Tag Archives: linux

There’s more than one way to linkspam (21 February 2014)

  • Being Trans in the Tech Industry | Brook Shelly on The Toast (Feb 7, 2014): “For trans women that choose to not disclose their history to employers, coworkers, or even the world at large – which is our right – we face the struggle of speaking up that might force our hand on disclosure. If I call out or discuss something transmisogynistic, do they see me in a different light? At what point do I become safely “othered” in their mind?”
  • We Know Tech Companies Are Sexist, But This Is Horrifying | Mark Gongloff on The Huffington Post (Feb 5, 2014): “Please first take note of the breathtaking lack of women in executive positions across the entire corporate universe. But then look at just how much worse things are in Silicon Valley: Nearly half of the SV 150 companies have no female executives at all, while 84 percent of the S&P 500 manages to have at least one. That is an astounding number.”
  • Black Canary is a Totally Bisexual Superhero on “Arrow,” Kissed A Hot Lady On TV Last Night | Mey on Autostraddle (Feb 6, 2014): “In the latest episode of the CW’s show Arrow, “Heir to the Demon,” one of the main characters, Sara Lance, also known as the superhero Black Canary, came out as queer. She’s the first superhero from one of the two major companies (DC and Marvel) to be visibly and explicitly queer on either television or film.”
  • These Women Are Building The Software That Quietly Runs The World | Julie Bort on Business Insider Australia (Feb 10, 2014): “we asked the Linux Foundation, the granddaddy of all open-source projects, to give us a list of stand-out women doing fabulous work. […] So, here’s our list of women with awesome careers working on Linux, the tech that’s quietly running the world.”
  • Sunday Reflections: Time to Not Be Nice | Christie on Teen Librarian Toolbox (Feb 9, 2014): “Girls (and women) do not need to be ‘friendly’ on the internet. We need to be intelligent, coherent, sound, passionate, and LOUD in our voices, our passions, and for our beliefs and for our rights. We need to stand up for the right to control our bodies, no matter whether it is to have children or not, no matter whether it is to have sex or not, and to have the right to choose WHEN and WHERE that encounter is. We need to be able to have the voice to say NO when we don’t want something, no matter if it’s a hug, a glance, someone calling us honey or sweetheart, or even a slice of cheese on a hamburger.”
  • Women who program aren’t unicorns | Julia Evans  on Medium (Feb 10, 2104): “I know so many women who code now. A ton of the people I follow on Twitter are women and the people I talk to about programming are largely women. I feel surprised when I go to a meetup and it’s all men, because it’s no longer the community that I’m used to.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Loss of virtue in a linkspam is irretrievable (12th December, 2010)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the geekfeminism tag on delicious or the #geekfeminism tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Open thread: penguins descending a hill

Even if you are the geek who geeks Linux the least, I think you can fully appreciate that penguins descending a hill are awesome:

Six penguins are seen from slightly below, walking down a groove in an icy slope
see more Daily Squee

Takes me back to my youth, playing Tux Racer. For nostalgic folk, or for people who have never yet controlled a penguin sliding down ice on its round belly while cheesy music plays, the version of the Tux Racer game that seems to be still actively developed is Extreme Tux Racer, versions available for Linux, MacOS and Windows. What other freely available games do you play in nostalgic moments?

If you have something to talk about other than penguins changing altitude, or game nostalgia, feel free. This is an open thread for discussion of anything of interest, including older posts, winter plans, summer days, and geek feminist rallying.

Shuttleworth apologises for last year’s comments at LinuxCon

Remember how last September in a keynote speech at LinuxCon, Mark Shuttleworth (Self-Appointed Benevolent Dictator For Life of the Ubuntu Linux project) made a series of comments including one about how “us guys” in the Linux community have trouble “explaining to girls what we actually do”? At the time, I posted an open letter to Mark, saying,

I’d like to invite you to think about the message you’re sending to women in the Linux community, and, if you didn’t mean to convey the message that we’re technical illiterates and hard to educate, consider apologising publicly.

There’s a followup post with more information, and in November last year Shuttleworth responded in comment on another post on the subject. However, he did not apologise at that time.

So, I’m glad to be able to report that the other day, in the comment thread on a post about “tribalism” on his own blog, he offered an apology after prompting by Máirín Duffy and Carla Schroder:

I apologize unreservedly to all offended by my poor choice of language on that or other occasions.

Better late than never! I know that several Ubuntu women I’ve spoken to are pleased and relieved that Shuttleworth finally apologised, even if it’s not a textbook apology. So, thank you, Mark. I hope you’ll continue listening to the women in your community, and think about the effects of your words in future.

