Tag Archives: free software

MikeeUSA’s code, now available on geekfeminism.org

Trigger warning: some linked pages contain hate speech and threats of violence against women.

While I completely support SourceForge’s decision to remove MikeeUSA‘s code for violation of their Terms of Service, I can’t help kinda feeling sorry for the guy, because apparently he didn’t have any other copies.

Let’s face it, he’s not a very experienced developer, and he can’t be expected to understand advanced topics like, oh, keeping backups, especially since he spends so much time on his activism, which no doubt distracts him from real coding.

Good thing us feminists are here to help him out. It just so happens that we had a copy of some of the code that was deleted, so we’ve forked it under the terms of the GPL, and made it available at:

http://code.geekfeminism.org/mikeeusa/

[2014 edit: Leigh got tired of running that server so she stopped hosting it. You can see an old snapshot on archive.org, in the unlikely event that you give a shit.]

It’s a Mercurial repository, and you can either browse it over the web, or clone it using your favourite Mercurial client. I know distributed version control can be a bit daunting for newbie developers, but perhaps Mikee can find a friend to help him out with it.

But we didn’t just post his code as-is. We’ve improved it! As a Perl developer and veteran CPAN contributor, I was able to make a start at cleaning up the worst bits of his slots game, though I must admit that my work was slowed down by the urge to send almost every line of it to TheDailyWTF.

$htmlsave =~ s/./__________THISISAPERIOD__________/g;
$htmlsave =~ s/W//g;
$htmlsave =~ s/__________THISISAPERIOD__________/./g;

And we also improved his Crossfire maps, especially one set in Russia which we switched to Ponyland, where you help the Pony Liberation Army free Ponyland from the trolls. Everyone loves ponies, right?

We think you’ll especially enjoy the new textures we’ve added:

Ponies - a vast improvement!

They might not improve playability, but from what we’ve heard, there wasn’t much playability to start with.

As Free Software developers, we honour the Four Software Freedoms, and gladly recognise Mikee’s right to run these programs, study and learn from them, redistribute copies, and even modify them — provided, of course, that attribution is given to the geekfeminism.org developers.

ETA: Comments on this post are now closed — yes, early — as we seem to have reached the point of nothing new being added to the discussion.

Her Links Rose Up Forever (18th September, 2009)

Upcoming conferences

I’m going to be keynoting two conferences in the next month or so with extended remixes of the talk I gave at OSCON about women in open source, Standing Out in the Crowd. I’m very pleased to be have the opportunity to expand on some of the subjects I had to rush past in the fifteen minute version.

The first event is this coming Saturday the 19th of September. Atlanta Linux Fest is a free, grassroots event for the Linux and Open Source community and will feature lots of other great speakers including Ellen Ko, Rikki Kite, Michelle Hall, and more. If you’re in the Atlanta area you should come on by! Register here!

The second is ZendCon, a PHP conference in San Jose on October 19-22. My keynote’s on the 21st. Other women speaking include Sara Golemon and Elizabeth Marie Smith. If you’d like to attend, I’ve got a discount code for readers of this blog: enter “YDSK9″ at registration time and you will get 5% off whatever package you choose.

If you’re at either event, please come and say hi!

Hiring women

Terri recently pointed out that one way to involve more women in open source is to hire them into open source companies, an approach which works for other technology sectors as well.

I’m looking for advice and resources for putting this into practice, particularly in technology companies with a paucity of women. Assuming the company has open positions to fill, there is work to be done in order to:

  • make the case for gender diversity with hiring managers
  • attract applications from women candidates
  • ensure equal opportunity for women in the selection process
  • retain women once they’ve joined the organization

I’d like to hear your ideas and suggestions.

This isn’t only an academic exercise on my part, as we have openings to fill in my department, which currently includes less than 5% women.  We’re looking for an exceptional manager and a variety of talented engineers.

Our most qualified applicants generally come from the open source community and/or the software industry, both of which have their own gender imbalances, and so we tend to receive comparatively few applications from women.  Interviews and selection decisions are virtually all conducted by men, whose expectations have been forged in this environment, and in other, similar companies and communities.  Our culture reflects those origins, which is to say that it has its share of issues which affect women.

How can I, and others in this position, effect change for the better?

Please send in your suggestions in the comments or add them to the wiki.

FSF mini-summit: were you invited?

Just how “mini” is this FSF mini-summit on women in Free Software anyway? We know that Deb Nicholson, Hillary Rettig, and Stormy Peters will be there, but who else will be?

I wasn’t invited. I haven’t heard of anyone else who was invited. Have you?

If you have any information, post it in comments and I’ll update this post with a running list.

Update: Christine Spang was also invited.

Women in FLOSS, tell Bruce Perens you exist

Unicorn check-in time for women in open source!

Bruce Perens seems to think that women aren’t passionate about open source software:

What I meant was that there are more women who hold technical jobs than there are women who so love the technology that they will work on it whether they get paid or not. That seems to be an especially male thing.

