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[P]
HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux

By greenrd in Op-Ed
Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 07:30:52 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

A recent addition to the Linux Documentation Project's HOWTO collection sets out to tackle a seldom-acknowledged problem in the Linux community: women who use or are interested in Linux are often discouraged from getting involved in the community and/or learning more, by the attitudes they encounter. More generally, the same problem also applies in computing generally, the author argues.


The document starts by challenging widely-held but questionable assumptions such as "sexism is no longer a problem!". A repeated theme thoughout is that unhelpful and downright sexist attitudes are often not perceived as such - or even noticed - by men:

At the LinuxChix BOF at Ottawa Linux Symposium, we finished listing all the reasons why women stayed away from LUGs. A man from the local LUG raised his hand and said that no one at his LUG did any of the things we complained about, but they were still having difficulty attracting women. A woman from the same LUG raised her hand and said, "Yes, they do." She went on to say that only a few "bad apples" were doing these things, but those few were enough to drive off most women.

The main body of the HOWTO is a list of problematic attitudes - mostly paired with constructive suggestions to improve things - helpfully summarised in the table of contents. However, some are controversial. One of the hardest pieces of advice for some people to follow might be "3.2: Do protest sexist jokes". Doing so might be seen as too prudish or "Politically Correct" by many men - especially if they don't actually find the jokes involved very offensive personally, but recognise that they could offend others a lot more. And while some might complain that this casts women in the role of helpless victims, unable or unwilling to fight their own corner and sort out or deal with these problems themselves, it is unfortunately just the reality that women would often rather just leave than deal with the apparent futility of "educating" men who are unconscious of their own sexism. Like a hopeful user who tries an open source application which then crashes on startup, the female newcomer to the Linux community who receives an unfavourable reaction may be more inclined to "go elsewhere" than to "submit a bug report".

In fact, it's often worse than this, because when women do take the trouble to stand up for themselves in a male-dominated field, they may be laughed off, or criticised for being "over-sensitive", or even feminazis. In practical terms, given the current gender balance of power in computing and the ways in which girls are socialised from an early age to defer to men, it's necessary for men to proactively combat sexist attitudes in themselves and in others, too, if they want to open the floodgates wider to women. Of course, this also applies in other male-dominated areas. (I would also argue that it's not just practically necessary, it's also a matter of the moral culpability of standing by and doing nothing.)

However, the author of the HOWTO offers a useful suggestion for turning the tables without sounding pedantic or defensive:

The best way to fight back against sexist jokes is with humor. If someone replies to a post about the technical achievements of a woman with "Is she single?" reply with, "Gee, Jeff, no wonder YOU'RE still single."

Another close contender for some men for the title of Least Agreeable Piece of Advice might be "3.7. Don't make sexual advances towards women".

Obviously, this has to be taken in context! The author isn't saying never make sexual advances towards women you happen to meet through a mutual interest in Linux - but you can see her point that being stared at and then immediately propositioned by a bunch of hungry men, when you're just looking for some technical support or whatever, can be a turn-off. (Especially, if those men are a turn-off anyway!).

Which brings me neatly to one additional factor which is not mentioned in the HOWTO - perhaps because to state it would be both too insulting or cutting and lacking in constructiveness. However, I feel that it is too glaring to consider all of the factors in the HOWTO while ignoring this one. Let's face it, computer enthusiasts are often stereotyped as somewhat lacking in social skills and possessed by an "unhealthy" obsession with their focus of interest. Linux user groups and Linux-related mailing lists and forums, moreover, are where the average newbie or non-technical person might expect to find a high concentration of exemplars of such a stereotype - given Linux's reputation for being for "advanced techies" and those type of people.

Unfortunately, sometimes these expectations are partly borne out, or even exceeded, by the reality. And there is only so much that can be done about this - beyond attracting a more diverse range of men and women to the Linux "scene" to even things out a bit, a welcome development which is already beginning. It would be unreasonable and bizarre to expect, say, hard-working kernel developers or compiler hackers to all change their personalities so that they met some boring uniform standard of so-called "well-rounded" or "normal" personalities - and anyway, attention to detail verging on the pedantic and a work ethic bordering on obsessiveness is often very useful and/or needed in non-trivial programming. (This is not to say that no kernel hacker or compiler writer has a "well-rounded" or "normal" personality, of course!) However, there are a few relatively painless things that can be done. As well as the points mentioned in the HOWTO like becoming more aware of subtle sexism, certain members of the Linux community (a minority) could probably help to improve its image by such simple steps as:

  • taking more interest in non-computing topics - just any non-computing topics - like current events,
  • by avoiding mumbling or speaking/writing incomprehensibly (whether in terms of missing out too many words, or jumping around from thought to thought, or in terms of using too much jargon)
  • One for RMS to take note of - by keeping offputting personal habits like manual toe-cleaning out of public view
  • and by lessening or dropping their snobbishness towards users - and towards sysadmins.
These are all things that would address factors that are off-putting to all genders.

Of course, the debate about how users should be treated - and in return what should be expected of them - when they report bugs or ask for help, is an old and hoary one. The bottom line, however, is that you don't grow an inclusive community by calling beginners idiots. Yes, sometimes people are idiotic - but what programmer hasn't made several (if not hundreds!) of "idiotic" errors over the course of their career? We're all human, we all make mistakes - and unfortunately, lack of basic understanding and lack of confidence in computer technology can potentially cause "very silly" mistakes in even otherwise very smart people, from all kinds of professions. What seems obvious to us is not always even on the radar of everybody. So, think "what an idiot!" in your head if you absolutely must, but tackling the problems of lack of confidence and lack of understanding constructively is usually more likely to help people than crushing them with feelings of personal inadequacy - by intention or not.

And finally, to certain hardcore developers, an obvious, yet oft-forgotten, suggestion can also be fruitfully put forward: regular bathing also helps to avoid turning people away.

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Poll
Be honest now: would you like to see more women in Linux because it would make it easier to find a date?
o Yes 31%
o No, my interests are entirely Platonic (i.e. not romantic or sexual) 9%
o No, because I'm already happy with what I've got 19%
o No, because I don't swing that way 5%
o No, I don't want to see more women in Linux! 6%
o It's polls like this that drive women away from Linux!! 27%

Votes: 306
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o recent addition
o Linux Documentation Project
o HOWTO collection
o RMS
o Also by greenrd


Display: Sort:
HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux | 324 comments (300 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
yawn (2.88 / 9) (#2)
by tarsand on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:26:46 AM EST

This is just a subset of 'how to get more women into tech'. Nothing that requires its own HOWTO, or something that can ever hope to be solved with a HOWTO. Someone wasted a lot of effort on this unfortunately.


"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
A HOWTO is just a document (4.50 / 4) (#4)
by greenrd on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:33:55 AM EST

But publishing these hints in the Linux Documentation Project is a good way to bring them to the attention of those who most need to read them. Focusing on Linux might not be technically necessary, but socially it both would make it more likely to be accepted for inclusion in the LDP (I would think), and it gives readers an extra "relevance hook" with which to draw them in.

Also, I think it's a good, practically-focused, concise contribution to the subject. You might be right that it doesn't say much that's new, but it says things that need to be said, and it says them in an appropriate venue!


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Okay, when you look at it that way (none / 0) (#5)
by tarsand on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:41:31 AM EST

Then it would appear to serve a useful purpose. Good points as always greenrd.


"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
[ Parent ]
So, the article is propaganda instead of argument? (4.40 / 5) (#132)
by eSolutions on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:31:54 AM EST

> You might be right that it doesn't say much
> that's new, but it says things that need to
> be said, and it says them in an appropriate venue!

Your condescention for your audience is palpable; your naiveté in gender studies (which seems limited to the LDP!) is impressive.

First, the topic of gender in technology and education has been much-examined (though little-solved.) Not considering at least some of the preceeding body of thought (some of it from -- sit down for this -- *women*) is akin to writing your own proprietary encryption algorithm.

Second, your advice largely irrelevant and nebulous. Not hitting on women and improved grooming are neato, but are so shallow as to be laughable. Hey, do you know if there might be corporate discrimination against female technologists? I don't, since no studies were cited in your article. I wonder if such studies have been done...I guess we'll never know.

Third, your advice could well do more harm than good. The behaviour of misogynistic men often results from a fear of women; a sense of powerlessness around women, a fear of emasculation, and a hatred of one's self. Thus, simply berating your audience for their presumed unworthiness is likely to exacerbate these very problems. If J. Linux Wanker thinks that dealing with women means he has to follow some intractable, unsatisfiable social code, he'll take the path of least resistance and not deal with them.

In short, study your subject before writing articles about it.

----
Making periods more convenient -- one box at a time.
--Tampax Commercial
[ Parent ]

How educated do you have to be to start acting? (none / 0) (#294)
by val on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:40:37 PM EST

> In short, study your subject before writing articles about it.

Your description of the article seems to bear little relation to the article itself.

You begin by ridiculing the author for having the temerity to write about subject which, you believe, he hasn't done any research in. On the contrary, the author's comments (and the extremely insightful poll questions to the side) reveal that he has done his homework. Obviously, he has read at least one woman's commentary on the subject - the HOWTO itself. And if you were to bother to read the HOWTO, you'd find a variety of links leading you to further research on the subject of women in the sciences. You imply that the author should, as a man, leave writing about gender inequality to women, which reveals your own ignorance of the subject. Women need to take the lead in their fight for equality, but advocacy and support from men is extremely valuable. (For someone so supercilious about the subject, it's surprising that you're spending your time writing comments which _hurt_ the cause of gender equality.)

From the perspective of a woman who would like participating in Linux to be a little less onerous, his advice is extremely relevant and concrete. The HOWTO itself was written in response to requests for concrete, everyday advice relevant to normal Linux users. And once again, the link to the HOWTO fulfills your demand for links to other studies and articles.

Finally, I completely reject your supposition that giving men friendly, well-reasoned advice on how to not drive women away will have the net result of driving more women away. In my experience, the men who were angered by the HOWTO were already sexist and proud of it, and doing plenty already to drive women away. I doubt the situation is very different for this article.

[ Parent ]

i agree partly (4.00 / 3) (#21)
by nex on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:15:21 AM EST

not that i would find the topic boring ("yawn") or not worthy of discussing---the effort is certainly not wasted. but the actual problem really is to help overcome the fear many women have of computers. you might have the impression that they have less problems with windos boxes and macs, but that's just because those are easier to use for amateurs that are not interested in their internal workings at all. but someone who doesn't want to use linux also wouldn't use programs like Vim, LaTeX, grep or gcc under windows, although windows versions of these exist and work perfectly. and this is not restricted to women at all.

so i would like to read an essay titled "HOWTO get more people, a good part of which are women, to use computers properly". or something like that.

however, as the parent poster said, this article is a subset of the topic, thus much better than writing nothing about the topic. so i'll vote it up; it's important to get the word out.

[ Parent ]

subsets (none / 0) (#324)
by damballah on Sun Mar 09, 2003 at 04:29:59 PM EST

This is much more a subset of "HOW TO get newbies into Linux/UNIX" I think. The approach is radically different from windows and most desktop users don't wanna delve 2 much into kernel realted stuff.hell, i like computers but configuring low-level stuff is just redundant to me. i just wanna compile/run stuff, burn cds, grab some bins off the newsgroups, install/uninstall efficiently 3rd party apps (those "tar balls") w/o losing 2 much time or w/o having to think 2 hard about it. linux still has a long way to go on statisfying JoeDumbUser. but i guess the whole unix culture isn't 2 keen on that. I'm using linux now and believe me, I wouldn't recommend it for use now. Especially to my computer science female friends.all they seem to like about it is that it has a real editor (emacs) which can be used on windows also, btw.
oh yeah...women. i my experience, men can be as clueless as men when it comes to computers, so the culture (linux) is not to blame, only the os itself.

