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Re: I'm a newb, looking for guidance

From: Vesa Jääskeläinen
Subject: Re: I'm a newb, looking for guidance
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2008 12:29:33 +0200
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20081105)

Hi Jay,

Welcome on the board!

Jay Sullivan wrote:
> Hi, I'm very interested in helping out with the grub project, but I don't
> know where to begin!  I've been interested in the project for a long time,
> but I try to respect people's time and I don't like to ask stupid questions
> until I've searched hard for the answers by myself.  I've tried very hard to
> find good documentation for GRUB, but, erm......all of the decent tutorials
> out there are incomplete at best, and many of them make too many assumptions
> to be very helpful.  I've read many tutorials but it seems like each one
> conflicts with the others.

I assume you are wanting to help with GRUB 2.

Well we have wiki.

This is supposed to be central point for developer oriented information.
There are parts that are outdated. So if you see something weird or
would like to know something better, please ask so we can improve the wiki.

> First of all, I'm having trouble even understanding the grub architecture,
> and most of that is because I am constantly seeing conflicting information
> all over the internet due to the common fact that many people are ambiguous
> with which branch of grub they are referring to. Also, there seems to be a
> plague of broken and outdated links.

For GRUB 2 there exists only one official development branch (there are
others but basically we want to keep it as one branch). Idea for GRUB 2
is to promote other people to contribute patches to upstream.

> In general, though, I've found that grub is extremely underdocumented; but
> of the reading material which I have found to be at all helpful, there is a
> MAJOR tendency to overcomplicate things.  I have a background in C and x86
> assembly programming, and have had my fair share of device driving
> programming.  I enjoy helping others track down bugs in their code, and I
> love writing idiot-proof tutorials (being the idiot that I am).
> I'm not afraid to sit down and read thousands of lines of code if that's
> what it takes to be up to date with the project. I just want to make sure
> I'm not headed in the wrong direction or anything.

Ask what you want to know :)

> I remember reading a LONG time ago that the ETA for GRUB-2.0 was "November
> 2008," and so I expected to start seeing a lot more tutorials devoted to
> helping people prepare for it, but this hasn't happened as quickly as I'd
> hoped.  So I figured I would try to delve into the project and see what's
> REALLY going on.

I would assume 2006 but hey :). So basically there are things to be
done. There are different roles of developers. Some of them are
developing specific features, and some of them are trying to catch up
with features of GRUB legacy, and some just trying to follow the
"roadmap" for GRUB 2. Which is kinda zapped at this time.

Keypoint here is, what are your interests? What do you want to work on.

Some pointers that we see missing:

Oh.. before you start coding. Better start discussion on this list
because there might be others working on the same thing, or there might
be some ideas from long term developers how it should be made.

> I've only been using linux for a little over a year, and before that was a
> windows programmer (yes, I'm ashamed of my past), so I know I won't be much
> help as far as programming anything useful anytime soon.  I can, however,
> offer to seek and hunt down typos or inconsistencies in the code comments,
> that is unless the grub team is against that idea.  I think proper
> documentation is the key to any project's long term survival, and I take
> comments seriously and expect them to be unambiguous and at the same time
> not superfluous.

Don't be shamed by your past. It is good to have variable development

Documentation for GRUB 2 is missing so I have nothing against updating
that one.

However just walking the source code and trying to understand everything
 might be boring task. So I would prefer that take some of the bugs and
see how they work (or why they wont) and then discuss it. Please skip
bug reports about GRUB legacy and look at GRUB 2 issues if you go that path.

Vesa Jääskeläinen

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