To be sure, the kernel has unique qualities. It enforces its own rules and the stakes, managing the entire system as the kernel does, are certainly higher. That said, the Linux kernel's complexity and barrier-to-entry is not qualitatively different from any other large software project. The most important step on the road to Linux development is the realization that the kernel is not something to fear. Unfamiliar, sure. Insurmountable? Not at all.
This and the previous chapter lay the foundation for the topics we cover through this book's remaining chapters. In each subsequent chapter, we cover a specific kernel concept or subsystem. Along the way, it is imperative that you read and modify the kernel source. Only through actually reading and experimenting with the code can you ever understand it. The source is freely available—use it!