"all i care about is love" - billy flint in chicago
[ Parent ]
How to attract more women to the scene ... (2.60 / 5) (#3)
by dvchaos on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:33:48 AM EST

in 2 easy steps, simply keep reminding them of all those high paid jobs available in the sector and every once in a while reiterate on the fact that it's not all pr0n, computer games .. and 12 year old kids doing a pathetic job of pretending to be men... Hey, since when did honesty have anything to do with it ?

--
RAR.to - anonymous proxy server!
Hey! (none / 0) (#84)
by virg on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 04:42:12 PM EST

> ...and every once in a while reiterate on the fact that it's not all pr0n, computer games .. and 12 year old kids doing a pathetic job of pretending to be men...

Hey, that's honest. Really. Since MP3s, it's not all pr0n, and not all warez are gamez...um...oh damn, never mind me.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
By that logic... (4.00 / 1) (#179)
by ttfkam on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:14:25 PM EST

Why aren't we all Wall Street stock brokers?  More money.  More power.

There's more to a career choice than the amount of money received.  How many of us would stop programming and using Linux overnight if we weren't paid for it anymore?

There's more to it than the money, pr0n, and games.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

Here's another tip. (3.33 / 9) (#6)
by traphicone on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:49:56 AM EST

For those of you who are hygienically unmotivated: fucking bathe already!

"Generally it's a bad idea to try to correct someone's worldview if you want to remain on good terms with them, no matter how skewed it may be." --Delirium
I was going to zero this... (2.00 / 3) (#24)
by gordonjcp on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:36:01 AM EST

... but having recently had to stand next to a seriously rank tracksuit-wearing, loud mouthed football fan, I'm inclined to agree.
People - just *have a shower*. Then, when you've done that, *don't* plaster on 36 different kinds of deodorant, aftershave, etc. Pick *one* thing and stick with it. Just because soap makes you smell nice, doesn't mean that 47 times as much will make you smell 47 times nicer. Quite the reverse in fact.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
The real problem with scented products... (5.00 / 2) (#131)
by mrgoat on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:04:33 AM EST

...is that your prey will smell you coming.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Wrong, wrong, wrong (4.35 / 20) (#7)
by William Franklin Rothman on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:51:30 AM EST

I am loathe to admit it, but the thing that keeps women away from the dingy basement server rooms of the tech field isn't their perception of the job or their perception of you, it's their perception of themselves. If you want more women to enter the tech field, you'll need to engender changes in the way society trains women to think about themselves. You need to foster a mainstream image of femininity that permits mathematics, electronics, and other highly technical subjects. As things are now, women are usually encouraged to see themselves as incapable of  developing mathematical or technical abilities. Only those women who have become used to combatting society's mold have ever made much of an entry into these fields. The best way to foster this sort of wide reaching societal change would be to support feminism in any way you can.

Ceasing your customary ape-like behaviour won't draw women into the technology industry. Women entering the technology industry will cause you to stop acting like apes, but only if we start telling women that they can become techies.

Barbies (4.33 / 3) (#25)
by lonesmurf on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 07:32:29 AM EST

I once read an absolutely fascinating article about how children in families were given the same toys which were not gender-biased (e.g. legos) grew up to be more well-balanced. The study found that girls that played with barbies as children seldom went into fields that required mathematics or sciences.

I wish I had a link to that.


Rami

I am not a jolly man. Remove the mirth from my email to send.


[ Parent ]
OTOH (4.00 / 2) (#32)
by wiredog on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:44:10 AM EST

People I know who have children tell me that when given the same toys to play with, with Barbies AND Lego's provided, the girls tend to play with the Barbies and the boys with Legos.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
Some truth to that. (4.71 / 7) (#46)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:39:32 AM EST

My son has certainly never shown an interest in playing with "dolls" per se. OTOH, both my children dearly love their large collection of Godzilla action figures.

Which brings to mind an old comedy schtick I saw where the guy claims that of course girls have esteem problems from being compared to Barbi. They look in the mirror and think "I don't measure up." Meanwhile, the boys play with toys that have scales, fangs and breath noxious gas. When the boys look in the mirror they think "Two arms, Two legs, two eyes. Damn! I am Looking Fine!


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

My kids (4.00 / 2) (#150)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:28:15 AM EST

I thought my daughter would be a tomboy. Climbing, falling, running around scraping her knees, terrorizing her brothers...

She turned 2.5 (yes she was walking and talking very early) and suddenly you couldn't tear her Barbies and dressy clothes and sunday shoes from her without a tazer. *snaps* Just like that.

She now wants a play kitchen for Christmas. She makes everyone tea with her tea set and scolds her dolls when they won't clean up. She cooes over babies and tries to mother her brothers.

She tries to play with her big brother and his cars and dinosaurs and stuff, but she seems to have trouble understanding that kind of play (although she really likes making the dinosaurs roar and wrestling with her brothers and dad).

My two boys (well the 6 year old one, the other is 18mos) are in to cars and mud and space. My eldest likes playing house with his sister and her friends but most of the time he prefers doing what I'd consider "boy" things. The youngest one isn't into anything gender-specific, although he is obsessed with buttons and knobs and switches and wires.

My point, I guess, is that in my experience, there are huge differences between boys and girls, and those differences carry on into adulthood, although they're muddled by education and the making of a social individual. Anyone who tells you that boys and girls are the same and should be treated as a gender-neutral individual are full of shit.



[ Parent ]
Gender neutrality? (3.00 / 1) (#212)
by phliar on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 03:39:17 PM EST

in my experience, there are huge differences between boys and girls, and those differences carry on into adulthood, although they're muddled by education and the making of a social individual. Anyone who tells you that boys and girls are the same and should be treated as a gender-neutral individual are full of shit.
Two very close friends have a girl, now 9. She was treated in a gender-neutral way; as she grew, she was spending time with other kids who did have gender-specific environments, she adopted them. As a result, she certainly is a girl -- but a very well-balanced one who does enjoy things like building things, reads a lot, and doesn't care that much about dolls.

My question is: why shouldn't everyone always be treated in a gender-neutral way? Certainly, people that you know, you treat in the appropriate way that may be gender-specific; but acquaintances and strangers, why should you ever treat them in a gender-specific way?


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

gender $0.02 (none / 0) (#229)
by eudas on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:49:42 PM EST

because they do, in fact, have a gender. i'm not saying you have to define them by their gender, but let's get real here, folks... we are different. yin is yin and yang is yang... they're parts of the same "wheel", and they are equal, but they're not the same parts.

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Some reasons (none / 0) (#237)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:54:46 PM EST

My question is: why shouldn't everyone always be treated in a gender-neutral way? Certainly, people that you know, you treat in the appropriate way that may be gender-specific; but acquaintances and strangers, why should you ever treat them in a gender-specific way?

My smartass answer would be "because 'C'mon, Pat, it's time to meet up with Chris and Sandy and play in the sandbox with rocks' gets old fast." :-)

Seriously, boys and girls aren't androgenous beings. I'd rather let them play with "boy" toys and "girl" toys without trying to steer them than limit their toys to gender-neutral toys. That's like protecting your children from food allergies by limiting their food supply to gluten-free flatbread and water.

Sooner or later they're going to run in to friends and develop their own attitudes toward their gender roles. I'd rather support them than try to continually "correct" their choice.



[ Parent ]
"I know this girl..." (none / 0) (#295)
by val on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:53:27 PM EST

"i know this one guy and he says his little girl plays with dollz but his little boy is very manly and playz with dump trucks and guns!"

The essence of the scientific method is to take your ideas about how the world works and _test_ them. The idea here is that since these little boys and girls are so young, they can't possibly have been trained to prefer dolls or guns, so it must be natural! However, when you actually study the matter, it turns out that adults start treating boys and girls differently no later than 6 months of age. For references, see about halfway down this page:

"Why are there so few female computer scientists?"



[ Parent ]

The problem with that.... (5.00 / 2) (#38)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 09:16:09 AM EST

I have a five year old daughter; my wife asserted early on that she would *not* be part of the Barbi nation.

Then we discovered her in the living room playing "Barbi" without any Barbis. (Literally - she was calling things "Barbi-this" and "Barbi-that".) A sister of mine gave her some Barbis for Christmas and they are among her favorite toys.

I'm not too worried about that, however. Just this morning I went to get her up for school and found that her light was on and her bed was full of books she had taken to bed with her.

I am worried that she knows more about make up from her father the clown than from her mother!


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

Advertising (none / 0) (#316)
by lonesmurf on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 08:01:37 AM EST

I'd have to attribute your girl's fondness for barbi's to two things. Peers: her friends play with them and of course, the bazillion commercials she's seen. I know that as a kid when I saw something on TV, it was instantly something i wanted. I'd also attribute my lack of wanting barbies to the targetting in the advertising.

But I'm no psychologist, so what do I know? :)


Rami

I am not a jolly man. Remove the mirth from my email to send.


[ Parent ]
Hey! Knock that off! (4.42 / 7) (#30)
by Rogerborg on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:24:14 AM EST

Don't you dare disempower Val.  She's been "socialized to not be competitive and avoid conflict [and to be] far more sensitive to criticism than men, as well as more critical of" herself, and she has "low self-confidence to begin with".

So don't disempower her inner goddess or deny her victimhood, you Nazi jerkoff chauvinist.  Next you'll be pointing out that "3.13. Don't treat women stereotypically" is absolutely at odds with her own repeated sterotyping of women as limp, fragile and self obsessed creatures.  That would be so like a man to do that.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Stereotyping or studying? (none / 0) (#297)
by val on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 09:10:14 PM EST

> So don't disempower her inner goddess or deny her victimhood, you Nazi jerkoff chauvinist. Next you'll be pointing out that "3.13. Don't treat women stereotypically" is absolutely at odds with her own repeated sterotyping of women as limp, fragile and self obsessed creatures. That would be so like a man to do that.

Oh, I see. If I want to complain about women being stereotyped, I have to pretend that women alive today haven't been systematically trained to act differently than men. Hey, wait, that doesn't make any sense...

Reading the quotes you pulled from the HOWTO makes it absolutely clear that I'm not talking about how women are "naturally," but how they've been trained to be by the society they live in. And everything I say is documented to be true - just read the sources I cited in the HOWTO. Women _are_ trained to have low self-confidence, to be more modest and self-deprecating, and to avoid conflict. That doesn't make them victims, goddesses, limp, fragile, or self-obsessed. It does make them act differently from men and unless you understand why they act the way they do (because they've been pressured from childhood to act that way), you will indeed conclude that they are limp, fragile, and self-obsessed.

I spend a significant part of my time encouraging women to think that "assertive" isn't a dirty word. But before I can do that, I have to explain why women tend to think assertiveness is bad, and men tend to think it's good. The answer is gender socialization. That doesn't mean that I'm stereotyping women.

[ Parent ]

Disagree (5.00 / 6) (#43)
by catseye on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:21:39 AM EST

There's a bigger issue than women not being encouraged to be good at technical subjects... that's being done in schools now.

The biggest issue seems to be that women tend to think of computer science, computer hardware, linux, programming, etc. as horribly, horribly boring. It has nothing to do with intelligence and skills, or lack thereof. It's their perception of it.

I used to work at a veterinary school, where the student body was over 50% female. These were some brilliant women... you have to be smart to become a veterinarian, and you have to be technically proficient with a host of equipment, computerized and otherwise.

And you know what? I'd say about 30% of them couldn't install and configure software. You know why? They weren't interested, thought it was boring, and thought they shouldn't have to learn how to do it if they weren't going to do it in their jobs and someone else could do it for them, either as a favor or for money.

I'm female, and I'm in the IT field. I do web development, network administration, help desk crap, and some network security work. I program in VBscript currently, and can hack my way through most languages I've come across if something just needs to be modified, although I have no real interest in it. The only part of my job I find at all interesting is the security aspect of it... the rest of it is horribly boring, but it pays well and I'm good at it so I put up with it.

As far as Linux goes... I'm intelligent, capable of understanding it, and have worked with it before because I've been paid to do so. My opinion of it, however, is that it's a big fucking pain in the ass, takes too long to install, and needs too much tweaking to work properly. I won't touch it unless I'm paid to, because on my personal time I want something to work out of the box and not give a crap what hardware is in my system.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

Wow (3.00 / 4) (#77)
by the womble on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:34:35 PM EST

I want something to work out of the box and not give a crap what hardware is in my system

Wow, where can I find software that does that!

