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Re: Debian, lists and discrimination

> Yep, I think it behoves us to consider that as well.  As I said in a
> previous message
> (http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2004/08/msg00053.html), we should
> examine what changes to the project's culture need to take place, and
> whether those would be net-beneficial.  It might turn out that the
> rough-and-tumble, highly competitive and confrontational nature of the
> project is what creates the excellence we have, and the contributions we
> would gain as a result would not remedy that.  If so, we would be crazy to
> change.
Debian doesn't discriminate against people living with
disabilities (Espy springs most readily to mind: as a wheelchair user,
I've experienced no reaction at all).

Debian doesn't practise religous discrimination: we have Christians,
including ministers, of all varieties. We have atheists. We also have
(at least) Jews, Hindus and a Baha'i (??spelling??) but that's
immaterial. Religion is, thankfully, a private matter and doesn't
necessarily impact on code quality. Ditto for sexual
life/preference/orientation - it's basically immaterial if the person
concerned can code.  Show us the code is the main argument here.

Debian doesn't have many women developers. The existing developers can be
argumentative, difficult or obtuse - but we are all, undeniably,
brilliant :)  Many arguments within Debian turn into flamewars and name
calling - others don't. I'm not sure there is a common factor. Positive
discrimination to bring women into the Project would be and is wrong:
I'd rather see debian-women as a means of levelling the playing field
and providing a place to discuss the issues that arise.

There is an Anglophone bias - there is also a Northern European/North 
American bias in the distribution of developers.  On the other hand, I can't
force someone on Pitcairn Island to run Debian just so that I can claim
Debian in one of the world's smallest territories. With initiatives like
Impi Linux in S. Africa, there's no obvious reason why we shouldn't get 
Sotho/Venda speaking developers, for example, but we might not see them
often on English speaking lists.

Net connectivity, international bandwidth and cost may all play a part.  
Could we get good Debian mirrors/machines into S. America or S.Africa, 
for example (or persuade Telstra to pay for bandwidth for 
Australia/New Zealand)?

> However, I don't think we have to turn the project into corn syrup in order
> to gain the willing contribution of those we are unknowingly hostile to.  I,
> for one, would be unlikely to continue to contribute if we had to constantly
> mince words or participate in group hugs with every bug report.  Luckily, I
> don't think we're going to have to go that far.  What has to be done is
> still to be worked out in large part, however, so we shouldn't go making
> assumptions either way about end-game effects, I guess.
We don't have to mince words/group hug. We should use a measure of
restraint and show respect. There is also a line to be drawn between
"Debian professional life" (to coin a phrase) and the standards expected
within this community and personal beliefs/biases/prejudices - it is always 
as well to remember that other people may have good and valid reasons for 
thinking/acting differently before
you flame them :)

Just my 0.02 Euro 


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