Beer, Speech and Linux File Systems

By Andrew Price, 2008-01-12 11:58:36 in General.

Wakey, wakey. Rise and shine. -- My mother, somewhen between 1982 and 2008

It's been a while since I last wrote a blog entry that wasn't a software release announcement so I think it's time to remedy that. Since attending LinuxConf Europe (I enjoyed it thoroughly) which I mentioned in my last non-announcement blog entry life has been mostly revolving around university and the final year of my computer science degree, which has been a bit of a rollercoaster. But life is fun, in a fantastically geeky way.

The most interesting aspect has been my 3rd year project. The end product of which will be a file system performance analysis utility. Most pleasingly it will be an open source project, although I'm probably limited to accepting patches only once my dissertation is submitted. I won't bore you with the details but the project specification is similar to Chris Mason's Seekwatcher, which is the must-have accessory for the discerning Linux file system developer (darling).

The project is fairly challenging since it requires some specialist knowledge (I've probably spent 80% of my project time reading, 15% experimenting/exploring and 5% coding so far) and I've already learned a lot about file system implementations, aspects of the kernel and other interesting subjects that raise my state of mind closer to supreme enlightenment. The open source aspect of the project really does boost my enthusiasm for it and adds to my determination to roll out a good piece of software. That's the plan anyway.

The opportunity to do this project was presented to me by Steve Whitehouse of Red Hat GFS2 fame and I'm working under his guidance as a sort of "industry partnership" as the computer science department refers to it. Apparently Red Hat doesn't have an official student project scheme of this nature so I consider myself lucky that Steve has taken the initiative to offer the project and dedicate some of his time to answering my dumb questions. He's quite an inspirational character. I'd like to see these kinds of opportunities being offered to students by open source companies more often.

Here's to a fun 2008. May it be filled with inspiration, aspiration and perspiration.