Linux needs more tweaking becuae users install it themselves, Windows is even more of a pain to install but most users buy a box with it installed. If you want Linux without the hassle find a vendor who sells boxes with Linus pre-installed.

[ Parent ]

Disagree (4.33 / 3) (#79)
by catseye on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:55:41 PM EST

The place I work is a windows shop... we have windows 2000 or windows xp professional on all our systems. I've got XP pro, win 2000 professional and win 2000 server on my systems at home. I've done hundreds of installs and have had probably less than 1% of the systems have issues.

Now, with 95/98/ME and NT, the rate was more like 50%... but the newer windows operating systems are much easier to install.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

Damn (4.00 / 4) (#81)
by virg on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 04:34:54 PM EST

> If you want Linux without the hassle find a vendor who sells boxes with Linus pre-installed.

Expensive, certainly, and you'd need a port to shove Twinkies in for him, but you can be sure it'll work correctly, no matter what your hardware.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
My own Linux vs. Windows opinions (4.33 / 3) (#108)
by metalfan on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:14:32 PM EST

I bought my computer with no OS installed. I've installed a couple different Linux distributions (of which I only have one loaded still, and don't use), and also installed Windows XP and Windows 2000 from scratch.

I switched to 2000 after I used XP for a while, but I found both Windows versions a lot easier to install than any Linux distro. Less screwing around with hardware, and when I install any software, 99% of the time it works.

Not like in Linux, where the package management system (RPM, apt-get, etc) is constantly complaining about libraries and dependencies and whatever else wasn't installed by default. Getting all your hardware working properly is even worse.

[ Parent ]
package management (4.00 / 1) (#223)
by pb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:42:06 PM EST

I've had that experience with RPM being whiny and annoying and making me track things down myself, but I'm quite happy with portage (the package management system in Gentoo Linux) -- it  has been doing a great job of doing everything for me!

Note that I wouldn't recommend Gentoo to a beginner, but if you know what you're doing with Linux, print out all the instructions, understand them, and follow them closely, it isn't that hard to install.  And the rest of the documentation on the site was more than enough to get me going.

I've also installed Windows XP on this machine--it also took a while and was more of a hassle for me, but probably would be easier to do for most people.

In my experience, both Windows and Linux can be quite annoying.  The difference is, however, that once you figure out what you're doing with Linux, you can make it stop being annoying, and in fact do whatever you want.  Whereas, short of replacing large chunks of it and editing the registry, Windows will always be extremely annoying.  And in Linux, you can always RTFM, whereas in Windows... well, you can always suffer!

Problems I have in Linux right now that I'm too lazy to fix--permissions for sound and DRM are slightly messed up, and there's some sort of AGP/Matrox/AMD incompatibility going on that sometimes causes Mozilla to display garbage.  Neither of these are really serious for me, or I'd do more research and fix them.  But this is admittedly something you might not have to do (and might not be able to fix) in Windows.

Problems I have in Windows?  Well, random crap pops up all the time, because some of the applications I use are designed to annoy me, at the moment mainly MSN Messenger.  It always asked me (almost exclusively when I'm logged in as a non-root user) if I'd like to upgrade to the latest version, which is of course impossible for a non-root user.  When I log in as Administrator?  Well, it doesn't ask me at all.  But I eventually tracked that down--until the next time they change a minor version number, I suppose.  I already disabled all sorts of other auto-updating and ugliness that is enabled by default, and I have Mozilla and Cygwin to keep me sane while I'm there.  Also, I've been too lazy to reinstall some old applications I had from '98, so they're whining about missing registry settings.  And of course whenever I'm actually messing with XP, it wants me to reboot.  Not as much as 9x did, but more than often enough to be annoying.

So there you have it--they both have their own unique quirks and annoyances, but both have been quite reliable for me, at least.  Sometimes Netscape 4.xx will crash on me when I'm testing, and that has never brought down the system in either OS.  They both have up-front costs to get them working the way you want them.  I would choose Linux in the long run because it's better suited for my needs, but at the moment I think they're both pretty decent. And 2000/XP is far FAR better than 9x, which should be avoided entirely (that's why I got more into Linux in the first place...).
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

On a mac! (4.00 / 1) (#191)
by nlaporte on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:31:08 PM EST

Wow, where can I find software that does that!

Get a Mac. They really do just work, right out of the box. It's not just something Steve Jobs says, it really is true.


--
John Shydoubie. Shydoubie. John Shydoubie. John Shydoubie.
[ Parent ]
Linux is way more painful (4.00 / 1) (#202)
by Will Sargent on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:15:52 PM EST

I'm using Debian, and even in doing simple things like apt-get update; apt-get upgrade I can still foobar my mail system and spamassassin.  It will either screw around with my services, or change the libraries, and my system will be screwed up until I trace it back.

I haven't had a problem with Windows installations; the drivers work, work well, and upgrade well.  Logitech and Creative keep trying to install spamware on me, but that's a whole nother issue.
----
I'm pickle. I'm stealing your pregnant.
[ Parent ]

You're not allowed (4.50 / 2) (#110)
by epepke on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:19:48 PM EST

You've been instructed by an Enlightened Male Anti-Sexist Crusader. Get with the program!

But seriously, I've heard that vet schools are harder to get into than med schools. Part of this is because there are fewer of them. But also it's because you have to be able to treat many different species, none of whom can tell you where it hurts if you ask them. (Some of them bite, but this happens in human medicine, too).

And Linux is boring, which is probably a good thing. The more boring it gets, the more useful it will be. Ideally, it should be utterly trivial. The big problem is that it isn't boring enough yet. It's boring enough that most people don't care much, but it's still interesting enough for some people to work on it without the incentive of a paycheck.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Are you going to stalk me now? (1.80 / 5) (#116)
by William Franklin Rothman on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:44:41 PM EST

Oh, please do. I want to continue our "hypothetical"   argument. If you would only be willing to adhere to your original point, and not get bent out of shape when someone disagrees with you and won't pretend your views are valid when they aren't. Why don't you point out some more of my imaginary double-standards ? There's a good boy.

[ Parent ]
Computers users aren't techies anymore (4.66 / 6) (#122)
by Sloppy on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:22:23 PM EST

You're talking about Linux like it's a technical subject. That would be Unix in general, not Linux. Linux is a political/philosophical/social subject, because what really separates it from most other OSes, is the license.

To understand RMS' rants and the value of the GPL (and thereby Linux) as a user, you don't have to know anything about math or technical subjects. Maybe after enough women start using Linux, then we can worry about whether they're hacking enough.

So I wanna know why women aren't frothing at the mouth about Freedom and the Dark Lord in Redmond and getting accused of zealotry. Don't get me wrong, I know women are crazy, but I don't see enough of 'em acting Our Kind of Crazy! That ain't a tech thing, is it?
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]

great point (4.66 / 3) (#162)
by speek on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:15:09 AM EST

This is an excellent point, and worthy of more discussion. I'll suggest one reason:

If you're not into computers, the whole IP/political aspect of MS hatred and open-source software becomes somewhat abstract. It's not really talked about in the newspapers - not like environmental problems, degenerative diseases, starving children, etc. To someone on the "outside", worrying about the "freedom as in speech" of computer use seems insanely petty and off-topic. People are dying man, and you're worrying about whether you can steal some music?

And like everything else, when you try to explain the long-term consequences and implications, the pervasiveness of computers, etc, it doesn't sink in. This is not specific to women, but to all people who aren't technical and/or politically/philosophically inclined. Women just happen to more often fit that description than men.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Women vs. Men (4.00 / 1) (#172)
by 5150 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:24:54 AM EST

Women just happen to more often fit that description than men.

I beg to differ. Among my group of cohorts the most politically active are almost all women. And oddly enough, the one person who is politically active against open-source is male and extremely techie. I will say that my group of cohorts range in age from young 20's to upper 60's and while all but one are Americans, about half are immigrants from Europe.

[ Parent ]
true (none / 0) (#222)
by speek on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:33:06 PM EST

I will take back my overly broad statement1, but I would still argue that people not into computers will often not see the nuances and problems that copyright presents in this specific area. Women or men. Basically, what I'm saying is that technical interest and expertise precedes interest in the philosophical problems of copyright as it relates to software, and this is in response to the original poster's interesting question of why women don't embrace the philosophical underpinnings of OSS.

1I'd say "no pun intended", but I always fully intend my puns :-)

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

I agree (4.00 / 1) (#176)
by greenrd on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:55:41 AM EST

I think that's exactly right. It isn't actually the most significant issue in the world, but it is still an issue that directly affects everyone who programs or uses software.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

what exactly is "wrong, wrong, wrong?" (4.00 / 2) (#147)
by nex on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:44:12 AM EST

> The best way to foster this sort of wide reaching societal
> change would be to support feminism in any way you can.

why do you think that the article isn't supporting feminism in a way the author 'can'?

[ Parent ]

Almost but not quite... (4.50 / 2) (#182)
by ttfkam on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:36:46 PM EST

Female enrollment in math and the sciences has been steadily increasing for the last ten years. One of the only fields left in which the attrition rate for women is ridiculously higher than men is computer science/computer engineering.

Like it or not, it isn't that women aren't entering technical fields; Women aren't entering THIS technical field.

I strongly suggest everyone read the book Unlocking the Clubhouse. It was written as a collaborative effort of two professors at Carnegie Mellon: one psychology and one computer science. They interview incoming freshman women and track their attitudes about computers and why they stayed or, more often, didn't stay in the CS track. CM is not a pushover school. Anyone who gets into their CS program is very strong in math and probably got a five on the AP exam.

The problem isn't that women are disinterested in computers. The problem is that most men can't recognize when they're interested because many times they show it differently.

I don't think we need to start telling women that they can be techies. We've already been telling them that for years. So why aren't they coming to the (until recently) high paying, available jobs in droves?

The computer industry is like the construction industry: mainly a bunch of guys who don't want to change the way they act on the job just so some girl will get into construction.

The computer industry in the US also tends to exclude American non-whites in many of the same ways.


If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

Changing male attitudes (3.00 / 1) (#216)
by William Franklin Rothman on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 04:37:15 PM EST

We need to start telling men that women can be techies as well. This is called "affirmative action", and is legally required in many countries. It has also been very effective in other engineering industries.

Without having read the very aptly titled, "Unlocking the Clubhouse", I can see that the differences in women's attitudes to computing are deeper than I, or the article, had even considered. The question that the book review overlooks, however, is why women's attitudes are so different. I would offer the view that this relates to early experiences with technology, and the fact that young girls are discouraged from obsessively using computers, but young boys are not.

The impression I took away with me from reading the review is that men do need to change their attitudes if women are to find careers in computing attractive, but it is not men's attitudes to women that must change. It is men's attitudes towards computers. Our field only stands to gain if we lose the obsessive geek clubhouse mentality.

[ Parent ]

items from the book (5.00 / 1) (#232)
by ttfkam on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:28:04 PM EST

Mothers usually have nothing to do with the computer and were quoted many times referring to them as "that machine".

While fathers tend to try to get both children to use the computer, fathers usually let the son actually use it and will "demonstrate" how to use it to their daughters.

Many incoming freshman women at CM were found to have had to use "their brother's computer" including one who had her parents buy her brother a computer when she was the one who mentioned interest.

Confusion of "the geek lifestyle" with "the computer industry" drives many women away who aren't too thrilled about the apparent lifestyle change necessary (this is a peer pressure issue with the expectation of many men, "if you're going to be a real computer geek, you have to act like or do X Y and Z like we do.")

Girls in general do not seem to have the same "obsessive" tendencies as boy when shown computers, but the interest level is similar; Only the outward appearance differs.  This is many times wrongly attributed to apathy.

---

The book is well worth its price.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

The war against grrrls (3.80 / 5) (#9)
by 0xdeadbeef on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 01:21:33 AM EST

I would normally vote against this for the cheap shot at RMS and the use of lame stereotypes, but...