LinuxCon Wants You!

I’ve been talking to some of the organizers of LinuxCon, and they are very interested in making sure that all women in the Linux community feel encouraged to submit a CFP to speak at LinuxCon. So if you weren’t sure if LinuxCon was right for you or your friends, consider this your personal invitation, and get those proposals in ASAP!

We’d like to encourage all women in the Linux community to submit a proposal to speak at LinuxCon, the industry’s premiere Linux conference. While our CFP has closed officially, we still have it open to receive last minute submissions.

LinuxCon 2010 is taking place August 10-12 in Boston, MA and will bring together the best and brightest that the Linux community has to offer, including core developers, administrators, end users, community managers and industry experts. LinuxCon provides an unmatched collaboration and education space for all matters Linux. With a wide range of speakers and attendees, LinuxCon offers a unique conference experience that encourages collaboration, progress and interaction. We invite you to share your ideas and experiences with the Linux community by submitting proposals for presentations, tutorials, birds of a feather sessions, panels, lightning sessions and workgroups.

http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/linuxcon/cfp

We’ve got some more exciting LinuxCon related news coming, so stay tuned!

Picspam from linux.conf.au

The narratives will come. Tomorrow, gentle readers. Till then, a picspam:

Angie Byron playing with Sridhar’s OLPC at the networking event at the Opera House.

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Angela’s picture!

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New Zealand Wool, maybe with some possum in it:

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Jamie’s “Friends Help Friends With Linux” shirt:
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My Mac talks to an Aiko/Arduino/Pebble thing:

aiko says hi!

Nic’s beer cozy mod, for a camera holder on wheelchair:

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Nancy who gave the genderchanger/etc talk:

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Girl Geek Dinner:

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Miskatonic U. Alumn, with small Ada:

miskatonic
We have the same hackerspace tshirt so we must be almost related:

noisebridge tshirts

Susanne Ruthven and Andrew Ruthven and kids, conference organizers:

Linux.conf.au organizers

We are invited to do the Ka Mate Haka:

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Last but not least, the Linuxchix Gentlemen’s Auxiliary:

Linuxchix Gentlemen's Auxiliary

“Issues of Women in Open Source” for Ubuntu Open Week, and “Why?”

Elizabeth Krumbach is a long time linux user and contributer who was elected to the Ubuntu Community Council last month. (Congrats Lyz!) These are some of her thoughts on the question, “Why are you involved with promoting Women in F/OSS?” (cross-posted from her blog).

Last week I did a presentation for Ubuntu Open Week on the Ubuntu Women Project covering some of the “Issues” that are involved in why many women feel discouraged within the community. Full logs of the session can be found here. Mackenzie Morgan followed up my session with one describing what the Ubuntu Women project is actually doing to address these concerns, full logs of her session are here.

Truly Mackenzie’s session was much more valuable than mine, and I’d like to do away with mine entirely when more people understand that there are challenges facing women who join F/OSS communities. Unfortunately each time we have one of these sessions we spend a considerable amount of time justifying the project to folks – why we exist and why we are so targeted toward women (rather than other groups who are poorly represented).

The sessions went well, the questions were good and engaging, and once again it’s nice to have such a supportive community.

After the session I was asked a question privately which seemed simple but really got me thinking:

“Why are you involved with promoting Women in F/OSS, did these groups actually help you? How?”

So to simply answer the second question first – yes, they absolutely helped me, I would never have made it this far without groups like Ubuntu Women and LinuxChix.

How did they help? I’ve wanted to write a long “How Women in F/OSS groups helped me” essay for quite some time now, but I never quite get around to it, so here’s the rough version:

When I started using Linux back in 2002 it was with significant help of my boyfriend at the time. I had a number of local friends who were supportive of my involvement, but I always felt like I was at least 20 steps behind all my friends when learning things, was too timid to ask questions in any public forums, and even with supportive friends at the local LUG meeting, I always felt a bit uncomfortable as one of the only women.

My boyfriend discovered LinuxChix in late 2002 and pointed me in that direction – suddenly I wasn’t alone anymore! In 2003 I worked with Samantha Ollinger to launch the Philadelphia chapter of LinuxChix so I could meet up with more local women using Linux. The local chapter and international LinuxChix lists provided a comfortable environment where we should share stories of success and frustration, get advice from each other on many issues, and simply geek out with other women who shared our interests. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have loads of fun with my male geek friends, but there is something vital to me about being able to commune with other women. Feeling less alone as a women in F/OSS made a huge difference for me.

