Uh, this one is really simple.
Don't start at the kernel, idiot. Don't start at a compiler or programming language or other system part, fool.
I think some people might be getting lost in what the real problem might be. Your post is spot on, people starting out shouldn't be messing with projects that technical or important. Your delivery however is, in my opinion, the problem. A kid right out of college looking for a place to start helping could be told a lot better than, hey idiot, get lost, in response to a request. That kind of attitude wouldn't fly in a corporate environment, but it has been pretty common in this thread. Civility and understanding can go a long way and do a lot of good to help, even if the answer is no thank you, or not right now.