Having actually been in the presence of Richard Stallman, I could see him doing that. I have seen him continually twirl the split-ends of his natty and unwashed hair.  I doubt he is a sexist, though, or any more off-putting towards women as men.

However, I would postulate that there is a large intersection between those who exemplify the worst attributes of the "geek" stereotype and those who exhibit hostility towards women in technology. I base this on direct observation and heresay from female aquaintances. It would be interesting to see what percentage of the female k5 population can attest to being the victim of assholes who question their skills or mock their interest in technology.

And while I have the floor, I'd like to draw attention to the feelings of inaduequacy that drive people to continually post controversial stories to the queue. Sometimes these stories don't even reflect the true opinions of the poster. These authors often berate geeks for their lack of social skills, yet spend more time and effort on these online message boards than even a bored and antisocial geek like me could schedule. I wonder if these antics actually drive people away from online communities. It would be a ironic if these individuals were more destructive to the social fabric of the Internet than those they mock and criticize.

yes. bring back adequacy. (1.00 / 1) (#16)
by turmeric on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:41:21 AM EST

we need an open space for controversy. k5 is for boring tripe. obviously. like 'how to be a porn seller' nothing controversial about selling porn.

[ Parent ]
Social fabric of the internet (none / 0) (#18)
by kholmes on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:46:07 AM EST

" These authors often berate geeks for their lack of social skills, yet spend more time and effort on these online message boards than even a bored and antisocial geek like me could schedule."

I think a little intelligence is in order. You're certainly not saying that everyone who berate geeks for lack of social skills is antisocial themselves. If you're saying that *some* who berate geeks are antisocial, then that's just as well as saying nothing at all, since it doesn't actually mean anything.

While it is definitely an abuse to accuse a geek for lack of social skills, since geeks are introverted by nature. This would be like telling the popular girl at school that she lacks self-confidence, since she is often extroverted by nature.

But I know what you mean and I'll try to say it more concisely: geeks often use the internet to supplement or, even worse, replace their social lives. For those who this is true, there is no alternative to the real thing. Part of being human is challenging the truths of our existance. Being an introvert does not excuse from trying to have a social life, even if you fail miserably--you'd still be better off.

So what am I doing here? I post regularly--am I preaching my own faith. Yes, but I'm here trying to achieve enlightenment--believe it or not. I've found people here more intelligent than people who I meet with in real life--and many of you are really searching for answers, and that makes bouncing ideas off of people easier.

But I do not use the internet as a social net.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

m-w.com sez: (2.00 / 2) (#34)
by ksandstr on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:53:43 AM EST

> I have seen him continually twirl the split-ends of his natty and unwashed hair.

"Etymology: perhaps alteration of earlier netty, from obsolete net neat, clean".

Though personally, I'd be quite interested in how someone could have both unwashed and natty hair at the same time :-)


Fin.
[ Parent ]

dude (none / 0) (#42)
by 0xdeadbeef on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:19:14 AM EST

So in that Bob Marley song, he is actually referring to his clean and tidy hair? Whoa... the song, has like, layers now...

[ Parent ]
Bob Marley trivium (none / 0) (#76)
by Otter on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:18:16 PM EST

The song was written as "Knotty Dread" and, I believe, released in Jamaica under that title. Record company producers misheard "knotty" as "natty" and released the international version as "Natty Dread".

[ Parent ]
I don't understand (3.50 / 6) (#11)
by carbon on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:07:41 AM EST

The best way to fight back against sexist jokes is with humor. If someone replies to a post about the technical achievements of a woman with "Is she single?" reply with, "Gee, Jeff, no wonder YOU'RE still single."

I'm probably just stupid, but... how is that a sexist joke? It's a lame joke, it's a joke that probably violates the spirit of the 3.7 Advice, but how is it at all sexist? Basically, it seems as though the second poster is only saying 'I find intelligent techie women attractive'.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
because youd never say it to a dude (4.00 / 4) (#15)
by turmeric on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:35:02 AM EST

some people get tired of being treated like potential marriage partners all the time.

[ Parent ]
that's because he ain't gay (4.50 / 2) (#27)
by twi on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:00:06 AM EST

(If he is male, that is.)

> some people get tired of being treated like potential marriage partners all the time.

Yes, and some people get tired of being treated like impossible marriage partners all the time. So there. The phrase "is she single?" in the quoted usage is just a compliment, as in "hey, it's cool that she groks that!". It also says that questioner wasn't able to find the right mate for himself yet. So the joke is on everybody. I think that is a bad example of sexism because you need to be oversensitive indeed to be seriously offended by it (at least if you don't hear it every week and repeatedly by the same person). That's not to say that it is so funny you have to say it all the time, ok ? ;-)
Full disclosure: I'm male

[ Parent ]

Ummm (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by wiredog on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:46:15 AM EST

(at least if you don't hear it every week
Well, that's the point he's making. They DO hear it constantly.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
Well, *I* do. (none / 0) (#36)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 09:12:06 AM EST

But only when my wife can't hear me.


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

I still fail to see how that's a *sexist* joke NT (none / 0) (#152)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:38:03 AM EST



[ Parent ]
It's also not funny (5.00 / 1) (#184)
by ttfkam on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:47:06 PM EST

Imagine someone saying "imagine a beowulf cluster of him" every time you were brought up in social conversation.  The same, tired joke over and over again.

The fact that the same, tired joke generally only gets told by men to women makes it sexist.

The fact that it keeps getting told over and over whenever a woman does just about anything of note (sometimes just by being present), would be off-putting to any rational human being.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

Being straight is sexist (1.00 / 1) (#206)
by ODiV on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:52:12 PM EST

It's just when you're annoying about it, you get called out for it.

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Why is "Is she single?" a sexist joke? (5.00 / 1) (#298)
by val on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 09:32:17 PM EST

Imagine this scenario:

You find a bug in some software, write a patch, and send it to the relevant mailing list. The first reply to it is:

"Are you single? :)"

If you're male, this seems like a totally bizarre and unlikely scenario, far more likely to appear in one of your fantasies than real life. If you're a woman, you're sick of this happening.

Why is this sexist? Well, for one thing, it only happens to women. For another thing, it turns a programmer into an anonymous hunk of female meat. Her technical abilities are irrelevant, because, man, she's got BOOBS!

If you're a programmer, you understand what it feels like to want to be valued for your abilities and your work. If you're an open source programmer, that's probably your main motivation for your work. Imagine that everyone was so busy figuring out how to get into your pants that they frankly don't care how good of a programmer you are. Wouldn't that piss you off?

What makes a joke sexist is that it's funny because it presumes that one gender is innately less worthy than the other. When you ask "Is she single?" you're saying that her technical abilities aren't relevant, only her ability to (theoretically) supply you with hot sex is. That's sexist.

Note that the reply "Are you single?" is not sexist when it's in response to "Hi, I'm young, cute, and female, and I want to meet some hot programmers!" I.e., "Are you single?" is sexist when it's off-topic.

[ Parent ]

Yes (4.23 / 17) (#12)
by debolaz on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:18:30 AM EST

Let's treat them all like the fragile objects that they are, that'll make them feel like a part of the community.

-
--
If they can buy one, why can't we?
No (5.00 / 4) (#13)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:23:21 AM EST

Let's alienate them and make them feel unwelcome.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Ok, now I'm confused (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by KilljoyAZ on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:42:55 AM EST

I thought the phrase "RTFM" was gender-neutral.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
It's not 'RTFM' (5.00 / 2) (#20)
by salsaman on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:06:33 AM EST

It's 'RTFP': read the f***ing PERSONual, thankyou very much.

[ Parent ]
RTFP (5.00 / 2) (#39)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 09:24:56 AM EST

No, it's perCHILDual, you insensitive clod.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Run The F'ing Program? (none / 0) (#67)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 01:13:20 PM EST

I yell that at my PC all the time!


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

you miss the point of linux (3.64 / 17) (#14)
by turmeric on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:27:40 AM EST

Linux people do not want to "attract" people to the "scene". In fact the average linux hacker wants nothing more for than all non-linux people to go away. They might consider letting someone into the "secene" but only if they conform to the already carved-in-stone requirements: total absorption and devotion to all things linux.

To ask linux people to '"be nice to outsiders" is to ask lions to stop devouring gazelles. It is the very essence of open source software to hate user, to exclude people, to use verbal abuse, to slander gays, women, people of color, etc. It is a damn miracle the Europeans and Americans in open source ever manage to get anything done toegher.

There is hope, though, but not from the ranks of men. Women are teaching themselves the technology with absolutely no help from the loutish oafs who attempt to hoard it. The problem here is that when women take over, all of these unshaven scruffy fat bloated longhaired men will be out of jobs, and pose a dangerous menace to the streets of American and European cities. Could you imagine the plethora of beggars who have absolutely no social skills whatsoever? Even your run-of-the-mill homeless person manages to find an old barrel to start a fire in, or can figure out how to cook a stray dog. But these linux hackers don't even know how to steer a shopping cart, let alone identify one. Their bulbous rotting corpse flesh will attract hordes of flies and rats to the alleways and sewer gratings of Chicago, NY, and LA. A new genus of fly will develop that feeds only on the flesh of dead linux hackers, let us call it drosophila gutblaster. This will spread a new form of virus, a mix of bubonic plague and AIDS, that will wipe out 1/3 of the population. Unless we do something now to reform. Ho hum.

"When women take over" (5.00 / 2) (#23)
by NaCh0 on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:23:49 AM EST

BAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA
--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]
Who hijacked turmeric's account? (none / 0) (#37)
by georgeha on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 09:12:44 AM EST

He made a post following capitalization rules, and with a fair amount of wit and style. To me, it smells like bc.

[ Parent ]
How to encourage women into the FS community (3.25 / 4) (#22)
by kholmes on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:18:43 AM EST

is by considering why you want to encourage women into the community. I think then you'll have your answer.

The poll, asking if we're just looking to pick up chicks, is only part of the problem.

Perhaps, just perhaps, they might want to help out with something? If you think about it, that's really the only legitimate reason for this encouragement in the first place. But of how many women are able to help with anything on the technical as of how many men? I think you'll find this encouragement unproductive at best; lame at worse.

Now don't get me wrong, as I'm sure I've brushed against the prejudices of a number of people already, there's nothing good about sexism or male macho-ness. People who post sexist jokes should be banned from community mailing lists and forums, regardless of their technical proficiency. The only way to change attitudes is to raise the standards of the community.

But at this point we're not talking about Linux or anything technical at all. We're talking about standards of civility that everyone should already know. My guess is that all the women who are interested in helping out already are and are using ungendered nicknames to avoid what many of us already suspect. I don't see this as forcing them to hide their gender but rather as an indication that in technical matters, gender nor age nor looks matter at all.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.

No (none / 0) (#54)
by greenrd on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:03:28 PM EST

Perhaps, just perhaps, they might want to help out with something? If you think about it, that's really the only legitimate reason for this encouragement in the first place.

That's totally and completely wrong. The point of creating software is for it to be used. Users matter too.

But of how many women are able to help with anything on the technical as of how many men?

Less women than men, perhaps, because women are less inclined to study programming. That doesn't mean they can't learn. As the HOWTO points out, extrapolating from "Women don't do X right now" to "Women are incapable of doing X" is a fallacy.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Extrapolating (none / 0) (#57)
by quartz on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:18:00 PM EST

extrapolating from "Women don't do X right now" to "Women are incapable of doing X" is a fallacy.

And going from "women can do X" to "women should do X" is different how?

--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]

I don't think it's like that (none / 0) (#61)
by greenrd on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:27:15 PM EST

I think it's more like "If more women were encouraged to get involved with Linux, more women would do so - we need to break down the barriers."


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Nah, its exactly like that (none / 0) (#113)
by kholmes on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:30:32 PM EST

"If more women were encouraged to get involved with Linux, more women would do so - we need to break down the barriers."

Step 1:

Why do we need to bread down the barriers? To encourage women. Why do we need to encourage more women?

