RIP Spirit?

Nov 15th, 2009 Posted in And You Did What? Where? | No Comments »
Mars Rover Spirit

Mars Rover Spirit

The rover that could, and could, and could year after year is stuck in a sand trap since this past spring. On Monday NASA will attempt to extricate the Mars Rover Spirit. You can follow the progress via news reports on the Free Spirit page, or the Mars Rover’s facebook or Twitter feeds.

Women of MER

Women of MER

And while poking around on the Mars Rover pages I found the Women on the Mars Exploration Rover team photo. What an absolutely uber cool project in which to work. Go Team :)

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people

Nov 6th, 2009 Posted in What Chix Think | No Comments »

The title is a quote by Cheris Kramarae which was subsequently quoted by Carla Schroder in her article “Sexism in FOSS” which appears in a Linux Today article. (Note: Carla is a managing editor of Linux Today and one of the current coordinators of LinuxChix.)

One of the comments to the article reads

Subject: An average male nerds take on this. “Hmmm…could it be that the low numbers of women in software in general is that most women, not persons, but women, happen to be not interested in this particular field?”

And I’m so freaking tired of “women aren’t in X profession because they are not interested,” horsesh*t. Eerily similar to this which “explains” why women didn’t need the vote.

Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. The relative positions to be assumed by man and woman in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence than ours. Grover Cleveland, 1905

Women ARE interested in open source development. Really. Women wouldn’t be so frustrated with, in its best light, the overall lack of gender diversity in the open source community if we weren’t interested in open source. Really. Women, and some men, continue to talk about the sexism that exists in FLOSS because sexism poses a barrier to participation by women in open source. Really.

Systers Pass-it-on Awards

Sep 8th, 2009 Posted in Education, F/LOSS News | No Comments »

The Anita Borg Systers Pass-it-on Award applications for a financial stipend of $500-$1000 USD to women either in, or aspiring to be in, the field of computing. From the RFP page some possible uses for the stipend could include

  • Small amount to help with studies, job transfers or other transitions in life.
  • A broader project that benefits girls and women.
  • Projects that seek to inspire more girls and women to go into the computing field.
  • Assistance with educational fees and materials.
  • Partial funding source for larger scholarship.
  • Mentoring and other supportive groups for women in technology or computing.

Applications close November 4, 2009. More information and an application can be had here

Ada Lovelace, Tasmanian Devils, and SysAdmining

Mar 24th, 2009 Posted in And You Did What? Where?, System Administration | 4 Comments »



What’s the connection? On behalf of Ada Lovelace Day LinuxChix Los Angeles is highlighting Terri Haber’s in-the-trenches-sysadmin presentation at in Hobert, Tasmania. And Terri brought back a Tuz from! And what’s a Tuz? In addition to being the mascot for, Linus Torvald is replacing Tux with Tuz for the Linux kernel release 2.6.29 to highlight the plight of the endangered Tasmanian Devils whose population is plummeting in the wild due to a contagious facial tumor disease.

Terri, Tuz, Linus, and Bdale at

Terri, Tuz, Linus, and Bdale at

And yes, that is Terri watching Linus save shave the 27 year-old-beard of Bdale Garbee to benefit Save the Tasmanian Devil foundation. (Complete slide show of the shave.)

Now back to LinuxChix Los Angeles and our contribution to Ada Lovelace Day. Ada Lovelace Day is all about highlighting the contributions of women in technology. So why Terri? Because Terri did a most difficult thing, she contributed. Contributing is hard, being visible is hard, and Terri was visibly contributing when she shared what she knew at And in her contribution, Terri advanced women’s visibility in technology. So thanks Terri, thanks for visibly contributing.

Things that make you go ummmmmmmmm.

Jan 5th, 2009 Posted in What Chix Think | No Comments »

According to the 2006 EU Floss-pols report (Free/Libre/Open Source Software: Policy Support) less than 2% of women are contributors in Open Source software, but in the proprietary software development world women contributors jump to 25%. That’s a big difference.

In the U.S., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to enforce Federal anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC defines sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. Per the EEOC definitions of sexual harassment can include:

  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.

Read the rest of this entry »


Dec 14th, 2008 Posted in What Chix Think | No Comments »

Welcome to LinuxChix Los Angeles. LinuxChix is an international group which has been active for over nine years and is a community focused on supporting women in computing, specifically in open source/free software/software libre computing. LinuxChix encourages participation by allowing quieter voices a place to speak by holding fast to two core tenets within the LinuxChix community: “be polite” and “be helpful.” The Los Angeles chapter of LinuxChix was established in 2002.

It is no secret that a deep chasm based on gender currently exists in the computing fields. A recent article in the NYTimes entitled What Has Driven Women Out of Computer Science? noted a trend up in all technical fields, with the notable exception of computer science, which is trending down. And this is fairly recent. According to the article:

“At least we know one thing: it’s possible to have about the same number of men and women in computer science classes. That just about describes classrooms of 25 years ago.”

The visibility of women in open source communities is even more dismal. According to the 2006 Free/Libre/Open Source Software: Policy Support (FLOSS-POLS) report, a mere 2% of women are active in open source projects as compared to a 25% participation rate in proprietary software development. (The FLOSS-POLS report will be discussed in more depth with later posts.)

Why? There is no easy answer, but there can be no answers at all, easy or otherwise, if the question isn’t asked. And in asking the question, the hope is to increase both the visibility and participation of women in all aspects of  open source development while at the same time exploring the strength, the knowledge, the commitment, and the diversity that women can bring to the community.

Let’s ask, let’s explore.