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Read about featured Linux kernel developers in the 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report.

The recent Linux Kernel Development Report released by The Linux Foundation, included information about several featured Linux kernel developers. According to the report, roughly 15,600 developers from more than 1,400 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel since 2005, when the adoption of Git made detailed tracking possible. Over the next several weeks, we will be highlighting some specific Linux kernel developers who agreed to answer a few questions about what they do and why they contribute to the kernel.

Linux kernel developer

Laura Abbott, a Fedora Kernel Engineer at Red Hat

In this article, we feature Laura Abbott, a Fedora Kernel Engineer at Red Hat.

The Linux Foundation: What role do you play in the community and what subsystem(s) do you work on?

Laura Abbott: My full-time job is working as one of two maintainers for the Fedora kernels. This means I push out kernel releases and fix/shepherd bugs. Outside of that role, I maintain the Ion memory management framework and do occasional work on arm/arm64 and KSPP (kernel hardening).

The Linux Foundation: What have you been working on this year?

Abbott: I did some major reworking on Ion this year and ripped out a lot of code (everyone’s favorite type of patch!). Hopefully, I’ll be able to report that Ion is out of staging in the next kernel report. Apart from that, I’ve spent a lot of time testing and reviewing patches for kernel hardening.

The Linux Foundation: What do you think the kernel community needs to work on in the upcoming year?

Abbott: As a general theme, there needs to be a focus on scaling the community. There’s always an ongoing discussion about how to attract new developers and there’s been a recent focus on how to grow contributors into maintainers. There’s still a lot of ‘tribal knowledge’ in pretty much every area which makes things difficult for everyone. I’d like to see the kernel community continue to make processes easier for new and existing developers. I’d also like to see the discussions about building an inclusive community continue.

The Linux Foundation: Why do you contribute to the Linux kernel?

Abbott: I’ve always found low-level systems fascinating and enjoy seeing how all the pieces work together. There’s always something new to learn about in the kernel, and I find the work challenging.

You can learn more about the Linux kernel development process and read more developer profiles in the full report. Download the 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report now.

“Recruiting Open Source Developers” is a free online guide to help organizations looking to attract new developers or build internal talent.

Experienced open source developers are in short supply. To attract top talent, companies often have to do more than hire a recruiter or place an ad on a popular job site. However, if you are running an open source program at your organization, the program itself can be leveraged as a very effective recruiting tool. That is precisely where the new, free online guide Recruiting Open Source Developers comes in. It can help any organization in recruiting developers, or building internal talent, through nurturing an open source culture, contributing to open source communities, and showcasing the utility of new open source projects.

Why does your organization need a recruiting strategy? One reason is that the growing shortage of skilled developers is well documented. According to a recent Cloud Foundry report, there are a quarter-million job openings for software developers in the U.S. alone and half a million unfilled jobs that require tech skills. They’re also forecasting the number of unfillable developer jobs to reach one million within the next decade.

Appeal to motivation

That’s a problem, but there are solutions. Effective recruitment appeals to developer motivation. If you understand what attracts developers to work for you, and on your open source projects (and open source, in general) you can structure your recruitment strategies in a way that appeals to them. As the Recruiting Open Source developers guide notes, developers want three things: rewards, respect and purpose.

The guide explains that your recruitment strategy can benefit greatly if you initially hire people who are leaders in open source. “Domain expertise and leadership in open source can sometimes take quite a long time at established companies,” said Guy Martin, Director of Open at Autodesk. “You need to put training together and start working with people in the company to begin to groom them for that kind of leadership. But, sometimes initially you’ve got to bootstrap by hiring people who are already leaders in those communities.”

Train internal talent

Another key strategy that the guide covers is training internal talent to advance open source projects and communities. “You will want to spend time training developers who show an interest or eagerness in contributing to open source,” the guide notes. “It pays to cultivate this next level of developers and include them in the open source decision-making process. Developers gain respect and recognition through their technical contributions to open source projects and their leadership in open source communities.”

In addition, it makes a lot of sense to set up internal systems for tracking the value of contributions to open source. The goal is to foster pride in contributions and emphasize that your organization cares about open source.  “You can’t throw a stone more than five feet in the cloud and not hit something that’s in open source,” said Guy Martin. “We absolutely have to have open source talent in the company to drive what we’re trying to do moving forward.”

Startups, including those in stealth mode, can apply these strategies as well. They can have developers work on public open source projects to establish their influence and showcase it for possible incoming talent. Developers have choices in open source, so the goal is to make your organization attractive for the talent to apply.

Within the guide, Ibrahim Haddid (@IbrahimAtLinux) recommends the following strategies for advancing recruitment strategies:

  1. Hire key developers and maintainers from the open source projects that are important to you.
  2. Allow your developers working on products to spend a certain % of their time contributing upstream.
  3. Set up a mentorship program where senior and more experienced developers guide junior, less experienced ones.
  4. Develop and offer both technical and open source methodology training to your developers.
  5. Participate in open source events. Send your developers and support them in presenting their work.
  6. Provide proper IT infrastructure that will allow your developers to communicate and work with the global open source community without any challenges.
  7. Set up an internal system to track the contributions of your developers and measure their impact.
  8. Internally, plan on contributing and focus on areas that are useful to more than one business unit/ product line.