There is no reason. Somewhere this is the implication that if they are encouraged they will join. But this "encouragement" is mere vapor and no one will join at all.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Especially, if those men are a turn-off anyway! (2.33 / 3) (#28)
by twi on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:06:31 AM EST

Pray tell me, how is that not sexism ? Or at least "anti-nerdism", like this cheap shot: "regular bathing also helps to avoid turning people away.". Sure, it's not worse than what women get to hear from men, but two wrongs, you know ? You just can't say things like that in an article against sexism. Not insulting your readership also helps avoid turning them away.

PS: I'm male, use linux, and showered about three hours ago (which means I realy need to stop sleeping til noon ;-)

Something occurs to me (3.82 / 17) (#29)
by Rogerborg on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:13:35 AM EST

If I have to reconcile: "3.13. Don't treat women stereotypically" with "women are socialized to not be competitive and avoid conflict, [and] they have low self-confidence to begin with", and "3.14. Do treat women as normal people" with "3.15. Don't criticize too much" and "3.16. Do compliment", then you can damn well forget about "3.7. Don't make sexual advances towards women" because I'd better get me some fucking poon tang in return for this feminazi special pleading head fuck.

Or, slightly more seriously: if I have to stop acting like a heterosexual man (as so delightfully stereotyped by Ms Val "Don't stereotype women" Henson) to attract the company of the limp, fragile, self obsessed women that Val stereotypes, then you really need to explain why I'd want to do so.  What's the payoff?

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

This is an ongoing problem for me. (4.40 / 5) (#35)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 09:10:23 AM EST

First, yeah - I can loud and obnoxious even in real life. I know that. But in my experience (and in observing other people) this seems to be a far bigger problem with women than men. Men perceive a certain amount of professional aggression as appropriate and even expected (dammit, it's my code - I'm proud of it. I want it to work right and if you touch it you better know what you're doing). Male programmers often, I think, display this trait. Women, on the other hand tend to just fold when confronted with the need to defend their work. Then they complain about an "unprofessional" environment.

I'm past the point where someone needs to point out to me that just because someone is quiet doesn't mean they don't know what their talking about. On the other hand, I don't see why I should be held to a different standard when dealing with women than men.

The biggest tell-tale for me was at a previous job when I started about the same time as a woman. She and I (I thought) had a good working relationship. Four years later, I had become something of a "guru" - our product had 7 million lines of code and I was widely acknowledged as an expert in most of it. After I left the company, a friend told me that she frequently complained to management that I was accorded more respect than her. We had the same job, similar roles. The only difference I could see between us was that I was always speaking out to get changes made - or to defend changes I made, while she generally accepted what ever decisions were imposed on her.

If you're not willing to stand up for yourself, what do you think will happen?


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

Exactly. (4.00 / 1) (#156)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:51:40 AM EST

If you're not willing to stand up for yourself, what do you think will happen?

(I don't think I've given out so many 5s in a single story before, but there are a lot of very good points being made today.)

I have that problem with my wife on ocassion -- When we argue (and admittedly it's usually over something stupid), I often hear myself saying "If it's important to you, fight for it. I'm not going to spend time worrying about something that you don't feel strongly enough about to defend."

It's the same in my work life -- Of course I think I'm right. If I didn't think I was right, why the fuck would I be defending my position? I'd be going back and finding out what was right and aligning myself with that instead.

Why yes, I do come off awfully arrogant at times. :-)

I usually research something, make a decision and then run with that decision. If someone doesn't like the decision, they can come to me and argue their point. I'm awfully hard to sway, but if you have good technical reasons for wanting it different, chances are that I will rethink my decision and agree with you. I'm a bit of a Czar when it comes to planning. Once something is decided, it stays that way unless some damned good reason comes along to change the decision. To me, that makes perfectly good sense and is good business practise. The strong wills prevail.



[ Parent ]
A-fucking-men (3.50 / 2) (#155)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:44:36 AM EST

Or, slightly more seriously: if I have to stop acting like a heterosexual man (as so delightfully stereotyped by Ms Val "Don't stereotype women" Henson) to attract the company of the limp, fragile, self obsessed women that Val stereotypes, then you really need to explain why I'd want to do so. What's the payoff?

Exactly. If I have to put myself on the shelf to make someone else feel welcome, then one of us doesn't belong there. Period.

Most guys aren't terrible people. Most girls know this. If fragile little Val doesn't feel comfortable, then she can start up her own LUG for fragile women and write howtos about how to attract men to their meetings, because I can sure as fuck tell you that a lot of men wouldn't be interested in going. It works both ways, and somewhere in the middle lies the answer.

What does that mean, in English? We need to be more aware of ourselves, and they need to toughen up a bit. Neither thing is bad.



[ Parent ]
Dating tactics (5.00 / 1) (#300)
by val on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:06:54 PM EST

> I'd better get me some fucking poon tang in return for this feminazi special pleading head fuck.

Excuse me while I wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes...

I imagine your normal method of getting "fucking poon tang" goes something like this:

You: "Want to go to dinner tonight?"
Girl: "Uh, sure, okay."
You: "I'll buy dinner. But I'd better get me some fucking poon tang, and no feminazi special pleading head fuck from you either."

As someone else put it, it's a HOWTO, not a WHYTO. If you don't already have a reason to want more women in Linux, then you won't be interested in what the HOWTO has to say.

Interesting that you think of sex as something that women give to men, and that women owe men sex in return for, say, being treated like human beings by men. I think you'd be much more comfortable in a country which doesn't give women full human rights, such as Saudi Arabia or Malaysia.

[ Parent ]

"howto encourage girls in linux" (3.71 / 7) (#31)
by senjiro on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:26:58 AM EST

#!/bin/sh
for i in `cat girl.list`;
do
cat /dev/compliment >> $i
cat /dev/confidence >> $i
done

it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
Congratulations! (5.00 / 2) (#165)
by pb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:27:55 AM EST

You have earned yourself a "misuse of cat" award!

Look it up if you haven't heard of it, I did and now I know better...

Try this instead:

#!/bin/sh
while read i
do
cat /dev/compliment >> $i
cat /dev/confidence >> $i
done < girl.list

It should be noted that your code will have slightly different behavior than mine, however--if you intended to tokenize on whitespace rather than line breaks, I apologize.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

how so? (none / 0) (#175)
by senjiro on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:52:37 AM EST

I guess other than the loop I do not see any difference in our use of the cat statement. How will each behave differently?

it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
[ Parent ]
exactly, it's the loop... (5.00 / 2) (#192)
by pb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:32:38 PM EST

The point is, you don't need an external call to cat in the loop.

Also, when you implicitly use 'for' like that, it tokenizes on whitespace, so if you had a file that looked like

a b c
d e f

and you printed it out, item by item, with your method, it would look like

a
b
c
d
e
f

That's six individual items.  Whereas, just using 'read' instead, it would look like

a b c
d e f

Depending on what you're doing, either approach may work, but sometimes you really want one approach over the other.  (for example, when processing a list of files that have spaces in them, you really want to use 'read'... for will screw it up every time.)

But mainly the point is, you don't need to use backticks to call an external program when a shell built-in will do, and cat is famously abused like this... so much so that there's an award for it.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

ahhh (none / 0) (#193)
by senjiro on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:42:25 PM EST

I misunderstood the original post. I thought you were criticizing my use of "cat /dev/something >> $i" when in fact you were criticizing the 'cat girls.list' ... interesting. Thanks for the info, i'll play with this a bit!

it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
[ Parent ]
no problem (none / 0) (#196)
by pb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:45:28 PM EST

I thought it was fascinating when I first stumbled on the "Misuse of cat award" meme.

I was like, "there's another way to do that?"
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

oh lord (3.87 / 16) (#40)
by tps12 on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 09:29:33 AM EST

As some have commented, no sane person wants to be associated with "the Linux scene." Women, being more socially sensitive, are more aware that Linux zealots and enthusiasts tend to be antisocial, boring geeks, and thus should be avoided at all costs.

If you are a Linux dork looking for female friends, I would suggest that trying to lure women into your nerdy, technology-obsessed circle is an endeavor doomed to fail. Instead, throw out the DeCSS t-shirt, shave, try not to mention the GPL so much in polite company, cancel one or two of your weekly D&D sessions and all of your LAN parties, and in general try not to be such a fucking geek. You will not only open the door to making friends with women, but you might even make some more interesting male friends as well.

In this, as in all else,—
Y'r obd't s'v't.
tps12.—

Hah! (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by awgsilyari on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:28:28 AM EST

If you are a Linux dork looking for female friends, I would suggest that trying to lure women into your nerdy, technology-obsessed circle is an endeavor doomed to fail. Instead, throw out the DeCSS t-shirt, shave, try not to mention the GPL so much in polite company, cancel one or two of your weekly D&D sessions and all of your LAN parties, and in general try not to be such a fucking geek.

I've discussed Linux with my girlfriend while having sex on at least one occassion.

You just aren't looking in the right places for women!

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

dude (3.00 / 6) (#51)
by tps12 on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:44:34 AM EST

  1. That doesn't count.
  2. I don't want to know what you call your wiener.


[ Parent ]
*perks up, swallows pride* (none / 0) (#53)
by greenrd on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:57:58 AM EST

I've discussed Linux with my girlfriend while having sex on at least one occassion.

You just aren't looking in the right places for women!

OK, where are the right places to look for women, according to you?


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

LOL, IRC (n/t) (none / 0) (#55)
by awgsilyari on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:09:05 PM EST



--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]
Haha, good one (none / 0) (#60)
by greenrd on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:24:01 PM EST

No, really?


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Really. (5.00 / 2) (#63)
by awgsilyari on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:46:31 PM EST

Met on efnet in 1998, I flew to Israel to see her in 2000, she came here later that year, and it's been happy since.

Yes, I flew 8000 miles to meet someone from IRC.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

Beautiful *wipes tear from eye* (none / 0) (#85)
by TrinityTestSite on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 04:43:48 PM EST

I love it when something that should end up on Springer turns out nice. My co-worker did the same thing (met someone on IRC), and they are going on four years of marriage.

I tried it and that psycho moved on to someone else she found on the net(An AOL user?!? I'm better than that! Right?). I guess like everything else the medium is hit or miss, but not to blame. Blame is for the participants.

I'm not crying, the cigarette smoke got in my eye...

clusterfuck is the word that comes to mind
[ Parent ]

hahahaha (none / 0) (#157)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:53:29 AM EST

I love it when something that should end up on Springer turns out nice.

I did the same thing -- met my wife on ICQ, married 4 years now. One of the best things in my life.



[ Parent ]
As long as we're sharing... (none / 0) (#217)
by Kintanon on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:02:08 PM EST

I met my wife on IRC, we've been married for going on 3 years now.

Heh, sometimes things workout, sometimes they don't. Just like all the other relationships.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Exactly. (none / 0) (#235)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:47:40 PM EST

Heh, sometimes things workout, sometimes they don't. Just like all the other relationships.

Exactly. I don't see how meeting people online is any different in any aspect to meeting them in a bar, playing the Pick-Up game. Well, maybe beer goggles are a lot harder to engage online, but hey. :-)



[ Parent ]
no way (4.00 / 1) (#264)
by tps12 on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:30:10 AM EST

Beer goggles are way easier to engage online. How many beers do you need to drink before a fat 45-year-old man looks like a hot 17-year-old girl?

[ Parent ]
Yeuch (5.00 / 2) (#65)
by IEFBR14 on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:48:25 PM EST

I've discussed Linux with my girlfriend while having sex on at least one occasion.

The only acceptable use for Linux in the bedroom is trying to make sex last longer.

What I really don't understand, though, is that you discussed Linux with her during sex and she still invited you back for a repeat performance?

Sick, the pair of you. Sick.

[ Parent ]

Obvious joke... (5.00 / 5) (#120)
by leviramsey on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:03:34 PM EST

The only acceptable use for Linux in the bedroom is trying to make sex last longer.

Well, it does have good uptime...



[ Parent ]
nonsense (3.50 / 2) (#160)
by hypno on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:02:25 AM EST

Would you ask a scientist to stop wearing a lab coat, an doctor to stop thinking about medicine, or a mechanic to stop being interested in cars?

