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Re: My trip to FOSDEM 2005

* Magni Onsoien <magnio+debian-women@pvv.org> [2005:03:03 23:53 +0100]: 
> [ Due to lists.debian.org's spamfilter's discrimination policy against 
> women my first two attempts didn't make it through. It's apparently the 
> first time the filter makes such bad behaviour, so maybe it can be 
> forgiven. Maybe. ]

This kind of horrible treatment must stop.

(I'm going to be snipping lots of stuff. :)
> I soon found Hanna Wallach (I was cheating and had looked at a picture
> before I left) and we spent a lot of time walking around talking to
> people.

Eh, no DW keysigning party?!

> One thing I was "complaining" about when I spoke to people, was the lack
> of female talkers - neither in the main tracks nor in the lightening talks
> were there any women. Someone heard this and introduced me to one of the
> organizers, who said there was a free spot in the lightening talks track,
> and we could have that one if we wanted to. So suddenly Hanna and I had a
> talk to prepare (in addition to Hanna's talk in the Debian developers
> room). Oh well.

Yeah, more women definitely need to give talks -- not just social ones,
also technical ones. I think as time goes on (and the members of Debian
Women feel more comfortable and/or innovative regarding technical issues),
this will change for us. Attending conferences is always the first step. 

I do notice a commonality among a lot of people, though, which is that,
regardless of sex, they think they have nothing to talk about. This is
certainly true in some cases, but even within Debian, there is *tons* of
stuff to talk about -- some of the more 'interesting' stuff (to other
Debian people) requires a fair amount of specialized knowledge in some
sub-field of Debian, but for conferences where you'll be presenting to a
more general free software audience, there is plenty of stuff to cover. 

The other bonus is that talks can be reused at other conferences (usually
they become more specialized as time goes on as $PERSON becomes more
knowledeable or whatever).

> Hanna had decided to talk for about 20 minutes and then open for questions
> and discussion. This worked very well, and I think the discussion could
> have gone on for quite a while if there wasn't a talk coming after
> hers. Everybody participating in the discussion seemed friendly and
> polite, and as far as I remember nobody disagreed or seriously questioned
> the debian-women project.

Good thing, that... Yay, Hanna!

> I am really glad I went, because I learned so much there. Not that much
> about technical aspects of free software etc, but about people and
> organizations. The Debian people (at least those I met, mostly from the
> UK) seemed really great (I don't really know much about their behaviour in
> mailing lists, but I now know they mostly act quite civilized when out
> among people.).

Free software people are occasionally much better in person. :)

> Something I really missed having while I was there, was some printed
> information on Debian-Women, LinuxChix and similar initiatives and
> organizations. It would have been great to have a little printed info to
> hand out to interested people - just a slip of paper with some info, URLs,
> mailing list info and a space to write time&place for "local events"
> during the conference. We tried to get women to meet us at the Debian
> stand on Saturday for an informal meeting, but not many turned up. I think
> some written information might have made more people come. I am thinking
> of just something simple that can be used in all kinds of conferences,
> downloadable from web to print or copy as desired. (This is what my boss
> calls "put a brick on the table". Yes, I'll pick it up and volunteer to
> put something together :-P)

Cool, it will be no problem to add something like this to the website. I
think it's a great idea (and currently being worked on to some extent).

> Another nice thing would be t-shirts. I suck at t-shirt design and related
> stuff, so I won't say more on that :-)

Yes, we want t-shirts. Currently, besides getting the design -- which
should be fairly trivial -- there's the matter of how to get them. There
are online shops like cafepress and zazzle which will do them, but
cafepress isn't very high quality and ideally we'd have something screen
printed, which is costly up-front. I suppose we'll need to think more in
depth about this.

> My trip to this conference, and especially all the fun I had with the
> debian-uk people, has made me considering entering the NM process to
> become a DD.

Awww, yeah. Hooray!

> My motivation for it is two-fold: It's for academic reasons - for my
> research and to experience myself what it is like in stead of just
> reading other people's perception of the process and "life as DD". The
> other reason is probably the most important one, from the Debian view
> - I want to contribute. I know I can write documentation and that I am
> able to translate. I also think I am able to package a fairly good
> deb-package, although there are a few years since I last did it and
> that was just a private package (and probably not a very good one,
> albeit it did its job...). I have not quite decided yet, but I think
> I'll give it a try.

This is great. I'm really happy to hear this. :)

Thanks a lot for writing this report -- it was very interesting and
provided a lot of perspective both personal and also statistically. 

> -- 
> sash is very good for you.

BTW, what is sash?

off the chain like a rebellious guanine nucleotide

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