conferences kernel

Working with unknown code: a talk at foss-north 2021

During the foss-north conference, Syslinbit founder Marta Rybczynska will be delivering a keynote. The talk entitled “Into the Jungle – How to write a Linux kernel driver for any subsystem” will lead the audience through writing a new module for an unknown code base. It will show tips and techniques useful not only when working with Linux, but any other big software project.

foss-north 2021: Marta Rybczynska, "Into the Jungle - How to write a Linux kernel driver for any subsystem"

During 20 years in Open Source projects, Marta saw many times developers approaching unknown code. Their reactions differ. Some read all the documentation online for days, others develop from scratch without planning. Finally, we can also see people who decide to re-write everything from scratch, or those who stop paralyzed in panic.

In the talk, Marta is going to show a step-by-step way to approach some unknown code. The audience will see how to learn the new subsystem, and how to test if the taken approach is the right one.

She will use an example of writing a new network driver for Linux, from scratch. It will simulate adding support for a new hardware device. During the process, she will guide the audience to look into the extensive kernel documentation, source code of similar drivers, show what the driver should be doing to work correctly… and more.

Even if the example is will be specific to Linux, the method is not. The audience will be able to use it, with minor changes, for any other unfamiliar code base.

The conference takes place on May 31st and June 1st, and will be a virtual event, with a community day on May 30. It is then accessible to everyone. The list of keynotes is already available on the website, and a blog posts gives some more details.