In 2006 I got involved with Ubuntu Women, which has been the only specifically geared group I’ve been a part of for encouraging women within a project. It’s been an important “safe place” for me to discuss things I encounter within the project, bounce ideas off of others, answer questions that folks ask about expanding involvement of women in their projects. What I’ve gained from this project through the support of peers is the confidence to be heavily involved in the Ubuntu community. I’ve made friends through the project who I know I can drop a note to when feeling frustrated and need a sanity check (am I overreacting to be offended by $this? how should I confront $situation without upsetting others?).

So now that I’m full of confidence and successful in F/OSS, why am I still so involved? Why do I choose to spend my time with this?

I’m involved because I feel that having as many people involved with Ubuntu as possible is important and I have the expertise to focus on women as a group to recruit from.

I’m involved because it still helps me, and encouraging and supporting others is very rewarding for me.

I’m involved because my success is not a solitary story, there are several women involved with the Ubuntu community who will state that they’ve been helped by the project or those involved in the project who have learned lessons through involvement and have striven to be more welcoming and encouraging to women in their projects and LoCo teams.

I’m involved because I’ve watched women who felt they couldn’t contribute, who people assumed were “just at an event because they’re someone’s mother/sister/girlfriend” blossom into active members of their LoCo teams because someone spoke to them to find out their interests and talents and get them involved.

I am hopeful that lessons learned within the Ubuntu Women Project regarding support and encouragement will continue become more and more a part of the Ubuntu community. Whether we’re focusing on recruiting more women, more people in our local communities, educators, our grandparents or anyone else, I feel support and encouragement for new contributors of all kinds to the project will remain important to the project and community.

Interview with Indymedia sys admin Kristina Clair

Yesterday the EFF reported on a “secret” subpoena served by the U.S. government on Kristina Clair, the sysadmin for the independent news site indymedia.us. The subpoena demanded information on all IP traffic for the site. It also demanded that Clair keep the request secret.

With free legal help from the EFF, the subpoena was dropped and the secrecy order abandoned. Take a look at this long report by an EFF Senior Staff Attorney, which goes into fascinating detail.

Kristina Clair with handknitted scarf

Kristina Clair with handknitted scarf

Right on Kristina, for not keeping logs of IP addresses in the first place, and for standing up for First Amendment rights. It seems well in keeping with The System Administrators’ Code of Ethics as well as with the EFF’s Best Practices for Online Service Providers.

I thought geekfeminism readers might be interested in more of Kristina’s story, so I asked her a few questions over email.

Here’s the interview!

Liz: When you got the subpoena, how and when did you decide to contact the EFF? Did you talk it over first with others? What was it like to call the EFF and ask for their help?

Kristina: Actually, someone who helps admin the server asked a general question on an Indymedia mailing list, and they recommended the EFF for Indymedia-related legal questions.

I was definitely completely clueless about any legal processes, so it was a bit nerve-wracking to talk to them and say, ‘Hey I got this thing and I have no idea what to do about it’. But they were completely helpful from the beginning and made me feel comfortable right away.

Liz: As a sys admin, how did you decide *not* to keep IP logs?

Kristina: It’s standard imc policy. It’s standard policy for anyone that wants to keep their visitors’ information private.

Liz: Is there any use of IPs of your sites’ visitors that the site owners or you might find useful? In other words, what factors might make you want to keep IPs?

Kristina: I can only speak for myself – I’ve found IP addresses to be useful for debugging. Sometimes the only way I’ve been able to track down an error in Apache’s error log and tie it to a page visit by the IP. I’ve also used IPs to track down hacker behavior on servers, but that’s not always reliable because hackers often connect from several places.

I think generally IP addresses are used for statistical data – the country, mainly. But I think if you really wanted that data but didn’t want to store IP addresses you could find a way to do it.

Liz: Is your work for Indymedia volunteer? Do you do similar work for other organizations? Personally, I tend to do a bunch of back end support work for nonprofits and organizations that I like. Do you have any advice for other volunteer sys admins and web hosts?

Kristina: Yes, Indymedia work is volunteer. I also do some volunteer work for riseup.

I tend to not do too much support for other organizations because my skillset is not desktop-oriented, and that’s generally what they need. I’m completely useless setting up a windows network or setting up a printer or things like that!

The common advice for volunteer work is to have good boundaries with it so that it doesn’t burn you out.

Liz: What are your thoughts in general about free speech, privacy, technology, activism and so on?

