July 9, 2015

Learn Linux Kernel Device Drivers With Linux Foundation Instructor Bill Kerr

Bill KerrBill Kerr has taught Linux Foundation courses in Linux kernel internals, debugging, device drivers and application development for many years. He helped write the original Linux Foundation Training course materials and has been working with UNIX kernels for 35 years.

“I participated in two ports of Berkeley UNIX to new CPU architectures (National Semiconductor 32000 and Motorola 88000),” Kerr said. “I first tried Linux in 1996 and was pleasantly surprised to find it had a "look and feel" very similar to the Berkeley UNIX with which I was familiar.”

Here he tells us more about the courses he teaches, how his career developed, and spending his semi-retirement in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest.

What courses do you teach at The Linux Foundation?

Bill Kerr: LFD312 Developing Applications for Linux, LFD331 Developing Linux Device Drivers, and LFD320 Linux Kernel Internals and Debugging. I developed the original material for LFD411 Embedded Linux Development and have taught it several times. (I'm not currently active in embedded Linux development, so others, who are, have taken this class over.)

How long have you been teaching?

Kerr: I taught the C programming language over a dozen times in the 80's and early 90's. In 2000 I met (Linux Foundation Training Director) Jerry Cooperstein when we were both at another company. He was developing and teaching the ancestors of LFD331 and LFD320, and I taught both those early courses until around 2003 or 2004. I think I was the first instructor under Jerry when he joined the Linux Foundation, teaching LFD331, LFD320 and developing LFD411.

How did you get started with Linux?

Kerr: I've been working in the kernels of UNIX since 1980, and have worked with several UNIX "clones" as well. I participated in two ports of Berkeley UNIX to new CPU architectures (National Semiconductor 32000 and Motorola 88000). I first tried Linux in 1996 and was pleasantly surprised to find it had a "look and feel" very similar to the Berkeley UNIX with which I was familiar.

How did you learn?

Kerr: MSCS from Washington State, and several decades doing new-product engineering development, usually in the role of principal engineer and system architect. So, formal education and lots of on-the-job experience.

What is your area of expertise now?

Kerr: Kernel internals, device drivers, quite a bit about using UNIX/Linux as a productive work environment.

What projects are you involved in currently? What are you working on?

Kerr: I'm mostly retired, and enjoying myself playing in the outdoors around Portland, Oregon. I bike, hike, and kayak, though I've left mountaineering for the past few years.

Learn more about Linux Foundation Training courses and certification at http://training.linuxfoundation.org/.

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