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I think this article that highlights discrimination against women in FOSS projects is exaggerated. I am a male and have collaborated with gender activists standing for their cause and support. Free Software, is a technical term, which provides anyone the freedom to use, modify, distribute and publish with amendment. Obviously, such an enlarged scope of freedom, I feel, is not being explored to its extent possible by women activists. The freedom to publish with amendments should propel the women activists to fork the application wherever a discrimination is observed or experienced. With the forked out branch, the women activists can attract other developers to join and participate in further development. Since the space is virtual, and creative, complaining about a minor variation will only put the male chauvinistic people at an advantage. The gender activists should create their own FOSS user groups and lead by example. Best wishes.

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I think this article that highlights discrimination against women in FOSS projects is exaggerated. I am a male and have collaborated with gender activists standing for their cause and support. Free Software, is a technical term, which provides anyone the freedom to use, modify, distribute and publish with amendment. Obviously, such an enlarged scope of freedom, I feel, is not being explored to its extent possible by women activists. The freedom to publish with amendments should propel the women activists to fork the application wherever a discrimination is observed or experienced. With the forked out branch, the women activists can attract other developers to join and participate in further development. Since the space is virtual, and creative, complaining about a minor variation will only put the male chauvinistic people at an advantage. The gender activists should create their own FOSS user groups and lead by example. Best wishes.
Posted on 02/19/2007 - 06:28 | Reply
I think this article that highlights discrimination against women in FOSS projects is exaggerated. I am a male and have collaborated with gender activists standing for their cause and support. Free Software, is a technical term, which provides anyone the freedom to use, modify, distribute and publish with amendment. Obviously, such an enlarged scope of freedom, I feel, is not being explored to its extent possible by women activists. The freedom to publish with amendments should propel the women activists to fork the application wherever a discrimination is observed or experienced. With the forked out branch, the women activists can attract other developers to join and participate in further development. Since the space is virtual, and creative, complaining about a minor variation will only put the male chauvinistic people at an advantage. The gender activists should create their own FOSS user groups and lead by example. Best wishes.
Posted on 02/19/2007 - 06:26 | Reply
the first crucial step, in my opinion is for a woman who want "to FOSS" to simply FOSS it. we have to be a FOSS user first if we want to engage the big bad FOSS community. there is no skirting this. it's not only a question practicing what you preach blah-di-blah, it's a matter of experiencing FOSS, making FOSS a cultural practice. and we have to be honest with the experience. FOSS may be great and all, but there are real barriers to women fully and creatively adapting it. in some ways, the difficulties women face with FOSS are similar to the difficulties we initially faced when the Internet was young and the main work of organisations was to get more women to embrace ICT. if we go back to the lessons we learned in those years, women are quick to adapt ICT if and when they are able to make a clear connection between ICT and everyday life. <br />we need to find a clear and direct connection between FOSS and women's everyday life. it's not enough to show the technological and political/ideological "superiority" of FOSS over proprietary software. because if this is the case, then we would all be communists. and this is an intentional pun to stress the point that the average woman make decisions on what technology to use based on a combination of the rational and irrational, what is considered desirable and what is simply desired. <br />to a lot of the women i know, specially those who are already comfortable with electronic computing, a most common point of resistance in adapting FOSS is the implied requirement of investing a serious amount of time and energy to learn new tools to do basically the same things they're allready doing using the old tools. why switch to OpenOffice, for instance, when MSOffice already does the job? why would a woman who's spent years learning a proprietary office suite leave her comfort zone and start using a different set of applications? <br />from my observation, i find that women adapting FOSS enmass is a phenomena that happens only in computing labs in schools and in offices where top management has decided to migrate to FOSS. there is no avoiding pragmatism because we're talking about making people move away from their comfort zones. but i do reserve the right to cringe.<br />the reality is women are already locked into a specific techno-cultural mode. do we want to break said mode or do we simply create counter-cultures or pockets of resistance. or maybe there is an entirely different configuration that has yet to be defined.
Posted on 09/15/2006 - 20:09 | Reply