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Disbelief: women and Open Source

36 replies on 3 pages. Most recent reply: Aug 19, 2009 7:25 AM by Achilleas Margaritis

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Paddy McCarthy

Posts: 12
Nickname: paddy3118
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: Disbelief: women and Open Source Posted: Aug 1, 2009 5:37 PM
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Less juvenile smut in presentations and a more inclusive mix for an audience. I'll go for that.

- Paddy.

Kondwani Mkandawire

Posts: 530
Nickname: spike
Registered: Aug, 2004

Re: Disbelief: women and Open Source Posted: Aug 3, 2009 5:33 AM
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> I hadn't associated the Ruby community with that type of
> person but it seems that the impression others have. In
> general, when people think they are smarter than everyone
> else, they are usually pretty stupid.

My first impression about the leaders of this community was built on the basis of Zed Shaw's Rails is a Ghetto Rant (he has since removed it from his site). Initially I thought what a bitter prick possibly because of the very colourful language with which he chose to express himself and the personal attacks on various RoR community members.

Then you come across comments like this:

"I’m not designing … for other people."

http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/why_is_37signals_so_1.html

I doubt Gavin King had that mentality with Hibernate which has been a pleasure to use, I doubt the Wicket guys had that mentality developing their framework, comments like this make me wary. You can already gauge that a newbie would have problems getting responses - brings across an elitist feel to the community. Not surprising a speaker at an RoR conference would give a juvenile testosterone filled presentation.

James Watson

Posts: 2024
Nickname: watson
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: Disbelief: women and Open Source Posted: Aug 3, 2009 10:01 AM
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> "I’m not designing … for other people."

This is something that makes a lot of sense when you are writing tools for other developers. In that situation you are part of your target audience.

However, when writing tools for non-developers, it tends to not work out so well. The main reason is that developers, especially skilled developers, tend to think about software very differently than people who don't understand software development or how computers work.

Darko Latkovic

Posts: 9
Nickname: darko
Registered: Jul, 2009

Re: Disbelief: women and Open Source Posted: Aug 3, 2009 3:58 PM
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James, in that case the full quote is:

'I'm not designing software for other people, 'Hansson says. 'I'm designing it for me.' "

Taken literally, that's really hard to defend. But maybe we could interpret it along the lines
as you suggested - "for me and my fellow developers" (in the context of Ruby on Rails).

And how about this one:

"Then he clicked over to the next slide, white letters against a dark background that spelled out
his response to the naysayers: fuck you. The crowd erupted into laughter and applause."

Apparently entertaining - but probably not the best way to make a point.

If you're interested in the original article, here is the link:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/16-03/mf_signals?currentPage=all

James Watson

Posts: 2024
Nickname: watson
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: Disbelief: women and Open Source Posted: Aug 3, 2009 4:11 PM
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> James, in that case the full quote is:
>
> 'I'm not designing software for other people, 'Hansson
> says. 'I'm designing it for me.' "
>
> Taken literally, that's really hard to defend. But maybe
> we could interpret it along the lines
> as you suggested - "for me and my fellow developers" (in
> the context of Ruby on Rails).

It's sort of a cliche. The idea behind it is that you shouldn't be developing things that you wouldn't want to use. Specifically, you shouldn't be developing tools that assume the developer using them is not a smart as you. I am assuming that's really what he means.

> And how about this one:
>
> "Then he clicked over to the next slide, white letters
> against a dark background that spelled out
> his response to the naysayers: fuck you. The crowd erupted
> into laughter and applause."

I don't think this is worth too much thought. At best it's laziness and at worst it's offensive and hostile. Either way, it doesn't communicate much information too me. I chalk it up to nerd machismo. I learned to use the 'F' word at the ripe age of 5 or 6. It takes a lot more than that to shock or impress me.

It seems to me that the whole RoR craze is just the next fad in a long line of fads for nerd hipsters. It appeals to the kind of person who wants to be involved with all the fun parts of development but won't tolerate doing any of the hard work. It seems to me that RoR might just give you enough power to grow out of RoR. And maybe that's OK.

Kondwani Mkandawire

Posts: 530
Nickname: spike
Registered: Aug, 2004

Re: Disbelief: women and Open Source Posted: Aug 4, 2009 4:18 AM
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> the fun parts of development but won't tolerate doing any
> of the hard work. It seems to me that RoR might just give
> you enough power to grow out of RoR. And maybe that's OK.

This was what I was getting at, the initial author gave the example of the RoR community, now if the community is led by the likes of DHH, its pretty obvious on what else to expect. i.e. don't be shocked when you go to presentations of RoR and get some machismo BS hurled and applauded. Its the norm in that particular community and not representative of the entire Open Source Community.

Here is an example of what type of politics have gone down in the Rails community.

http://web.archive.org/web/20080102040259/http://www.zedshaw.com/rants/rails_is_a_ghetto.html

NB: that piece of literature should probably carry a "Parental Advisory" stamp.

Achilleas Margaritis

Posts: 674
Nickname: achilleas
Registered: Feb, 2005

Re: Disbelief: women and Open Source Posted: Aug 19, 2009 7:25 AM
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Simple. Women don't like programming.

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