Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Responding Sanely to Sexism in FOSS

Filed under

I've been watching the latest kerfuffle about sexism in the FOSS community with a combination of concern and dismay. Concern, because it's an issue I care deeply about and dismay because both sides are so busy screaming at each other, no one is stopping to listen. Instead of bickering, where are the actionable steps people can take to educate each other about how to get along in a community where everyone's end goal -- the advancement of free software -- is ultimately the same?

People who make sexist remarks fall into one of two categories: social clods or bullies. Neither deserves a free pass, but berating either type of offender accomplishes nothing, and here's why.

Let's start with the social clod who tells a woman that her presence at a FOSS conference "really dresses up the place." Chances are, the guy honestly meant it as a compliment and no offense was intended. Sure, it's hard to be noticed for something superficial instead of important skills you worked hard to cultivate, but that doesn't detract from the intent of the comment -- it was intended as a compliment. There's no harm in tactfully responding that you're there to contribute your skills to the community but jumping down someone's throat for an innocent mistake achieves little, if anything.

Bullies, on the other hand, require a different approach.

More in Tux Machines

The importance of community-oriented GPL enforcement

The Free Software Foundation and Software Freedom Conservancy have released a statement of principles on how GPL enforcement work can and should be done in a community-oriented fashion. The president of the Open Source Initiative, Allison Randal, participated as a co-author in the drafting of the principles, together with the leadership of FSF and Conservancy. The Open Source Initiative's mission centers on advocating for and supporting efforts to improve community best practices, in order to promote and protect open source (founded on the principles of free software). While the OSI's work doesn't include legal enforcement actions for the GPL or any of the family of licenses that conform to the Open Source Definition, we applaud these principles set forth by the FSF and Conservancy, clearly defining community best practices around GPL enforcement. Read more

Today in Techrights

Erle-Spider, the Ubuntu Drone with Legs Needs Your Help to Become a Reality - Video

We've talked a lot about the upcoming Ubuntu-powered drone with legs, called Erle-Spider, from the Erle Robotics team, who just demoed the device live earlier today, October 13, on Canonical's UbuntuOnAir YouTube channel (see the video below). Read more

Best Quality and Quantity of Contributions in the New Xen Project 4.6 Release

I’m pleased to announce the release of Xen Project Hypervisor 4.6. This release focused on improving code quality, security hardening, enablement of security appliances, and release cycle predictability — this is the most punctual release we have ever had. We had a significant amount of contributions from cloud providers, software vendors, hardware vendors, academic researchers and individuals to help with this release. We continue to strive to make Xen Project Hypervisor the most secure open source hypervisor to match the security challenges in cloud computing, and for embedded and IoT use-cases. We are also continuing to improve upon the performance and scalability for our users, and aim to continuously bring many new features to our users in a timely manor. Read more