Looking for help with kernel maintenance

Once again, the Gentoo Source kernel team is looking for one or more people to help out with Gentoo-sources maintenance. Currently, I am the sole maintainer of our primary supported kernel and from the email complaints I have been receiving lately, I am just about treading water.

Maintaining the kernel consists of a few jobs:

– Bumping Gentoo sources to keep consistent with upstream releases. I can only support three versions (used to be 2 version supported, with more people)  of the kernel at any time. Right now I try to support 3.0, 3.2 and 3.4. When 3.5 comes out, one of those will drop off.

– Kernel Bugs. At the least, I try to help identify patches from upstream to back port to supported kernels to solve issues. Actually digging into kernel code to solve issues is the most time consuming part of the job. Unfortunately, my time constraints lately don’t allow much time for this anymore. The time to dig deeply and solve these issues is always an unknown, and better steered to keeping up to date kernels available for Gentoo as I am the only person.

I would like someone who at least thinks she/he is going to stick around for awhile. The last few people who were on the kernel team lasted around 6 months.

I’m going to steal an old developers call for help:

I’m looking for someone with at least:
– Interest in kernel stuff, or a desire to become interested
– Time to put towards the tasks
– Enthusiasm to ask lots of questions rather than let stuff sit around
– Basic experience with Bugzilla
– Basic kernel experience (i.e. you can compile your own)

Having knowledge of kernel internals or experience with kernel hacking are NOT requirements because if you have time, interest and ask a lot of questions then these will come anyway. A lot of the work doesn’t involve technical stuff, plus I was certainly very clueless about all this when I originally got involved a few years ago.

Being an existing Gentoo developer is not a requirement. Most of the work is done on Bugzilla and via email. This may be a good opportunity to get involved with development and later become a Gentoo developer for those that are interested.

It’s an enjoyable task, you get to interact with a lot of very intelligent people upstream and you end up learning a lot.

If you think you’re interested, you can email me or find me on IRC at #gentoo-kernel


  1. DaveDay

    I would be happy to give it a go. I would pretty much be starting from scratch though.
    I am retired (still work a little part time) but have time now and the interest. You might get 10 years out of me unless you find other things for me to do elsewhere.

    I have been using Gentoo since 2005, both stable and unstable. I have no particular kernel knowledge and unfortunately I have always been a genkernel user. I suppose that is a negative. I am pretty comfortable with git as I have been using it for MythTV and vifm and a few other projects that I modify for my own use (I haven’t been using the Gentoo ebuilds until quite recently as I wanted more frequent updates than Gentoo provides).

    A long time ago I was an AT&T UNIX/C programmer but I was hired away as a consultant for NCR on their sales team for GTE and havent really done much programming since. I am trying to get back into Linux on an amateur basis because I enjoy it.

    I would guess that if you can be patient with me for a little longer than your average helper would take, it would pay off in a longer than normal relationship.

    Let me know what you think.

    Dave Day

  2. Dave Day

    I responded to this earlier today but my response has disappeared. If it was deleted because I am not an appropriate candidate, I will understand.

    But I thought I would check just in case it was accidentally deleted.

    Dave Day`

  3. tsue

    Just messaged you on IRC, though I don’t see an email address. =) Let me know if I can help out.

  4. franky

    Well, let me just say this:

    Thank you so far for your hard work, for bumping all the kernel versions; all in your rare free time.

    You deserve a warmhearted THANK YOU!

  5. RDH


    I am a young Gentoo user. And using many other GNU/Linux distribution I would like to say that Gentoo just fits me. I would love to be able to contribute, and I’m SURE I can find time to help make Gentoo keep going.

  6. bazli

    Hi! I realize it’s late.. Are there still opportunities to help out? I’m really interested in this. My background is more to embedded software development so I have experience with C and C++.
    But I’ve only recently started using linux and gentoo and have the basic kernel experience mentioned 🙂 really interested. pls let me know either way. thanks!

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