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Open-source needs more women developers

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Only about 2% of the thousands of developers working on open-source software projects are women, a number that women already involved in the open-source movement want to see increased.

That issue was the topic of a panel discussion here on Friday, the last day of the seventh annual O'Reilly Open Source Convention, as the panel discussed ways to reverse that pattern. The 2% figure was gleaned from several university and private studies, according to panel members, and is much smaller than in the proprietary software industry, where some 25% of all developers are women.

The barriers to women in open-source development include chauvinism from some male developers who post or verbalize nasty comments as well as an "old boys network" that discourages them from taking part in open-source projects, said panel members.

One idea being considered is the creation of women-focused groups in some open-source communities, said Danese Cooper, a board member of the Open Source Institute and an open-source advocate at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel Corp. At least one such group, called Debian Women, has been created within the Debian community; So far, four women have joined the project because of that group. Creation of a similar group is being discussed within the Apache open-source community, she said.

For Mitchell Baker, president of the open-source Mozilla Foundation, getting involved in that project meant being persistent and gaining a reputation for good work.

Full Article.

not going to happen

Women by nature have a personality that doesn't mesh well with open source development. After millions of years of evolution, women are nurturers. Because women are "mothers", nature has developed them into creatures that like to do tasks correctly the first time (whoops - note to self, don't drop child off cliff), they like to explain what they're doing (look jimmy, this is how mommy cooks dinner), they like to document things (and then martha, my husband has the nerve to say...), they don't give up (sorry timmy, mommy can't open this can of food), and they like to improve things (sorry dear, we're getting a divorce). With traits like those is it any wonder that women don't join the open source development team - 99 percent of which have NONE of those traits????


amusing observations, if not a little bit sexist.

You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

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