Women's participation in GNOME and other open source communities
Womens participation in GNOME and other open source communitiesOpportunities and Challenges in Asia Pacific regions. Amanda Lam 2012.6.10
Who is Amanda Lam?● BEng Computer Systems Engineering, University of Warwick, UK● Product Analyst and Technical Writer of a notable Asian job site● Founding Member of the Hong Kong MeeGo Network● Executive Committee Member and Podcaster of the Hong Kong PDA User Group (HKPUG) ● Developed Maemo 5 apps for Nokia N900● Blogger and gadget product reviewer with Python language and Hildon/Gtk+ frameworks, such as eSpeak GUI Client● Volunteered in unofficial Traditional Chinese and Stroke Order Chinese Input Method localisation projects of the Maemo 4 & 5 platforms back in 2009 ● Recipient of the Nokia N950 developer device via MeeGo Community Device Program and developed various MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan apps for Nokia N9
Some interesting facts about women in computing...● Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was the worlds first computer programmer!● Sophie Wilson designed the original Acorn computer in 1978 as well as the ARM instruction set.● Marissa Ann Mayer, Vice President of Location and Local Service of Google, designed and developed Googles search interface.● Mary Lou Jepsen, founder of Pixel Qi and CTO of OLPC. Image Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons
Some interesting facts about women in computing... ● In Hong Kong, % of women who had used PCs in the last 12 months (67%) are slightly lower than % of men (70.2%) in 2009. Women in IT: The Facts, NCWITs Workforce Alliance
Some interesting facts about women in F/OSS...● Only 1.5% of all Open Source Software developers are women!1 2● “The Athena Factor”: Womens Creator versus Executor Roles: 1 Nafus, Free/Libre and Open Source Software 2 Hewlett et al, The Athena Factor
So, what happened? Here are some reasons behind...● Needs as users are not addressed● Users’ discriminatory language online and offline● The prevalence of text-based coding systems (as opposed to graphic coding environments) Image Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons● The F/OSS community’s male-centric competitive world-view● Combative hacker ethic● The difficulty of receiving adequate recognition for their contributions● Less likely than men to have the level of computing expertise the F/OSS community expects of new entrants● Women generally first engage with computers at a later age or at a less advanced level compared to men Women in IT: The Facts, NCWITs Workforce Alliance Nafus, Free/Libre and Open Source Software Lin, Gender Dimension of FLOSS Development
Asia-specific challenges ● In Asia, womens education level and computer literacy are not as high as mens, especially in developing countries ● Gender stereotype on womens employment and family roles ● Lack of intellectual property protection Image Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons awareness – High software piracy rate of proprietary software – Overall ignorance on F/OSS concepts and software license terms by the general public
Asia-specific challenges ● Lack of user community ● Lack of contribution culture ● Sales & services oriented economic structure in some Asian countries resulted in lack of R&D culture – User:Developer ratio is much higher – F/OSS is not promoted by the government and in the education sectors Image Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons – Prefer short term investment with fast, guaranteed results rather than long term investment with slow, uncertain results
Men and women have different brains!● Mens strengths – Better in mathematics, logic and algorithms – Stronger sense in directions and 3D stuffs – Better leadership skills – Result-oriented problem-solving● Womens strengths – Better communication skills – Pay more attention to details Image Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons – Process-oriented problem-solving – More caring and sensitive to what others think
What makes a great (F/OSS) product? Thorough Research Proper UX & Analysis Research & User Testing Quality coding Intuitive UI Design Great (F/OSS) Product Comprehensive Easy-to-read Testing & QA Documentation Meaningful Translation Effective Marketing & & Localisation Targeted Promotion
Women with different background and expertise candefinitely help to create great F/OSS products! Thorough Research Proper UX & Analysis Research & User Testing Quality coding Intuitive UI Design Great (F/OSS) Product Comprehensive Easy-to-read Testing & QA Documentation Meaningful Translation Effective Marketing & & Localisation Targeted Promotion
How can we encourage more women to participate in GNOME and other F/OSS projects? Expand the user base of ● Contributors need not be having GNOME & F/OSS products Computer Science or any IT background. ● Recommend quality F/OSS products like GNOME, GIMP, Firefox, Chromium, LibreOffice, VLC etc. to your female friends. ● Dont over-emphasise Free Software / Users love the products Open Source concepts & philosophies – most of them dont even know what source code is! Emphasise the added values over proprietary equivalents. ● If they love to use the products, let users know they can actually contribute to the products they are using. Users are more willing to contribute
How can we encourage more women to participate in GNOME and other F/OSS projects?● Adjust your attitudes! – Great products are not only about great coding. Be less geeky! Speak Earth, human language! – Respect women with different background, skill sets and expertise. – Welcome newcomers and be friendly. – Appreciate and recognise any efforts they contribute. – Give them chance to learn more about the projects by allowing them to ask silly questions. – Be consistent on how you communicate with women online and offline.
GNOME Women● A group dedicated to providing encouragement for women to contribute to GNOME● GNOME Journal and documentation writers Image Courtesy: GNOME Women● Designers for wallpapers, icons, window borders, and themes● Translators of user interface and documentation● Marketing material preparation● System administration● Newcomer orientation Image Courtesy: GNOME Women● Check out more on https://live.gnome.org/GnomeWomen
GNOME Women Outreach Program● The GNOME Foundation, Google, Mozilla, Collabora, the Free Software Foundation, and Red Hat sponsored 10 internships this year.● Projects could be coding, marketing, documentation, design etc.● Each participant with a $5,000 (USD) stipend. $500 will be sent to participants who have begun their internships, $2250 to participants in good standing with their mentors, and $2250 to participants who have successfully completed their internships. Image Courtesy: GNOME Women
Ubuntu Women● Provide mailing list, forum, IRC channel, Launchpad team and blog for Ubuntu women users and contributors.● Projects handled by women – Documentation for each Ubuntu release – Wiki editing and translations● Community outreach via Full Circle Magazine, Ubuntu Developer Summit, and mentoring programs and courses. Image Courtesy: Ubuntu Women● Check out more on http://wiki.ubuntu-women.org/
The Ada Initiative● Launched in February 2011 by Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner, named after Ada Lovelace.● The Ada Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing participation of women in Valerie Aurora, open technology and culture, which includes open Linux kernel developer source software, Wikipedia and other open data, and open social media.● Conduct periodic survey of women in the open technology and culture community, designed to “take the temperature” of women’s participation in open communities.● Key presentations Mary Gardiner, Director of Operations● AdaCamp Unconferences and Research
~ Thank you ~Follow me at: – Twitter: @amanda_lam – Plurk: @amandalam – Sina Weibo: http://weibo.com/amandalam – LinkedIn: http://hk.linkedin.com/in/amandahoic – Facebook: http://facebook.com/dadablog – Blog (in Chinese): http://dadablog.net/
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