Re: Interesting article
Hanna M. Wallach wrote:
What a disappointment... The world is black and white, Free software
is doomed and male free software developers are the vermin of society,
asocial and weird ... Hmm, why should I take the rest of the article
I agree with your disappointment, Frank. However, my disappointment --
and irritation -- stems from the utter inaccuracy of the following
I'm confused about how serious Frank was being. But in any case, I don't
interpret the article as being critical of male developers specifically. Of
course if you are going to dare to be critical of the FLOSS community, you're
going to be mainly talking about men, as a result of the imbalance in numbers we
are all aware of...
"For example, a core element of geek culture is a focus on 'hard'
technical issues, such as operating system internals and network
stacks, with a corresponding scorn for 'human' issues, such as
usability and user interface design. When people (male and female) who
care about usability attempt to contribute to FLOSS projects, they're
often ignored, jeered at or told, 'What do you mean, it's ugly? I can
use it!' The result? Linux desktops like KDE/Gnome, which no one but a
propellerhead could love."
This is patently wrong.
Out of interest, would you claim that focusing on hard technical issues is *not*
a core element of "geek culture"? I don't think the article was suggesting
that it is the only core element.
I'm not in a position to comment on the usability of Gnome, though I am sure the
Usability Project you mention is achieving good things :)
I'm aware that the discussion of usability and GNOME is not on-topic
for this list, however, inaccuracy about something that is as easy to
fact-check as GNOME's usability intiative does not lend credibility to
the rest of the article. As it happens, I don't agree with some of the
authors' more specific comments regarding the reasons for the lack of
women in the FLOSS community, but I am concerned that readers may be
discouraged from taking the more general concerns about the small
numbers of women involved in free and open source software projects
seriously, dismissing them as being as erroneous as the article's
assertions about the GNOME community.
What are your opinions about the reasons for the lack of women in the FLOSS
community? I agree, as would many, that this is something that should be taken