No, and they are not regarded as having any specific social problems. Coding is a profession, and it has an image problem. That's not to say it is unfounded, there are a LOT of antisocial *nerds* out there, but they are they problem, and not geeks in general.

[ Parent ]

Fark you (none / 0) (#319)
by Blackknight on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:46:13 AM EST

You know what, I like the way I am. If somebody doesn't like me just because I'm a geek, screw em, I don't need them. I'm a geek and proud of it. Maybe one of these days I'll find somebody that can accept who I am.

[ Parent ]
yes (none / 0) (#321)
by tps12 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:10:14 AM EST

You share that attitude with a lot of lonely people.

[ Parent ]
"Sexist Jokes" are usually funny (3.54 / 11) (#41)
by brunes69 on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 09:52:35 AM EST

I really take issue with people who take great offense to the idea of sexist jokes, and find them most of th etime to be either the type that are much too easily offended, or extreme feminists. For example, here is a joke I heard the other day that I find quite funny:

  • Why does a bride wear white?
  • Because it's nice for the dishwasher to match the fridge and stove!
Now me and my freinds all had a good chuckle over it. Oh, and should I mention several of these freinds are women. I also told it to my girlfriend, who sort of rolled her eyes and laughed. Everyone knows we don't really feel this way. Its a joke. It's funny. I heave heard many many many simmilar jokes made by women mocking men, and I laugh at those too. People nowadays are over sensitive and rampant PI everywhere makes it worse. Grow some skin, no one really expects, nor has any preference toward or against, anyone having any sexually defined roles anymore. Doesn't mean we can't make jokes about it. Grow up and stop acting like you are 12 years old crying to mommy cause I hurt your feelings.



---There is no Spoon---
My favorite sexist joke (5.00 / 4) (#45)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:36:09 AM EST

My baby sister and I are always swapping sexist and blonde jokes (she's a blonde and also an ICU nurse - you can't be stupid and graduate from GWU!)

Anyway, she called me one day and told me that NOW had just finished a review of all national monuments for sexism and had decided that despite popular perceptions, the George Washington National Monument was not a phallic symbol. When I asked why not, she said that if it was, it would be shorter, and lean to one side.


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

May be OK in your situation (1.00 / 1) (#138)
by Spork on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:13:52 AM EST

As it appears that your sister is the only female you speak to, I guess I see no problem in your continuing your sexist jokes.

[ Parent ]
LoL. (5.00 / 1) (#148)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:13:10 AM EST

Actually, I have been known to speak with my wife, too. Only grunts and snorts while she serves my steak, of course.

However - your slam does highlight another point that gets overlooked in the "women do this and men do that" debate. Different cultures - even microcultures - have wildly different standards of behaviour.

I'm one of six kids, three boys, three girls. The girls are all successful in their chosen endeavours. They are also (and I include my mom in this) the most outspoken, trash-talking, take-no-prisoners crowd I have ever met. This extends to (and I am not making any of this up):

  1. an extended compare-and-contrast of the sex habits of boyfriends and husbands at a family picnic
  2. Offering to help my then-fiance to find a better boyfriend
  3. On my wedding day, asking me if I wanted to borrow my father's Zorro costume for the honeymoon
  4. Calling or e-mailing me with all the latest dumb-blonde or dumb-man jokes
  5. Food fight at the Thanksgiving dinner table
  6. Between the four of them I think they own one harley, three 4x4's and a sports car.
  7. I personally watched one 5'5" member of my family reduce a man to tears for having the nerve to rear-end her car.

And so on. I love them all dearly, but they pretty much explain why I refuse to be held to a higher standard of personal conduct when interacting with women.


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

Funny because it hurts (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by tudlio on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 05:59:34 PM EST

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, but have to take exception to the analysis:

...no one really expects, nor has any preference toward or against, anyone having any sexually defined roles anymore...

If that were true, IMHO, the joke wouldn't be very funny. When's the last time you heard a joke about the sun rising?

That doesn't mean that the people telling the joke hold those opinions, just that they can appreciate that there are people who hold those opinions, and can imagine themselves holding those opinions.




insert self-deprecatory humor here
[ Parent ]
Joke about Sun rising (5.00 / 2) (#177)
by Rande on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:58:03 AM EST

(originally from TPratchett, but I don't have the book in front of me to quote)
Two drunk men struggle down a road after a very long night of carousing.
One says 'heh, Sun iss coming up'.
Other says 'Funny, I don't remember drinking that!'.


[ Parent ]
She's crying on the inside (3.00 / 3) (#111)
by kholmes on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:20:17 PM EST

"I also told it to my girlfriend, who sort of rolled her eyes and laughed."

Yes, but if you're like the rest of us guys, you don't have a clue what she is actually thinking. Too many more of them kinds of jokes and you'll have her worried.

You need perspective, that's all.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Just what makes you think... (none / 0) (#249)
by Mizuno Ami on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 02:03:47 AM EST

That an insult to a male is so different from an insult to a female? It's just that guys have to learn early on that they'll have to hide it unless they want worse. If females want to be equal to males, then they'll have to learn how to take some heat.

Ok, I'm finished, you can rate me 0 now.



[ Parent ]
No difference (none / 0) (#256)
by kholmes on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:48:05 AM EST

"That an insult to a male is so different from an insult to a female?"

There really isn't a difference--an insult is an insult, that's all.

This is one of the unlimited exceptions to the golden rule. You believe that because you have a tough skin that everyone else needs to have a tough skin too. But if everyone had a tough skin, there would be no need for civility at all.

I suppose this is one of them "Which side of the highway shall we drive on?" ethical rules. You can drive however you like on your private roads but when out in public you're going to drive on the right just like the rest of us.

This article is merely trying to make the Linux community drive on public roads. I'm not sure it will ever work, but its failure would be telling.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Jokes about men (1.00 / 2) (#154)
by hypno on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:42:40 AM EST

When was the last time you heard one? A while ago, i'll warrant, because women rarely tell jokes about men when men are present.

The point is, while you may laugh outwardly, you might be thinking on the inside "that's bullshit". Try to imagine how tiresome and insulting that feeling gets after a while.

[ Parent ]

I hear them all the time (5.00 / 2) (#159)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:01:36 AM EST

Usually from my GF. And I have no problem countering her "men are always wrong" jokes with "ditzy blonde" jokes of my own. Each of us DO have sensitive topics that we don't joke about, but as long as we avoid those, we both throw gender jokes at each other.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
What's the point? (3.55 / 9) (#44)
by quartz on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:29:02 AM EST

Trying to attract women to the Linux scene is like encouraging women to join the rugby club. Sure, you could (I guess) educate every single geek to be social and sensitive, and you could turn every single mailing list into a tea parlor, but what's the point in doing so? I don't really see one.

Plus, you need to lay off this obsession you seem to have with social interaction. Certain endeavors are simply incompatibe with the concept. Can you imagine, say, Bugtraq run by subscribers to the "socialness at any price" people? OMG people, you're so not gonna believe this: there's a big scary bug in that email program, what's its name. It's big and ugly and it can eat your password and let bad people into your computer!!!1 Somebody do something!!

--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.

i think you are mistaken (1.00 / 1) (#72)
by turmeric on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:54:09 PM EST

alot. mistaken alot.

[ Parent ]
No.. (4.50 / 2) (#153)
by hypno on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:38:33 AM EST

OMG people, you're so not gonna believe this: there's a big scary bug in that email program, what's its name. It's big and ugly and it can eat your password and let bad people into your computer!!!1 Somebody do something!!

That's not what is meant at all. If you can't imagine efficent communication without antisocial behaviour then that's too bad, but there's no need to shout about your social failings.

Yes, they are failings. If someone is offended needlessly, then the parties involved are failing to adhere to some basic human interaction standards, which is one of a few things that help to hold this whole mess we call humanity together.

[ Parent ]

educating "every single geek" (5.00 / 1) (#267)
by MissionControl on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:20:12 AM EST

What makes you think that the goal of this HOWTO is to "educate every single geek"?  From the HOWTO's Introduction:

"This document is intended mainly for the male Linux enthusiast who would like to see more women involved in Linux."

Clearly this HOWTO is not intended for "every single geek."

Also, it's interesting that some people think the only alternative to rudeness is "tea parlor" manners.


[ Parent ]

This is it (4.14 / 7) (#47)
by unknownlamer on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:20:29 AM EST

If girls are going to start using GNU/Linux, I'm going to have to use the Hurd. Thanks a lot greenrd.


--
<vladl> I am reading the making of the atomic bong - modern science
Double standards (3.85 / 7) (#48)
by rustball on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:24:58 AM EST

but you can see her point that being stared at and then immediately propositioned by a bunch of hungry men, when you're just looking for some technical support or whatever, can be a turn-off. (Especially, if those men are a turn-off anyway!).
So let me get this straight: women participating in LUGs don't want off-putting men hitting on them yet they'll make an exception for those who aren't a turn-off? To rephrase, "stick with providing technical support unless you're attractive, then I won't be offended if you hit on me." This is a double standard and should not be included in the HOWTO.

It wasn't (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by greenrd on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:44:47 AM EST

That was a comment added by me, and was not included in the HOWTO. And no, I didn't intend to imply that it would be necessarily OK if those men were all "hot", only perhaps less worse.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

That's life (5.00 / 2) (#78)
by Salted on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:44:05 PM EST

Let's face it: being hit on by an attractive member of the appropriate sex is flattering - "hey, this hot person wants to date me!"  Being hit on by an unattractive person is annoying and unflattering - "hey, this ugly person thinks s/he has a chance with me!  What's wrong with me?"

This breaks down to a classic prisoner's dilemma problem.  When a hot chick shows up at the LUG, each guy's rational course of action is to hit on her.  After all, by hitting on her first, he has some chance of dating her - but if he waits, someone else will beat him to it.  However, with everyone going agressively after any woman that shows up, women quickly learn to avoid meetings and everyone loses.  

[ Parent ]

Exactly (1.00 / 1) (#109)
by kholmes on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:16:23 PM EST

The only solution is no solution. Don't hit on girls. Let girls hit on you. Don't mistake civility and kindness for being hit on.

Not that this advice would help, since it is usually the folks my age (20) and younger who mess this up every time. Sexual friction often interferes with any otherwise worthy goal we may have.

Look which option won the poll.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

For the record (4.50 / 10) (#50)
by krek on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:34:27 AM EST

I agree with you, but....

That is just the way that men are for the most part. It may be slightly unenlightned of me to say this, but, if women want to be included into social circles that are made up predominantly of men, then they are the ones that need to make the adjustments, once things have been evened out a bit it won't be an issue because the nature of the social group will have changed. As it is if a guy, in a group of his male peers, object to being made fun of, and says that it is not very nice to make fun of his gut and that they should be more sensitive, he will again be made fun of, and he will continue to be made fun of untill he leaves or stands up for himself 'as a Man', either by use of fists or sharp words. Men give respect based upon victory in battle, be the battle physical, verbal or mental. And, if women want the respect of these groups they will have to earn it in the same way, backing down, or scolding men for being mean will only earn you derision.

It is not the fact that they are women that men do not respect, it is the fact that they do not react like men, and, it is equally unfair to ask all men to change their behaviour so that a few women can join their groups as it is to ask all women to change in order to allow a few of them to join some male dominated groups.

The long and short of it is this; if women want to join male dominated groups and earn the societies respect, then they need to make some concessions and act a little more manly, just as if any man wanted to join a female dominated groups he would need to set aside his male attitudes to conform with the group.

What do you think would happen if I, a male, were to step into an aerobics class (a female dominated area) and started making fart jokes, burping the alphabet and poking fun at the ladies large bums, I would quickly be ostracized from this group, ostracized in a very female way, cold stares, noses in the air sort of thing. Just as if a woman who walked into a sports bar and started scolding guys for yelling so loud and putting coasters under all of the beer mugs, would be ostracized from the group in a very male way, loud derision and inquiries as to her lineage.

