4 paths to being a kernel hacker

4 paths to being a kernel hacker: I once tried asking for advice about how to get started with kernel programming, and was basically told:

  1. If you don’t need to understand the kernel for your work, why would you try?
  2. You should subscribe to the Linux kernel mailing list and just try really hard to understand.
  3. If you’re not writing code that’s meant to be in the main Linux kernel, you’re wasting your time.

This was really, really, really not helpful to me. So here are a few possible strategies for learning about how operating systems and the Linux kernel work on your own terms, while having fun. I still only know a few things, but I know more than I did before 🙂

For most of these paths, you’ll need to understand some C, and a bit of assembly (at least enough to copy and paste). I’d written a few small C programs, and took a course in assembly that I’d almost entirely forgotten.