to use his illustration about why you should use git). I worry that the succession battle would be bad for the Kernel and the transition from the dictator rule to something else would be bumpy. Linuz could fix that by starting to transition what he does to his trusted few, and publish a clear future succession plan. But the future is "Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future."

      • I have a theory that people who deal with computers as a career require at least a little bit of assholishness to be able to function in the field (I include myself in that stereotype). But maybe you could make that same argument about life in general...

    • 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 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 ron_ivi (607351)

      because I've seen how much of a raging asshole Linuz can be.

      So, fork it and run your own fork.

      If enough people think like you (and think you're better than Linus), your fork will quickly reach a critical mass. Then you can either hire someone to deal with Linus, or ignore him altogether and let his followers seek out your patches to pull the part they want..

      (and if you think I'm being sarcastic - I'm not - this is pretty much how a lot of the major distros work)

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I'm part of one of these younger generations, and I'm honestly not interested in getting involved because I've seen how much of a raging asshole Linuz can be. He's a great maintainer, but he could be honest and give constructive criticism in less condescending ways. I'm not as experienced as he is, but that doesn't give him the right to be a complete dick in public theater.

      Well, the other thing is, it works.

      Linus is managing in a style similar to Steve Jobs, and it's getting stuff done, like Jobs did as wel

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      I've seen how much of a raging asshole Linuz can be.

      I can understand how working for a loud mouthed prick is a real downer. Thing is, there are a lot of LMPs in this industry. Far more asshat managers than civilized ones. Do you think Ballmer, Jobs, Ellison are/were any better? If you are seriously interested in this line of work, don't let the LMPs run your future. Make your career moves wisely, and with professionalism, and you'll do well no matter how much of a "raging asshole" you previously worked for.

    • 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.

    • issue is overblown (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Chirs (87576) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @07:26PM (#45406867)

      I've worked on the kernel (and other low level stuff) professionally for ~10 years. I've had code submitted into the kernel. I've interacted with Linus directly, I've met him in person, etc.

      Yes, on occasion he flies off the handle. It doesn't happen often, and when it does it's mostly at things that would drive many people nuts. I think he could deal with it a bit better sometimes, but most of the time it's not a big deal.

      Generally when people get flamed it's not a new contributor, and it's for things that they've done wrong multiple times.

      So for new people looking to contribute, go ahead. It's fun, and the quality of the code that you'll see is generally pretty high.

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

      I'm part of one of these younger generations, and I'm honestly not interested in getting involved because I've seen how much of a raging asshole Linuz can be. He's a great maintainer, but he could be honest and give constructive criticism in less condescending ways. I'm not as experienced as he is, but that doesn't give him the right to be a complete dick in public theater.

      I've been in the Linux scene very early, and I've watched contributors come and go

      The one thing that I've observed is that it's kinda generation gap

      The older crop (age 40+) were the ones who like to take on challenges - and even when they have been shouted down, they still come back again and again, with better and better code implementation, to prove others wrong

      The younger crop (age 35 or younger), on the other hand, can't stand people criticizing their code

      They seem to think that since it's their code an

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      Yay a linus-is-mean bandwagoneer.. Good, stay away. No one wants your simpering spineless entitled twatlike attitude. Whatever talent you have is lost when it's submerged beneath all that effeminate bitchiness.

      However, if you have a modicum of self respect and like programming C you should give it a shot.. If your patches are good and you aren't a blowhard, linus will never yell at you. In fact, you probably won't even interact with him until you've been involved for a bunch of years. Newbs talk to peopl

  • Don't worry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Really don't worry. It is commercial enough and if the community just winds down, the companies will just staff the kernel developer ranks,

    • Really don't worry. It is commercial enough and if the community just winds down, the companies will just staff the kernel developer ranks.

      Which companies exactly? --- and who gets to make the final decisions about the evolution of the kernel and Linux as a whole?

  • by DeBaas (470886) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:10PM (#45404637) Homepage

    Get on my Lawn!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Benies? Dental? Vaction days? Sick days? Comp time or overtime? Weekends off? All national holidays?