I am not saying that socio-sexual segregation is a good thing, but it is very understandable, and will be a reality so long as there are such substantial differences in the way that men and women acheive and maintain respect among their peers.

you are unenlightened (1.25 / 4) (#70)
by turmeric on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:46:11 PM EST

and when a guy 'gives in' to the idiocy you are talking about he is a submissive weakling. when he "stands up for himself" by being a low brow cretin he is being a gigantic wimp.

[ Parent ]
Whatever you say bub! (none / 0) (#75)
by krek on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:04:16 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Err... That make no sense. (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by Lord Snott on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:11:36 PM EST

When you 'give in' you're weak, and when you 'stand up for yourself' you're a wimp?

Me no understand, tell what mean you, in betterer English.

I want some of what you're smoking!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]

One Question... (4.00 / 9) (#56)
by Run4YourLives on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:12:39 PM EST

Why should I want to "encourage" women in Linux?

It's one thing if you can point to a specific benefit, but if you're suggesting this "just cause" then don't bother me.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

Diversity of Opinion (none / 0) (#64)
by HypoLuxa on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:47:23 PM EST

I may just be a soft lefty, but I think that a diversity of people creating a diversity of opinions is a valuable thing in and of itself. Homogeneous thought will produce homogeneous thinking which in the end will only appeal to its own small little group. If you are one of these people who think that Linux is just for super cool l33t h4x0rz and have no desire to see a wider user base, then rock on my son. Throw everyone who doesn't think like you out of the project.

For a more purely mercenary argument, there are tech fields that seem to have a higher percentage of women than others. I work in a mid-sized software company, and I can say that we have a higher percentage in our QA, usability, and documentation groups. Linux could definitely benefit from more of all three of those groups, so courting women to join LUGs and participate in the Linux community could mean improvements where they are desperately needed.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

Somewhat valid (4.00 / 1) (#117)
by epepke on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:59:21 PM EST

This is a valid question in and of itself. However, a HOWTO doesn't generally address why you would want to do something, simply how to do it.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Not Valid (none / 0) (#266)
by MissionControl on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:13:20 AM EST

From the HOWTO's Introduction:

"This document is intended mainly for the male Linux enthusiast who would like to see more women involved in Linux."

There's a reason this kind of document is called a HOWTO and not a WHYTO.  The audience is people who already have a WHY and just need a HOW.

[ Parent ]

The do's and don'ts go for both sexes (4.44 / 9) (#58)
by R343L on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:19:45 PM EST

Most of that advice really goes for how a person should treat any person, regardless of gender. Complimenting specifically and appropriately, making people feel welcome without being overbearing, having meetings in accessible, safe places, having a variety of food -- all those things should be the case for interactions at any gathering of people. If things happen that cause a fairly large group of (mostly female) linux enthusiasts to write a HOWTO detailing that this stuff is bad/good or whatever, then how do LUG keep even the people they have now? Not just women, but men?

Maybe the title of the HOWTO should be changed to simply: "How to interact with other human beings in a sane, constructive and socially appropriate manner." Some of that stuff shouldn't need to be in there because it is so obviously stuff that a person shouldn't need to be told. But obviously it's happened at some LUG's meeting, or it wouldn't be in the list.

Rachael

"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del

La La La. (4.25 / 4) (#66)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 01:10:37 PM EST

the problem is your idea of what is "appropriate" and what my idea is are probably wildly divergent.

For example, a small amount of hazing and trash talking of a male coworker is usually considered a sign that he's one of the guys and part of the team. Try doing that to a female coworker.


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

try doing it to me (1.00 / 1) (#71)
by turmeric on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:48:35 PM EST

i will not stand for that bullshit

[ Parent ]
Exactly my point (5.00 / 2) (#73)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:54:26 PM EST

So why should I give you special consideration?

--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

why should you continually justify your rudeness (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by turmeric on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:55:40 PM EST

and make up a billion reasons why its ok for you to be a jerk?

[ Parent ]
Hah! (5.00 / 2) (#83)
by epepke on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 04:39:19 PM EST

As if you're in a position to criticize rudeness in others.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
i am like eminem, playing a 'street character' (3.66 / 3) (#127)
by turmeric on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:38:48 PM EST

therefore you should pay me millions of dollars instead of disrespecting me and discriminating against me

[ Parent ]
Haha (5.00 / 2) (#180)
by greenrd on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:17:22 PM EST

This thread is extremely funny. Thanx peeps!


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

And Eminem said.... (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by pb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:22:20 PM EST

Nothing, you idiot, Eminem's dead!

He's locked in my basement!
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Sweet. (5.00 / 3) (#98)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 06:51:43 PM EST

Especially coming from you, o Lord of Diplomacy.


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

turmeric aside, (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by persimmon on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 04:09:53 PM EST

that "special consideration" relies on how you define your typical coworker--anyone you can't treat "typically" requires "special consideration". Based on your description, most male coworkers can tolerate the hazing and trashtalk, most female coworkers can't, and yet you want to define the "typical coworker" as one who can. If half your workplace can't take the joshing, then you're defining half your colleagues as abnormal. (With normality having a high correlation with "male".)

Should they lighten up a bit? Probably. Should you refactor your definition of "special" and "normal" to include sex-typical behaviour of both sexes? Wouldn't hurt.
--
<theantix> I'm not sure why...but I'm sure it's related to the fact that we were all drunk.
[ Parent ]

Half? (none / 0) (#99)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 06:56:04 PM EST

Ummm.. I've never worked in a company where women were more than 5% of the coders. For at least one of those companies, this was a major problem - they were constantly trying to recruit women, but they generally never found many.


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

percentage is irrelevant to this argument (1.00 / 1) (#102)
by persimmon on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 07:16:54 PM EST

In this context of trashtalk and hazing behaviour, you're defining the male-typical response as normal and the female-typical response as abnormal, and complaining that females don't usually respond normally.
--
<theantix> I'm not sure why...but I'm sure it's related to the fact that we were all drunk.
[ Parent ]
No, I didn't say that women respond abnormally. (none / 0) (#114)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:35:00 PM EST

I said that I shouldn't be held to a different standard when I'm talking to a woman than a man.


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

hazing and trashtalking are normal behavior? (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by FieryTaco on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:58:46 AM EST

Sorry, trying to define trashtalking and hazing as normal behavior is just... well, wrong. In a professional work enviroment, there is no place for such things. In the recreational enviroment, to treat everybody with such disrespect and familiarity is just juvenile. With close friends, it's acceptable and something that will have developed over time. Don't paint every "male nerd" (sic) with the same paintbrush as being an immature social maladroit.

[ Parent ]
how about i just paint you, then? (1.00 / 1) (#186)
by persimmon on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:01:17 PM EST

Porkchop is the one who said that hazing/trashtalk are par for the course for his male coworkers.

I was pointing out what I think is an logical inconsistency in porkchop's position--he says he won't treat women specially because they're women, but he appears to be judging the average female by the standard of average male behaviour. We do not need separate standards of behaviour for men and women, but defining "male-typical" behaviour as the same as "acceptable for all people" is sexist as long as there is sex-based variation in behaviour.
--
<theantix> I'm not sure why...but I'm sure it's related to the fact that we were all drunk.
[ Parent ]

Again, I do not judge anyone else's behaviour. (none / 0) (#211)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 03:34:09 PM EST

I just refuse to make special exceptions in my behaviour for particular people - unless they have either (a) a really good, rational reason for changing or (b) a really impressive firearm.


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

In some environments, yes. (5.00 / 1) (#214)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 03:44:26 PM EST

Whether it's making fun of my low Quake score in today's office death match (I hate it when the babys start calling me "old man" - it's not my fault my refresh rate is too low!), or having a chili cook off (I won both categories: best flavor and f**ing hot!) a certain amount of humor and teasing not only improve morale, they improve team cohesion.

What can completely destroy a team is a single outsider who gets dropped in and then insists that the rest of the team conform to his idea of "normal" instead of adapting to the existing culture.

Does that mean that I would use the same language whether I was in a funeral or a quake match? No. Does it mean that someone should be able to make me constantly act like I'm at a funeral? Hell, no.


--
Once one sock is sucked, the other sock will remain forever unsucked.


[ Parent ]

Okay... (none / 0) (#236)
by epepke on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:50:06 PM EST

Sorry, trying to define trashtalking and hazing as normal behavior is just... well, wrong.

Okay, fine. So go find a market where people have to deal with customers, many of whom are frustrated or upset, where it never, ever happens that you run up against an abusive person. If you can't find one, go find the switch that makes it so, then get back to me. I'll be glad you did.

In the mean time, given that there will be customers like this, it is unfair both to the customer and to the employee to set an employee who will folds at the first expression of exasperation.

Trash-talking is a socially evolved means of testing a newcomer to see if that newcomer can take it. It is a trust-building mechanism. It may not be the only mechanism or the best mechanism, but it is a mechanism. It does absolutely no good to say that it's just wrong without suggesting an effective alternative.

Now, it happens to be a mechanism that I personally don't like to do in the workplace. However, that preference of mine limits my options. This is fine for me because I've found my niche, but I could never be effective for a long time as a middle manager for that reason.

I used to work with a guy who didn't speak colloquial American English. He came to me one day very agitated because he was helping someone who muttered "son of a bitch" under his breath. I explained to him that this phrase can be used as a general expression of exasperation and is not necessarily directed toward other people in the room. OK, fine. But I knew from then on that I shouldn't field to him the call from the manager in wherever it was who was always nasty, and I should always accompany him to talk to the difficult person who ran one of the departments. Also fine, for me that is--because I could take that pressure better, I could do more things and therefore get more goodies. But if you're part of a team that's doing something important, and you have to rely on the other members of the team, you need to know the limits of the other members of the team, and the only way I know how to do it is to test those limits or watch while others test the limits.

This is why graduate school consists largely of abuse and boot camp consists of even more abuse. It's part of the test.

Of course, the original article was about user groups, not the workplace, and that's different, so the above doesn't necessarily apply. However, trash-talking as a means of testing isn't largely conscious in most settings. So perhaps there's some point in trying to get people to curtail it.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
This has nothing to do with the original story... (none / 0) (#277)
by FieryTaco on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:43:59 AM EST

Sorry, but you don't take a new employee and yell at them, call them names, swear at them... generally create an oppressive enviroment as a means of determining if they're going to be able to handle irate customer support calls. You talk to them about it. You make sure they understand the nature of the situation. You watch them with customers. To do otherwise is poor management, leadership and supervision.

There have been numerous teams put together that never went through internal hazing, abuse, etc. to determine their limits. It's entirely possible to test someone without being abusive. If your team has to achieve a goal under pressure, you make sure that prior to the actual event you have worked under pressure in a similar enviroment. ER doctors aren't taken aside and yelled at, called names, beat up, told that they are useless fucktards, shit on, or otherwise abused. They are put into similar situations, possibly the exact situation they are going to face in the future in a secondary role. You don't take someone who wants to be a powerlifter and explain to them that they're going to have to lift an aggregate 1200 lbs in order to win, so they might as well step into this room here, and then make them watch while you step on kittens.

[ Parent ]

That's better (none / 0) (#279)
by epepke on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 01:48:06 PM EST

You're right that it has nothing to do with the original story, as I said in my final paragraph.

Now you're suggesting a mechanism that you think is better. That is much more productive. Actually, I happen to like what you suggest. It's the style of management I most prefer, both to do and to be on the receiving end of. I managed for a few years, and that is approximately how I did it. I thought it worked pretty well. However, it didn't lead to career success as a manager, and I noticed that the ruder individuals advanced faster. I solved that problem by getting out of management, which I can do.

There are only a couple of problems:

Sorry, but you don't take a new employee and yell at them, call them names, swear at them... generally create an oppressive enviroment as a means of determining if they're going to be able to handle irate customer support calls.

This is, of course, an extreme caricature of what actually happens, which is much, much gentler. I can only presume that you made the caricature to dichotomize the issue, which is a fine rhetorical technique, but I'm calling it.