Kristina: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about personal information and privacy. There is one train of thought I’ve been interested in for the last several months which is more personal than activist: before computers and emails and blogs, people commonly wrote letters and kept written journals. These things were not things that are necessarily accessible to anyone except those who had physical access. They were private. when that person died,they would go to a family member, probably. Now, these types of things are often not even things that we own ourselves. Most people have email or blogs hosted on someone else’s server, and while they can still access that information, it’s not quite the same as having it physically on paper. That’s a huge history of personal communication that is sitting on a hard drive somewhere, connected to the Internet.

There is something to this that I haven’t quite been able to articulate,but that’s where my interest has been lately in regards to technology and privacy.

I guess where it starts to matter is that, at least in my mind, there is some degree to which all of this information is public, regardless of what information someone wants to be public — obviously people want their blogs public! Privacy is really hard to think about and protect when non-privacy is so convenient. It’s important to me to help provide alternatives for people who want to use the Internet but are concerned about privacy.

Finally, doing all of this in a way that supports freedom of information and open source keeps things really interesting.

In the past, in the activist realm I’ve done a lot more work having to do with accessibility, particularly in regards to gender in IT.I’ve done a lot of work with the genderchangers (genderchangers.org) and the eclectic tech carnival, which are both based in Europe. Both groups focus on technology education for women.there is also a project which I helped create called systerserver, which is a Linux server administered by women for the purposes of learning. Due to some hardware troubles, this project has been moving forward slowly lately.

Liz: It looks like you’re part of LinuxChix and other local Philadelphia computing organizations. Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with them and what the Linux/FLOSS scene is like in Philly?

I haven’t been actively involved in LinuxChix for quite some time, actually. I’ve been a bit of a lone wolf here – all of my collaborators and coworkers live elsewhere.

Liz: Have you experienced any particular sexism or solidarity in your field?

Yes, lots and lots of sexism. My favorite examples of this are when I’ve received emails that begin with “Dear Sir,” in reply to an email that I’ve sent and signed with my name.

I’ve been lucky to have a lot of positive experiences with men in the field, however. The person who taught me Perl is male, and I’m currently doing some work with the riseup collective whose members are extremely aware of gender issues in the field and take active steps to discourage it.

Liz: Can you tell me a bit about yourself, personal history or interests, what kind of work you do, and so on?

I’ve been working in web hosting for about 10 years, mostly programming Perl and administering linux servers. Recently I’ve been working with ruby and ruby on rails on the crabgrass project.

I’m protective of my time and spend as little time as possible in front of a computer, though! I have balanced it out by extremely physically-oriented activities like cooking, knitting, sewing, and yoga.

Liz: What are your favorite Linux distros?

I like CentOS and Debian for servers, and I use Ubuntu for a desktop (I really like Ubuntu 9.10).

Thanks to Kristina for the interview!

Open Letter to Mark Shuttleworth

COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED ON THIS POST. There is a followup post here.

Another conference, another sexist comment in a keynote speech by a leader in the open source community. And September was going so well!

I just sent the following to Mark Shuttleworth, founder and leader of the Ubuntu Linux project.

Hi Mark,

I’m writing to you as a woman who has been involved in Linux and open source for more than 15 years, and who has been very involved in discussions around women in open source of late; I recently keynoted OSCON and Atlanta Linux Fest on the subject, and I also run the Geek Feminism wiki (http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/) and blog (http://geekfeminism.org/).

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make it to LinuxCon this year; I hear it’s a pretty good event. I’ve been listening with some interest to people’s reports of what’s going on there, and this afternoon I heard from multiple sources about your keynote, in which you referred to our work in Linux as being “hard to explain to girls”.

I wanted to bring this up because I think what you said in that talk was pretty dismissive of the skill and dedication that many women have already brought to Linux, not only as designers and documenters (which I gather you mentioned in your talk) but as coders, release managers, sysadmins, and more — and of those who might be interested in the future.

2009 is shaping up to be a watershed year for women in open source. We have seen numerous high profile incidents where men have made remarks in conference presentations which have dismissed, marginalised, or upset women; we’ve seen an increase in discussion on blogs, mailing lists, and twitter/identica; many conferences have invited speakers (including myself) to keynote on the subject of inclusivity and diversity; and a number of efforts towards recruiting and supporting a more diverse open source community have been launched. In light of the attention the subject has been getting of late, your comment at LinuxCon seems oblivious at best, and only serves to further damage the Linux community’s reputation.

I’d like to invite you to think about the message you’re sending to women in the Linux community, and, if you didn’t mean to convey the message that we’re technical illiterates and hard to educate, consider apologising publicly.

Yours,

Kirrily Robert

Just a note to new readers here at GF.org: we have a comment policy that you should read before commenting.

COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED ON THIS POST. There is a followup post here.

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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