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      The benies for being a volunteer are great - all the vacation you want, and you get paid triple-overtime for any work in excess of twenty minutes a week.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:12PM (#45404663)

    This semester, I am taking OS course at UMBC.
    Course is easy, material is easy. Hard part - figuring out how the fuck you should write Linux Kernel code.
    Why there are no good tutorials that on how to write basic kernel code, good guides on its structure (many book sold on Amazon are outdated) ......there should be one, centralized place with all the useful materials for the beginners + it should be constantly updated.

    • At least it's not BSD.

      Seriously, though, mainstream OS implementation is 10% OS theory and 90% careful engineering. So your course will be useful, but it won't be nearly sufficient.

      • by fisted (2295862)

        At least it's not BSD.

        Seriously, though, mainstream OS implementation is 10% OS theory and 90% careful engineering. So your course will be useful, but it won't be nearly sufficient.

        You are aware of that the BSDs are carefully engineered, well documented, etc?
        Unlike GNU and Linux, which rather have grown.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Too bad it's not BSD though. Linux code is very often very obtuse and difficult to understand whereas a lot of BSD kernel code is comparatively straight forward. If I were to teach an OS class using source code I'd point students to BSD first (netbsd or openbsd at least, or even 4.2BSD).

        • Why do you think that's the case (honest curiosity - no intent to start a flame war)?

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            For me it was true, but that may also be due to the particular portions of code I was looking at.

        • If I were to teach an OS class using source code I'd point students to BSD first (netbsd or openbsd at least, or even 4.2BSD).

          And BSD is obviously a particularly good example for networking code [kohala.com].

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

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

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      THIS is how to get new people coding on Linux! When I tool my OS course at UMBC we wrote a file system, and a few other tiddly bits. But actually looking at or modifying Linux kernel code would have been awesome!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:12PM (#45404665)

    Perhaps a campus tour where the senior kernel devs can personally tell prospective developers that they are retarded and kick them in the balls.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:17PM (#45404731)

    I know I've mentioned this before, but you need to consider the possibility that your software might be done.

    Take TeX for example. The last stable release is 5 years old. It's done.

    At some point even the OS kernel will switch from "active development" to "something people study". We studied the circuit diagrams for radio receivers, memory circuits, and even more complicated things like 8-bit ALUs. They're done. We weren't developing that stuff in school. We were just understanding it.

    The Linux kernel will end up in a text book some day. People will want to understand it. Nobody will want to develop it. That's a good thing. It means that this phase of technology is approaching the done phase.

    What's the next phase? If you're young that's where you should be looking.

    • by fisted (2295862) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:51PM (#45405089)

      I know I've mentioned this before, but you need to consider the possibility that your software might be done.

      Considered and considered stupid, because suggested in the context of operating systems. Operating systems are only done when hardware is 'done', which is unlikely to happen any time soon IMO.

    • by DarkOx (621550)

      The kernel is not like most software project though because of what it does. It provides an interface to hardware for other software. That other software might be done but as long as the hardware changes the kernel is never done.

      You could argue that something like a scheduler might one day be done, but the rules change, memory is cheap in plentiful even on the smallest devices, it was a major constraint when Linus started Linux. Now its okay for your scheduler to use much more memory if that gets you to

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      The next phase is almost always to replace the technology or some portion thereof with something that does the same thing, but in a better or easier to use way.

      With TeX, the logical next step is HTML/CSS typesetting. I'm pretty sure you could replicate most of the interesting parts of LaTeX in only a few thousand lines of JavaScript, assuming you had a browser that supports most of CSS3, but you'd also get lots of stuff that LaTeX can't handle.

      With Linux as a whole, the logical next step is to repeatedly

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Not really, because hardware isn't done. Operating systems keep evolving to keep up with the hardware. Also software isn't done, so operating systems keep evolving to keep up with newer paradigms in software. Linux is constantly changing, and not just to keep some old coders busy.

    • We studied the circuit diagrams for radio receivers ... They're done.

      Really? I wish you'd told me that before I started my latest design. BTW, what's in your cell phone or WiFi?

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      I would agree some utilities have a point where they will be "complete". /bin/cat perhaps, or /bin/yes.

