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From Henri Yandell <bay...@generationjava.com>
Subject Re: Open Source, Cold Shoulder (fwd)
Date Fri, 08 Oct 2004 22:25:18 GMT

I'm really not very impressed with the article.

The gender issue just confuses things and they provide a perfectly 
rational reason for why the gender difference exists (in the same way that 
there's an age, nationality, education level, career-path bias to 
open-source). The only solution is more female coders, and it will happen. 
As an aside, I wonder what the ratio of female coders between large 
corporates and small corporates is compared to the male ratio. I bet 
female coders are largely at the big corporates rather than the small, and 
ignoring a few exceptions, big corporates are not likely environments for 
open-source as they become so insular.

If we remove the gender parts of this article, we basically get something 
that says that open-source coding will not succeed if it continues to be a 
group of coders doing things that interest coders. ie) in their eyes the 
same number of open-source coders should be working on mythtv as are 
working on linux or eclipse, because each product is equally important. In 
fact, mythtv should be more important than eclipse as there are far more 
potential PVR customers than developers out there.

This is completely true. If we were a large company pondering our product 
plan, we'd agree that bringing out a games console is a better move than 
trying to improve our developer IDE in terms of simple profit margin. But 
we're not. We're a community working on the things that interest our 

The open-source coding community leads the way in showing how communities 
can group together, especially using the Internet as a backbone, to solve 
problems that normally would require a large corporate and a subscription 
model, but it isn't a development team to work on all the world's 
problems. There are other communities (which definitely overlap the 
open-source coding community) to do that.

In the end, I think the only thing that will hurt us is if the people who 
shape the future of computing stop being those who are most interested in 
computing. The only way that seems likely to happen are a) if computing 
becomes easy, and then we're all out of a job, or b) governments/lawyers 
decide to decide the future.

(The success of open-source coding on b) is very impressive thanks to the
  wonderful legal work of the FSF. )


Some directed notes:

* The domination of Apple laptops at open-source conventions shows the 
adoration with which FLOSS developers have greeted Apple's user interface. 
In fact, I think we represent the only new market for Apple' computers 

* Python/Apache are terrible projects to look at. These are established 
communities towards the core of coding (not as deep as Linux, but close). 
Instead start looking at a higher level at open community projects 
concerning things that affect non-coders.

Sorry for the spam, but you asked and it's Friday evening at 6pm :) 
Killing time while the rush-hour dies.


On Fri, 8 Oct 2004, Brian Behlendorf wrote:

> Use www.bugmenot.com if you need a password.
> Comments?  Is there anything the community thinks we could do to address the 
> situation?
> 	Brian
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Fri, 8 Oct 2004 14:09:41 -0400
> From: Greg Wilson <gvwilson@cs.toronto.edu>
> To: brian@collab.net
> Subject: Open Source, Cold Shoulder
> Hello everyone.  I'm very pleased to announce that an article Michelle
> Levesque and I wrote about why so few women get involved in open source
> computing, and what that reveals about open source's weaknesses, is now
> on-line at:
>    http://www.sdmagazine.com/documents/sdm0411b/
> You may have to register to view it, but registration is free.
> Thanks,
> Greg Wilson
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