[opensource] Women in Software: Open Source, Cold Shoulder
ijones at syntaxpolice.org
Tue Jan 18 01:24:24 EST 2005
I don't know if it's just me, but I only just received this email...
"B A Bair" <bbair at cse.ohio-state.edu> writes:
> Our aim is not to complain yet again about gender imbalance in
I sure would like to read something about what your typical
open-source hacker can do to make things better. "Don't be a jerk" is
a good starting place I guess.
> Instead, we believe that the gender skew in FLOSS is the most
> visible symptom of a fundamental unfriendliness in that community.
I think this is a very interesting correlation. There's a group
called "debian-women" which is, from what I hear, a pretty good place
to ask general questions about Debian without getting flamed. Debian
is a particularly flameful organization. Here's one of my all-time
favorite flames (names removed to protect the guilty):
>> I have nothing against flamewars, have all of them you want, because you
>> are right, one man's flamewar is another's rational discussion. Just
>> don't try to pretend that they don't exist.
> They exist only in your mind. You sound paranoid-delusional to
> me. Strangely enough, around here we *don't* all mindlessly flame each
> other all the time. People like that rapidly burn out and go away.
> People who spend all their time in hand-wringing about how everybody
> is mindlessly flaming each other all the time, unfortunately only burn
> out and go away slowly; if we could get rid of these impediments to
> useful communication faster then we'd get things done a bit more
> smoothly. But they're still self-destructive and go away with time.
Yes, that's someone calling someone else "paranoid-delusional" because
he thinks that there are flamewars on the debian-devel mailing list.
I'm having trouble following the quotes becuase they aren't rendered
correctly for me, but:
> Twenty years later, FLOSS has become a haven for the antisocial
> singular-interest geek: a club where they are safe from the jeers of
> high school jocks and the pity of college peers who actually have
> something to do on Friday nights. Challenges to this culture are
> often taken very personally;
um. why in the world would anyone take something like that personally.
I mean... it's not as though the author just insulted us personally or
> anyone who points out that its an unwelcoming environment for
> most people (male as well as female)
I see a bit of a contradiction here. A "haven" is a safe place, but
the open source world is anything but safe. You have to have a really
thick skin to get along, as the author seems to be pointing out.
> LinuxChix is just one example of a community formed by and for women
Debian-women is another one:
> We certainly arent welcome at Slashdot.
Slashdot is not representative of the free software "community".
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