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Re: How do women become involved in free / open source projects?

* Bruce Byfield <bbyfield@axionet.com> [2005:02:22 10:51 -0800]: 
> Helen's Faulkner's comment that "women follow a different route to being 
> interested in things like Debian and FOSS compared to the average man" 
> has made me curious.

I'm not so sure the route is *that* different. In many cases, it seems like
we get into it because one of our friends mentioned it or something. 

I think the things that keep us sticking around sometimes differ -- while
we're all technically inclined to some degree, and usually geekier than
most people off the street, a lot of the women I meet are way more
interested in the social aspect. OTOH, Debian is fairly social compared to
many projects, and free software in general seems to be more
socially-oriented than normal computing stuff (like what you find in
universities). The freedom aspect seems to appeal to us all about equally,
either for ideological reasons or technical ones (ie, you can hack at
something until it does what you want). 

> Would anyone be willing to comment or share their experience?

My experience is fairly bland and typical: I got into it because some
people I knew online kept saying "Linux is so cool!", so I finally
installed it; after a few failed attempts at getting my modem working, I
joined a LUG and met someone who sold me a proper DSL modem, and that was
basically the end of my Windows use. This was in late 2002, I installed
Debian in early 2003, so it's been about two years since it all began. 

Eventually I began meeting people online, la la la, a year passed and next
thing I knew I was giving a talk in Brazil at DebConf4. 

My prior technical knowledge wasn't vast -- I wasn't programming since the
age of 4, I didn't even know how to turn a computer on until I was nearly
20 (in 2000). I'm not really sure if this is common, though. It seems like
a lot of women I meet who are into computers have been into them for a long

off the chain like a rebellious guanine nucleotide

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