      However, the one thing that keeps the Linux kernel from being "done" is the security race. The kernel will never be "complete" because of today's and tomorrow's security risks. Right now, Web browser (and add-ons) are compromises. It could be in the future that physical compromise and armed robbery of data centers would be a major threat, so the kernel would have to be modified to keep as much data as p

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      TeX doesn't even have a useful GUI yet. It's not even 1/10th the way to "done".

      It'll be "done" when you can hand it to a random person on the street and they can quickly and easily figure out how to use it to produce a complicated document. The only reason you think it's "done" is because you've pigeonholed it into a tiny niche.

  • by hamster_nz (656572) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:25PM (#45404809)

    It is just too damn big, hard and complex. Why would I want to learn the ins and outs of such a large codebase unless somebody is paying me to?

    It is not like the old days when you could pick up a "... in a nutshell" book, start hacking up a driver, then get it accepted into the kernel. I don't want a three year unpaid intership while I get up to speed and gain respect in the comunity.

    I'll spend my time working on my project on either a microcontroller (AVR, PIC...) or a bare-metal build on ARM.

    • I've thought about getting involved in some of the more established projects, what I found was a large codebase and not a lot of documentation. I just don't have the time required to play that much catchup so they get bug reports when I see them. If I ever manage to retire, I won't be bored cause then I'll have the time.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:40PM (#45404953)
    they just want to kick you off their lawn
  • If they get a lot of younger kernel devs, do we stand a chance of seeing the kernel equivalent of Unity?

  • Perhaps a major part, or a major branch (experimental revisited?) needs to be handed over to the control of young blood. It'd be difficult for the old guard... young guys take risks and make more mistakes, but they bring energy and ideas. In any case an area under the control of a new generation MUST happen for a young Linux subculture to further develop, and considering the importance of community as a motivation this is overdue. The size, momentum and commercial interest in Linux will could make this
  • Don't get me wrong, I'd have hard time living without The Linux Foundation's products, but when this year I wanted to work for The Linux Foundation in Google Summer of Code, I gave up after reading their proposals. I wanted to learn some kernel development stuff and couldn't find a single suggestion related to that. Instead, there were some higher-level projects like OpenPrinting, which I personally find totally uninteresting.
  • by lorinc (2470890) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:31PM (#45405607) Homepage Journal

    I'm actually managing an OS course for graduate students, and it's heavily based on linux (userspace and kernelspace). We do a few exercices (like writing a kernel module that computes averages), but nothing fancy. I've always been looking to propose them some projects related to kernel dev, but as I'm not a kernel hacker myself, I have clearly no idea of what seems reasonable.

    So here's the deal: If you are involved on some subsystem of the linux kernel and you have something you want to get coded that can be a first experience with kernel dev, and that can be done under about 100 hours (the length of a typical project), you contact me. I'll do as much as possible as a first step filtering so that you won't get spamed. It's a win-win situation: I have great projects for my students, you get free work. For this year, it's a bit short, because projects are from September until January, but next year is ok.

  • by undeadbill (2490070) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:39PM (#45405723)

    When Linux was first released, it was relatively easy to break into the IT field and get directly into programming with limited experience and resources. The fact that the Linux kernel was initially created by a 15 year old kid on a home computer says much about that. My saying so doesn't lessen Linus Torvald's genius in any way, but it does underscore how those opportunities to create haven't been extended to future 15 year olds in the same manner.

    Or anyone of working age. When was the last time a company hired junior admins and other flunkies specifically for the purpose of training them up to a competent level of expertise? That was common in the 90s, and is almost non-existent 20 years later. The last two companies I've worked for flat out refuse to hire junior staff and train them. Many companies refuse to future proof their IT (ops and dev) staffing in any way. This has led to a huge gap in expertise.

    The final issue that was birthed out of refusing to hire inexperienced staff is all of the certification programs that arose as a result of such parsimony. Am I the only one who thinks that being able to turn on a few services *doesn't* make someone a systems administrator? I'd be more concerned about their ability to write and update their own changes to services, and to the man pages, and submitting complete work back to the relevant project- but THAT isn't (generally) taught in the cert programs, even though that will make someone a better administrator and/or developer. This just weakens expectations in the field, and severely limits a self-selected candidate pool of future kernel programmers.

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