The Recruiting Open Source Developers guide can help you with all these strategies and more, and it explores how to weave open source itself into your strategies. It is one of a new collection of free guides from The Linux Foundation and The TODO Group that are all extremely valuable for any organization running an open source program. The guides are available now to help you run an open source program office where open source is supported, shared, and leveraged. With such an office, organizations can establish and execute on their open source strategies efficiently, with clear terms.

These guides were produced based on expertise from open source leaders. Check out the guides and stay tuned for our continuing coverage.

Also, don’t miss the previous articles in the series: How to Create an Open Source Program; Tools for Managing Open Source Programs; and Measuring Your Open Source Program’s Success.

Do you use or contribute to open source technologies? Or, are you responsible for hiring open source professionals? If so, please take a minute to complete a short open source jobs survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation and make your voice heard.

During the past decade, open source development has experienced a massive shift, becoming a mainstay of the IT industry. Flexibility in accommodating new technologies and adapting to a changing market make open source software vital to modern companies, which are increasingly investing in open source talent.

To gather more information about the changing landscape and opportunities for developers, administrators, managers, and other open source professionals, Dice and The Linux Foundation have partnered to produce two open source jobs surveys — designed specifically for hiring managers and industry professionals.

Take the Hiring Managers Survey

Take the Professionals/Candidates Survey 

As a token of our appreciation, $2,000 in Amazon gift cards will be awarded to survey respondents selected at random after the closing date. Complete the survey for a chance to win one of 10 $100 gift cards, or one of two $500 gift cards. 

The survey results will be compiled into the 2017 Open Source Jobs Report. This annual report evaluates the state of the job market for open source professionals and examines what hiring managers are looking for and what motivates employees in the industry. You can download the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report for free.  

Survey responses must be received by Thursday, July 27, at 12:00 pm Eastern time.

Open source is the new normal for startups and large enterprises looking to stay competitive in the digital economy. That means that open source is now also a viable long-term career path.

“It is important to start thinking about the career road map, and the pathway that you can take and how Linux and open source in general can help you meet your career goals,” said Clyde Seepersad, general manager of training at The Linux Foundation, in a recent webinar.

Certification is one clear path with real career benefits. Forty-four percent of hiring managers in our recent 2016 Open Source Jobs Report said they’re more likely to hire certified candidates. And 76 percent of open source pros surveyed believe certifications lead to a career boost.

The Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and Certified Engineer (LFCE) exams are great opportunities for sysadmins to polish and prove their skills. The exams are available online to anyone in the world at any time. They’re also performance based, working within a Linux server terminal and overseen by a proctor. Because the format is not multiple choice, even seasoned pros will need some preparation in order to avoid common mistakes and complete the exam within the time limit.

To help you prepare for the certification exam, and a long and successful sysadmin career, we’ve gathered some tips, below, from Linux Foundation certified sysadmins who have completed the LFCS or LFCE exams.

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Chris van Horn

Chris van Horn, LFCS

1. Practice

“Experience is key. Spin up a VM, take a fresh snapshot of it and go to work applying all the requirements of the exam in practice. When you feel you have satisfied all the exam topics thoroughly, apply that fresh snapshot to revert changes and begin again until it is second nature. Also, feel comfortable with man pages; they are your best friend when Google is not an option.”

Chris Van Horn, Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and a “Debian guy.”

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Dashamir Hoxha

Dashamir Hoxha, LFCS

2. Give it time

“The best preparation is your experience. If you feel that you have enough experience with the topics required by the exam, you can give it a try. Otherwise, you have to work hard to get those skills.

Don’t think that in a short time you can learn everything.”

Dashamir Hoxha, LFCS, an Ubuntu user and open source contributor.

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William Brawner

William Brawner, LFCS

3. Learn how to use man pages

“If you haven’t already, get familiar with the man pages. Know what they are and how to use them efficiently.

No matter how much you study, you can’t learn everything, and if you could, you wouldn’t retain it all anyway. The man pages will fill in the gaps.”

William Brawner, LFCS, and Arch Linux user who plans to take the LFCE exam next.

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Francisco Tsao

Francisco Tsao, LFCE

4. Understand the material, don’t just memorize it

“Forget recipes, it’s not about memorization. Understand what are you doing by reading some books and documentation that give you a deep background of the tasks you’ll perform at the exam and in real life.

Imagine real problems and try to solve them.”

Francisco Tsao, LFCE, self-professed Debian fanboy and Fedora contributor.

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George Doumas

George Doumas, LFCS

5. The boring stuff is still important

“Do not rely on one book only! Study and practice…even the stuff that you find mundane.

A portion of the tasks are boring, but you cannot avoid them.”

George Doumas, LFCS, and a fan of Scientific Linux, openSUSE, and Linux Mint.

6. Follow the instructions

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Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho

Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho, LFCS

“For experienced professionals, I recommend that they prepare the environment for the exam, and follow the instructions. It’s not a difficult exam if you work daily with Linux.

On the other hand, for newcomers, apart from having a look to open/free resources, I just encourage them to set up a Linux environment at home and get their hands dirty!!”

Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho, LFCS, Debian user and Raspberry Pi enthusiast.

7. Have fun!

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Gabriel Canepa

Gabriel Canepa, LFCS

“Make sure you love what you are doing, and do not forget to have fun, to experiment, and then to do it all over again and again, and make sure you learn something new each time.”

Gabriel Canepa, LFCS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux admin and technical writer.

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