Author Archives: brainwane

When it changed (1998?)

Anthropologist Biella Coleman just posted “1998 and the Irish Accent is Why I Study F/OSS”. She quotes a rumination by Don Marti on 1998 as a crucial and strange year in tech:

…there was all this fascinating news and code for 
recruiting new hackers at the same time that there
 was a huge power grab intended to drive hackers out.

Biella tells her own 1998 story as well:

…that was the year I ditched my other project and decided to go with F/OSS for my dissertation….I let the idea go for a few weeks, possibly months until one Very Important Conversation over coffee transpired with an Irish classmate…

So I asked my co-bloggers to tell us whether 1998 was a pivotal year for them, too. For most of us, it was.

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Yet Another Geeky Gal

/me waves

Hi!  I’m Sumana Harihareswara, a twentysomething geeky gal living in New York City. I grew up in various US cities and states, the daughter of Indian immigrants, loving books and Star Trek. Currently I manage programmers at an open source consulting firm. With my partner (a programmer I met via his blog), this year I edited Thoughtcrime Experiments, an online scifi/fantasy anthology.

Geek communities are home to me.  I never feel more comfortable than when I’m complaining about the end of Enterprise, or joking that the problem with desktop open source software is that it so often ships with the “usability” flag set to 0 by default.

So it amazes me when leaders in my communities say and do things that exclude or demean me.  But I’m also amazed, and gratified, at how many allies I have (at WisCon, Systers, the Geek Feminism wiki…), and how visibly the tide is turning.  It’s only right that I should be a part of this effort, and blogging here is a little bit of that.

To quote myself from a discussion on Skud’s other blog: Public discussion of our values, and explicit enforcement of our norms, is nothing new to open source. And another principle in open source is that any design that makes lots of users go through some hacky workaround (â€oh, everyone just ignores that bugâ€) is long overdue for rewrite.