I told him I was, and he confused me with Yuwei Lin and then told me I (she?) was an outlier.

How about we all head on over there and tell him that a) we exist, b) we ARE passionate about open source, and c) yes there IS a problem, even if he doesn’t see it.

  1. Create an LWN account (free)
  2. Comment on this thread
  3. Prepare your bingo cards for a round of “Wow, there are girls here?!?”

I’m turning off comments on this post. Go make them on LWN, not here.

Quick hit: LWN discussion on sexism, social skills, and autism spectrum disorders

As I mentioned in the link roundup, the LWN thread on the Free Software Foundation’s women in Free Software mini-summit will burn your sanity points. But there’s an interesting comment thread involving Matthew Garrett (mjg59) and Bruce Perens about Asperger’s and high functioning autism and what can be expected from people with Asperger’s if they are critised for sexist behaviour or otherwise offending people.

I wanted to highlight this discussion largely because “(s)he can’t help it, (s)he’s autistic” and the more disturbing variant “if geekdom just tossed out all those non-neurotypical folk, all the nasty sexism would go away” pop up fairly commonly in geek feminism discussions. (I don’t observe this much from geek feminists themselves, although being neurotypical I won’t be as alert to it, but certainly in the discussions.) I appreciate the considerably more nuanced discussion on this.

Note for commenters: While the LWN discussion started by talking about Richard Stallman (RMS) and the EMACs virgins incidents, statements about Stallman being neurotypical or not seem to be a matter of speculation only. Comments on this post making blanket assumptions about all neurodiverse people being unable to function in society or perform certain social tasks, or presuming that any individual is or is not neurotypical without that person’s self-identification being known, will be deleted.

Link roundup, 2nd Impact (August 27th, 2009)

  • The Free Software Foundation will host a mini-summit on women in Free Software on September 19. Seth Schoen notes that “I guess the venue and timing could be a challenge for some people (it doesn’t seem to be colocated with, or right before or after, anything else in particular)”. See LWN for some discussion, some much of it probably will cost you some sanity points.
  • OMG! Girlz Don’t Need Games or Features! — A review of the new Lilac PSP demonstrates that Sony, like many companies before, could use some lessons on how to market games and gaming systems to women.
  • Anna Filina offers her take on women in IT saying (among other things) that she hates working with women. Um?
  • Late business at the Hugo Awards in which Yonmei proposes a small modification to the nomination procedures for the Hugos to help redress the gender imbalance. Result: “There was certainly considerable SMOFFISH outrage at the idea that there could be anything imperfect or biased about the Hugo nomination system which might need to be remedied.” Links to LJ discussions at the bottom of the post.
  • ROSE blog interviews Erica Brescia (BitRock), Angela Brown (Linux Foundation), Stormy Peters (GNOME Foundation), and Dru Lavigne (BSD).
  • Another round of technology and gender images at Sociological Images, including a woman tied to a bed as an inducement to buy Gameboy consoles.
  • Melissa McEwan (via M. LeBlanc) on how puzzled privileged people get when they have fun intellectual devil’s-advocate conversations about our oppression and we get personal about it.
  • The GNOME development community is planning an outreach program for women similar to the 2006 outreach program. They are looking at funding women developers to work on GNOME Shell.

Quick hit: RMS at Wikimania

I’m in Buenos Aires this week for Wikimania, the annual conference for the Wikimedia community. Also in town: Richard Stallman. Today he gave a public talk at the Teatro Presidente Alvear about Free Software, and reports are that he made his virgin joke again, only this time in a non-gender-specific way. For whatever it’s worth, one woman who was present told me, unprompted, that she found it weird and uncomfortable.

Tomorrow morning he’s keynoting the conference itself. I’ll be sitting in the front left area with a bunch of other geek feminist types. If you’d like to join us and see what transpires, please do!

Want more women in open source? Try paying them.

This is a remix of a post by the same name I made after running a BOF on attracting women to open source.

One of the most interesting suggestions I’ve heard on how to get more women into open source is pretty simple: Pay them.

As someone who loves doing this as a volunteer, I want to protest. Shouldn’t we all be doing this for the betterment of the world or something? But the more I think about it, the more I love this idea.

Think about the challenges women face getting involved with open source projects.

Feeling like they don’t belong? Paying someone is a pretty strong “we want you” signal, both to the woman herself and to others who might challenge her.

Not having enough time because of other life-work commitments? Making it your paid gig makes this the “work” part of that equation, rather than some part that just doesn’t quite fit.

Fewer opportunities for mentoring? Again, having the structure of a company behind you can make it a lot easier to ask for help within a known structure rather than trying to guess the social norms of an open source project.

There aren’t many women? Well, hiring a few is a great way to get the ball rolling, hopefully making it easier for future women. It’s an interesting way to handle the bootstrapping problem.

Paying women to do open source work isn’t going to solve all our problems, but it cuts through a lot of the Gordian knot that’s there. It just might be a useful tool for changing the status quo.