Pune Kernel Meetup – The Beginning

It started when Amit Shah pinged Sid a few weeks ago and expressed interest in starting regular meetups of the Linux kernel contributors and enthusiasts in Pune. There apparently used to be such a thing in the past, but there was never enough momentum to keep it going. When Sid told him about us, the meetup venue was decided – we were going to be hosts of the kernel meetup. Pankaj Gupta sent out an invite to individuals along with tentative list of ideas to talk about. We created a meetup.com invite to try and spread the word.

Barring one (unfortunate, since she fell ill at the last moment) person, everyone in the original email list turned up and they had a very lively chat. The discussion started with a description of what happens at the Bangalore kernel meetup and whether we could replicate it to some extent here. There was interest in beginner level tutorials like a walkthrough of the patch submission process and choosing and working on trivial fixes to become more familiar with the kernel code. The key question was that of getting started with understanding the kernel code and then contributing to it and a number of ideas were shared, including reading (and subscribing to) LWN, tracking kernelnewbies.org and reading patches for bug fixes in LKML.

The discussion then transformed into a kernel and low level system programming and debugging basics, with demonstrations of tools like strace and perf and an inside peek into what goes into a very simple Hello World program. The whole place was alive with tricks one could do with the simplest of tools to understand behaviour of programs and systems. The meetup was tentatively scheduled for 2 hours, but the discussions just went on tirelessly as Amit Kucheria and Girish Joshi then started discussing how a device Girish wrote did not need a kernel driver even though Girish wanted to write one! That discussion then somehow made a segway into a discussion of big.LITTLE and then into design decisions of ARM vs Intel!

It did not look like anybody wanted the meetup to end, but people were starting to get hungry and we had to disperse for the day. However this was not before we agreed to set up a mailing list to allow everyone to communicate in one place. That mailing list is up now on reserved-bit and we hope to be able to host these wonderful people again next month and hopefully every month.

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