[opensource] Women in Software: Open Source, Cold Shoulder

Nandan bagchee at cse.ohio-state.edu
Tue Jan 18 12:20:45 EST 2005

On Tue, 18 Jan 2005, Ted Han wrote:

>I think your rant started far prior to your <** begin rant> tag...

Yes. I thought the article was terrible, biased, and a crock. So I didn't see
any need to hold back from the flamefest.

>Also, i'm not sure how ranting is supposed to solve the problem,

It isn't.

>particularly in an issue like this.  The entire computer science world suffers
>from a gender imbalance, if you want to claim that OSS is no

Probably. Is this inadvertent or purposeful? I dunno. What will make it better?
Are there significant barriers to entry for women? Probably not overt [1]. Our
own CSE undergrad sequence would heavily benefit from a little less
engineering, and dollops more python. Show someone how cool it is to write

>def makeadder(number):
>  def anadder(z):
>    return z+number;
>  return makeadder;

Rather than endlessly boring them with formal methods, factory patterns
engineering specs, language syntax. Teach them design principles, even more
perhaps organizational principles. It is quite clear that CS and the real world
are quite divorced. Do something to narrow the gap, and as it becomes more of a
viable profession, we'll remedy the gender gap.

>different, flaming people is probably not the best way to win friends.

No it isn't. Wasn't even trying. Really, you couldn't tell? ;-)

>And what you've placed between the rant tags isn't a rant, it's one long ad
>hominim which seems to serve no real purpose other than to insult oddly

Yes it is ad hominem. But entirely tongue in cheek (Java/C++, fink-debian)

>enough, the subject of this whole debate, that is, a woman.  You may not agree
>with her, you may think she has all her facts wrong, but all you've

True that I think she has her facts wrong. It may be instructive to read
Achilles and the Ant-eater (Hofstadter) though.

>just demonstrated is that you can make presumptuous, stereotypical and
>generalizing comments about her.

They were made on purpose, and entirely tongue-in-cheek. I thought it was
humorous, the fink-python-debiandevel part. They were so off the wall
presumptuous and stereotypical, that I thought people would see them for the
black humor they were. Apparently not. However, I enjoyed writing it. I don't
think any less of Ms Levesque, or that she's actually dumb -- and I know
she's quite au fait with open source too, judging by her web-site. If you
thought I was serious, you have a mistaken impression about me.

Well I was serious about the part that it's a dumb article :-)

>Way to solve the problem.

Wasn't trying to.


[1] One very disturbing study showed how merely changing the author's name to reflect
a female gender caused articles submitted to peer-review journals to be summarily rejected.
I don't remember the study name or authors, but afaik it was a UK study. Now that was a
good article, if you're looking for one.

Nandan Bagchee

Patriots don't use Linux.

		-- c.o.l.a

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