Kerneltrap interviews Keith Owens this week, an experienced
kernel hacker who has long contributed to the Linux kernel. His
contributions include updating ksymoops and modutils, both of which
he maintains. He also works on kbuild 2.5. Earlier, he built the
original Integrated Kernel Debugging patch. He's also working on
kdb and XFS.
"JA: What are some of the contributions you've made?
Keith Owens: In the 1.0 and 1.2 days I was involved with IP
masquerading and some network fixes. No traces are left now, that
code has been rewritten several times.
In 1998 I got fed up with the ksymoops code in the kernel tree,
the program that decoded kernel oops back to readable symbols. It
was the only kernel code that required C++, it only handled a
couple of architectures, it did not handle all messages and it did
not handle modules correctly. I became the ksymoops maintainer,
rewrote it in C, moved it outside the kernel, tried to handle all
architectures, and improved the modules support.
As part of the ksymoops changes, I did some patches to what was
then modutils 2.2 to improve oops reporting on modules. However
modutils was not being updated, the maintainer was too busy, so I
volunteered to maintain modutils as well.
I built the Integrated Kernel Debugging (IKD) patch by gathering
lots of kernel debugging patches that were floating around. There
were conflicts between the patches and some were poorly documented,
IKD pulled them together, cleaned up the conflicts and documented
how to use the tools to debug the kernel. Other people contributed
IKD patches, in particular Andrea Arcangeli and Mike Galbraith. I
ran out of time to maintain IKD so now Andrea and Mike look after