Why organize kernelnewbies as a community?
There are a number of reasons why kernelnewbies is organized as a community project. The most important one is that there are a lot more newbies than experienced kernel hackers, and it would be quite easy for the newbies to completely overwhelm the kernel hackers with questions. In fact, this used to happen before kernelnewbies was started...
In a community, the kernel newbies can figure things out together, with an occasional hint from experienced kernel hackers.
But surely the kernel hackers know more?
Before going into this question, lets start with an urban legend:
There was a university where computer science students could ask programming questions to faculty staff.
However, before taking their problem and question to the staff, they first had to explain their problem and ask their question to a teddy bear in the lobby. Legend has it that 90% of the students found the answer to their question after putting their problem in words, just by asking it to the teddy bear.
They never needed to ask the staff, all they needed was to organize their thoughts.
OK, so maybe experienced kernel hackers know more than an individual kernel newbie. However, there is no guarantee that the kernel hacker knows exactly what you ask, and even less chance of the kernel hacker having the time to help you formulate the right question.
By exploring the kernel together, kernel newbies not only learn technical details, but also the way of thinking that makes it easier to formulate easy to answer questions and the skills needed to solve problems themselves. The kernel equivalent of learning to fish, if you will.
How can I participate?
The mailing list and irc are great for discussing things. IRC in particular is excellent for brain storming.
The wiki is more to write down and explain things that other kernel newbies in the future will want to know. Any contribution to the wiki is welcome, even if it is just one extra entry for the KernelGlossary. Every little bit helps.