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

Hi all,

this is my first post here, so this also marks the end of my lurking period :-)

I've been reading this list with a lot of interest.
To answer the "How do women become involved in free / open source projects?" question, and as some sort of an introduction, here's my route:

I studied physics in the Netherlands (where I come from) and programming was part of the curriculum: Algol 68 (already very ancient in the early 80's) and Fortran. In the student's home where I lived some people got these Sinclair (spectrum, QL, what have you) and similar computers, and I managed to borrow one and teached myself Basic (Yuck! Bleah! - well, I was innocent in those days ;-) ) and assembler.

In that time, my brother disposed his 286 for a shiny new 486 and I got that machine, which only ran DOS (20 Mb disk) but I managed to teach myself C on it, which I thought (and still think) was the best computer language ever.

Later on, in the nineties, I made a career switch to IT and got to know the role of computing outside academia: it was also the time of the upcoming internet ('95) and I got my first Linux - RedHat - system at home. I gradually became very interested in the open source movement, read Richard Stallman and such, and became very enthusiast. In Amsterdam, there was this alternative group of hackers, and joined a group of women there that give computer hardware courses to women (www.genderchangers.org). I've also been involved (not too deeply until now) in some open source projects like Netbeans, and am an enthusiastic Debian user since two years (after I quit my relationship with SuSe ;-) ). I immediately fell in love with apt-get! What an ease of use!

Professionally, I've been working with Java and Oracle until recently, and I made a move to Vancouver, Canada last November. I saw this as a watershed in my life and wanted to change my career so to reflect the things that I value more ... and maybe out of sheer luck I did find a very interesting open-source related job at the UBC (univ of BC) where we are now building an open source tool for family doctors (those practices are still entirely paper based in BC). It is extremely rewarding and I feel very lucky! I hope to be able to set up a Genderchanger Academy branch here in Vancouver too, so we can start giving some entry level courses in Linux / Debian/hardware etcetera.


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