My LFX Mentorship Program Experience

Shefali Sharma
3 min readOct 15, 2022


This year I had the opportunity to intern at ELISA (Enabling Linux in Safety-Critical Applications) under the LFX Mentorship Program. My mentors for the program were Ms. Shuah Khan who is a Kernel Maintainer and Mr. Milan Lakhani who is a Systems and Software Engineer at Codethink.

ELISA is a project by the Linux Foundation that aims to create a shared set of tools and processes to help communities build and certify Linux-based safety-critical applications and systems whose failure could result in loss of life, significant property, or environmental damage. It has several dedicated working groups that focus on providing resources for System integrators to apply and use to analyze qualitatively and quantitatively on their systems, namely Automotive, Development Process, Medical Devices, Safety Architecture, Aerospace, and more.

I was working with the Medical Devices WG where we were doing analysis on OpenAPS. I started the program in March 2022 on a part-time basis which lasted for 24 weeks. I had weekly meetings every Wednesday with my mentors and other members of the Medical Devices WG — Ms. Kate Stewart, Ms. Nicole Pappler, Mr. Jason Smith, and Mr. Jeffrey Osier-Mixon. We worked on Tracing, STPA Analysis, and discussed important things we should consider for the evaluating safety of Linux-based Medical Devices.

In the initial months, I was assigned some tasks to learn about the Linux kernel and various tools and techniques for tracing it, like strace for system call analysis, ftrace for kernel function call analysis. I went through a lot of blogs and books to understand the kernel. I have listed some helpful resources in the end for reference.

During the program, I analyzed some workloads under strace to see how they interact with the kernel and determine the Linux Subsystems they use. I wrote a detailed White Paper on my findings that can aid other ELISA Working Groups in their analysis as understanding the system workload needs is very helpful for evaluating safety considerations and avoiding regressions. I also presented my work at the ELISA Summit 2022. It was my first presentation at a technical conference and it helped me to work on my public speaking skills.

It was overall a life-changing experience for me, while working on this project I realized that kernel and systems programming is what excites me the most. I like to explore how things work from their base level and working on the kernel allows me to do so and open my mind to new things. I am very sure now that I want to pursue a career in it.

I am very grateful to my mentors and all the members of the ELISA Medical Devices WG for believing in me and for their stimulating guidance and unending support. I would also like to thank the Linux Foundation for providing me with this platform. The program gave me good exposure to the Linux kernel, Core C Programming, Tracing, and STPA Analysis.

Useful Resources

Kernel Development (LFD103)
Write your own Operating System
Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces
OSDev Wiki
LF Live: Mentorship Series
Computer Science from the Bottom Up
Linux Device Drivers, Third Edition
Operating Systems: Principles and Practice
Understanding Linux Network Internals
Read-Copy Update (RCU) Publications
Operating System Design: The Xinu Approach