||[Feb. 12th, 2011 | 22:21]
Mike, George, Edwin, Gerd, TI,whatever you call me
I think I need to start some sort of blog/series-of-entries/webpage that details my attempts to learn more about computing. There's a lot I want to know, and want to be able to do, but it seems very difficult to track down answers. I currently know enough about how computers work to satisfy myself from two directions, but there's a hole in the middle.
big bang -> matter -> elements -> semiconductors -> switching and logic circuits -> microprocessors -> (somehow a computer times all the stuff it does? clock cycles? busses?) -> ... -> (kernel...does things) -> control is passed to shell or other program that interprets user commands -> GUIs -> convenient human interface design -> presence in the workplace -> sociological impact -> future applications
There's a big nasty gap in the middle. People have understood these details before. Heck, people invented these things on their own without having someone around to explain it. I want to understand it.
I want to know my operation system inside out. What is the bare minimum I would need to put on a partition to be able to boot it and say my computer is running Linux? Linux is just the kernel. Do I need more than a kernel image file? What tells the kernel what to do after things are initialized? Does the kernel actually initialize anything, or does it simply load and then immediately start executing other software to configure the computer? What is the source of all the information printed during startup?
The list is longer than I can think to list, but they all come from a simple lack of understanding of what is actually going on. Learning it isn't as hard as having to answer all my questions one-by-one. I need someplace to start, though.
In other news, I'm exhausted from a great Snowy Winter Adventurethon, with lots of sledding and snow throwing and hill climbing and even pizza. I need to make some badges for people, possibly out of broken bits of sled from one of the busted-up ones at the bottom of the
cliff hill we were sledding down. I'll need a hot glue gun or something, though.