ER doctors aren't taken aside and yelled at, called names, beat up, told that they are useless fucktards, shit on, or otherwise abused.

Putting aside the false dichotomy again (how many people in the workplace are actually beaten up outside of organized crime? You can't really believe that; it just must be rhetoric), this isn't accurate. I dated an ER nurse for a number of years, so I got to do a lot of anthropology of medicine. There is an elaborate social mechanism of put-downs in that environment, and ER docs are second only to psychiatrists as being on the bottom end of the totem pole. From conversations I've had, it seems that med school was even worse.

Now, this may be good, bad, or indifferent, but it just is that way, and that's the function it serves. You can say that it shouldn't be that way; this was the essential thrust of the movie Patch Adams. You may be wrong or you may be right; there is no way to tell until an alternative is tried on a widespread basis. There are some interesting experiments in training docs using different methods, but it hasn't been done enough to be conclusive. In any event, that's how it is, and I withhold approval or disapproval. Nobody invited me to the meeting where it was decided that people should behave this way, and I don't get to run a med school or MBA school. I'm just the amateur anthropologist, and I look for how behaviors function within cultures and subcultures.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
arguing about arguing? (none / 0) (#312)
by FieryTaco on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 12:04:38 AM EST

Once we get to the point where we are analyzing each others arguing techniques, I think we've gone beyond a place where we will find value in discussion. I'd just like to point out, that boot camps were brought up as an example of conditioning new "employees". Thus you see where I get the yelled at, swore at, etc. comment from. And in certain situations an "employer" can be trying to condition their "employees" to have very specific reactions to various stimuli and the means you go about developing those reactions are very specific. Such necessities typically are not required to test whether a team member on a software engineering project is going to be able to handle crunch time. Or whether a school teacher will be able to handle a rowdy classroom.

[ Parent ]
In mixed environments? (5.00 / 2) (#88)
by R343L on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 05:17:47 PM EST

And by mixed I don't mean mixed-gender. These meetings can have just anyone at them. Mr. Just-Into-Computers who is the father of computer interested sons might show up to a meeting. Or anyone really. You don't joke (crudely) and swear and so forth in that environment.

And for the record I am: (a) female, (b) work in a small software company, (c) and one of three women out of around 20 employees and (d) don't mind trash-talking and joking to some extent. But the difference there is that I know the people and have worked for them a while. I wouldn't go to a LUG and just start cussing to all the people there as if they were my buddies...and I'm guessing you wouldn't either.

Rachael
"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del
[ Parent ]

joking (none / 0) (#90)
by janra on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 05:26:26 PM EST

I don't insult people casually unless they're close friends - so yeah, a new member shouldn't get poked at until she's developed some friendships. Or he, for that matter, though more women are more likely to leave than men are if they aren't comfortable.

If I don't know some members of a group, I'm more polite - who knows who those people are, after all.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Exactly. (none / 0) (#158)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:01:07 AM EST

And by mixed I don't mean mixed-gender. These meetings can have just anyone at them. Mr. Just-Into-Computers who is the father of computer interested sons might show up to a meeting. Or anyone really. You don't joke (crudely) and swear and so forth in that environment.

Of course not, that is plain old common sense and courtesy. Ball-bashing and so on are reserved for friends. But this has nothing to do with gender; it's politeness.



[ Parent ]
Power (4.11 / 9) (#59)
by frankcrist on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:20:11 PM EST

Uh, women who know linux are probably already aware of the incredible amounts of power they wield, able to take whole herds of zombie-like creatures (nerds) and direct them with the greatest of east.  When was the last time you turned down a linux-chick who said, "Please me."

--x--x--x--x--x--
Get your war on!
Encouraging women (4.21 / 14) (#62)
by hatshepsut on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:38:10 PM EST

The best way to encourage women in <science, engineering, IT, pick you own technical/mathematical specialty> is not to discourage them when they are younger.

Do you honestly believe that girls decide all by themselves that they can't do math, don't understand science, and computers are hard to learn? Not a chance. Trying to change the adult community (through the use of something like this HOWTO) is, IMHO, a lost cause. Girls who are told (like their male counterparts) "you can be anything you want to be" will have thicker skins, be more competitive, be more willing to raise their comments, etc. when they enter the workforce.

Disclosure: I am female, working in a technical (though not IT) field, and received almost unlimited encouragement to do and be whatever I wanted. The few people who didn't encourage me ended up being filed (in my mind) as old dinosaurs who, quite probably, couldn't handle the competition. ;-)

False (3.14 / 7) (#82)
by epepke on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 04:37:26 PM EST

On the one hand, I do believe that the world would be a better place if people were more encouraged. That having been said, the idea that "their male counterparts" are encouraged is pure fantasy.

Males who are encouraged become the bulk of the doctors, lawyers, politicians, salesmen, managers, CEO's, etc. Sometimes they even "go into IT." However, the male artists, scientists, geeks, and hackers come from an entirely different population. Why do you think that good social skills are less common? It's because they are from a population that has been ostracised by most of society. They have paid significant social costs to be where they are. Show me a technical kid in a public school, and I'll show you someone who is on the administration's shit list.

In order to be a Linux wizard or guru, you have to be endlessly fascinated by that sort of thing, and that's not normal. As an abnormal person myself, I say this candidly and without intended insult. It's just true. We're weird. Encourage women more, and you might get more female Thomas Edisons and Bill Gates and their lesser counterparts, but you aren't going to get more Nikola Teslas and Richard Stallmans and their lesser counterparts.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
You are a sexist (3.66 / 6) (#89)
by William Franklin Rothman on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 05:24:50 PM EST

Why do you think women are less capable of being weird or outcast than men? If anything, young girls ostracize each other with much more cruelty and much less remorse than young boys do. Do you think young girls find the contempt of their peers less desirable than young boys do? I think you may be the victim of an unconscious double standard.

[ Parent ]
Well... (3.33 / 3) (#96)
by epepke on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 06:22:18 PM EST

Why do you think women are less capable of being weird or outcast than men? If anything, young girls ostracize each other with much more cruelty and much less remorse than young boys do. Do you think young girls find the contempt of their peers less desirable than young boys do? I think you may be the victim of an unconscious double standard.

My argument was only about the uselesness of "women need more encouragement" as a panacea. I could be right, or I could be wrong. However, if I'm right, then it would only mean that there is some other factor that needs looking into. One could conceivably discuss this and come up with a variety of hypotheses, some "sexist" and some not, some accurate and others less so.

In a hypothetical discussion, such things might be discussed. It is possible, for instance, that you are wrong. However, even if you're right, there are possibilities to discuss. It is possible, for example, that there is a feedback loop relying on the fact that the "nerd" is a primarily male stereotype. It is possible that female outcasts gravitate toward some other means of self-expression for some other reason. It is even possible that current enlightened "anti-sexist" attitudes embody a great deal of traditionalist viewpoints toward women. The litanies of those who claim that others have double standards are always full of double standards themselves. Also, the attitudes of most "anti-sexists" seem to me uncomfortably similar to the traditionalist, Victorian view of women as vacuous automata who can only do what they are shown how to do. Of course, the fact that I find it uncomfortable doesn't prove that it's wrong, but I think it's probably wrong, and this would come out in a hypothetical discussion.

However, I have long since learned that such discussions are impossible. Name-calling is more fun, eh?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
You are self-involved (3.90 / 11) (#106)
by William Franklin Rothman on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 07:57:28 PM EST

Ah yes, the "geeks are a persecuted minority" argument, mixed with the "feminists should shut up" argument. Listen, sport: geeks are not persecuted, not to the extent that women are. Geeks, for instance, are never treated like property. They are seldom raped. They may be beaten, but that usually ends when high school does, and they have a long and easy life to look forward to, because in the real world male geeks are valued. Their skills are not brought into question on account of their sex, unless they happen to be female, in which case they are. You would have to be incredibly self-involved to compare the difficulties of growing up as a geek to the difficulties of living life as a woman.

Your "women shouldn't have to be told to be geeks" argument is one of the most deliberate attempts I have ever seen at obscuring a very obvious truth. Society places expectations upon women. As a man, you are probably unaware of them because they are embodied in your own views about women. This much is crystal clear, from the fact that you just wrote several paragraphs on how geeks are so terribly ostracized without once considering what happens to tomboys in high school. Or fat girls. Failing to live up to society's expectations can be incredibly painful for young girls. It is important to tell them that they can be whatever they want to be for the simple reason that society will spend most of their lives telling them that they can't. By society, I mean that thing composed of millions of men (and women) who simply believe women are by nature less competent. It's not about ordering women about like automatons. It's about exposing them to the view that they are capable of doing anything that they want, just as much as boys are.  

Trust me on this: you are a sexist. Not a bad sexist, just an ordinary one. If you have a problem with that, then I suggest that you take the time to analyse your own attitudes towards women with a little more intellectual honesty. That means, amongst other things, actually reading about the problems and goals of feminism. Accusing me of name-calling will do you no good. Would it be wrong of me to call Hitler a racist? You are what you are. Hypothetically, of course.

[ Parent ]

You aren't very literate, are you? (1.80 / 5) (#107)
by epepke on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:02:11 PM EST

Ah yes, the "geeks are a persecuted minority" argument, mixed with the "feminists should shut up" argument.

Have fun arguing with yourself! I'm not interested.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Not what I said (3.33 / 3) (#173)
by hatshepsut on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:35:27 AM EST

I said they need less discouragement not more encouragement. There is a difference.

Trust me, I have seen it personally (from those "dinosaurs" I mentioned in my first post): everything from being told that physics isn't anything I would need to learn, to being called a "young girl" on the job.

I don't think that anyone needs more encouragement than "you can be/do whatever you want with your life, and become whatever you want to be, you will have my/our support". That is a pretty broad statement, and should be given to everyone when they are younger, so they don't feel they need to limit themselves!

[ Parent ]

sexism (4.00 / 1) (#318)
by babbling on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 12:18:36 AM EST

As a girl geek, ostracized and all, I agree that you have stereotypical and hurtful attitudes about women. Puberty was a nightmare for me. Guys have zero monopoly on the pain factor. My intelligence makes me a freak. The flip side would be, imagine your own tears when you cannot please the guys, these wonderful creatures who grew up around you and became big and strong, and you see the disgust and hatred in their eyes, but then you hear the same people wondering cluelessly why girls aren't smart. What you do naturally makes them hate you. Your hunger for love in your gentle feminine heart is pushed back, with the rabid burgeoning strength of all the cute young guys in a group. But even though you're ugly and brainy, you still qualify for people to scream "tits" at you and whistle and make you lose all your feelings of decency and freedom in yoour own body. Nothing you do is right, but you watch them fuck up, and you wonder why they never notice you . . .
If I were at full slayer strength, I'd be punning right about now.
[ Parent ]
Re: Encouraging Women (none / 0) (#281)
by Wolf Keeper on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 01:54:07 PM EST

I agree 100%.  I'm a guy with more than a little ego about my mathematical skills, although I never went beyond a B.S. degree.  One student I tutored in "Modern Algebra" spent half of the tutoring sessions exclaiming how utterly stupid she was.  I never said it, but she was absolutely convinced it was true.

She was brighter than me, and I aced my math classes.  The 'tutoring' mostly consisted of me sitting there and marvelling how quickly she grasped and applied concepts it had taken me hours to understand.

She's probably working as a clerk in some accounting firm somewhere, when she could be well on her way to a PhD.  

[ Parent ]

Ummm (3.50 / 4) (#69)
by axxeman on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:38:06 PM EST

...offputting personal habits like manual toe-cleaning...

You mean they have machines for this?

Being or not being married isn't going to stop bestiality or incest. --- FlightTest

I think he was suggesting oral toe cleaning (nt) (2.00 / 1) (#94)
by docvin on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 06:12:33 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Your kidding, right? (none / 0) (#121)
by coryking on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:08:08 PM EST

Thats really disgusting!

[ Parent ]
One would hope so (none / 0) (#134)
by fluffy grue on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:50:38 AM EST

Actually, when I was 7 I used to clean my toes orally (specifically, I'd bite my toenails), but I'm not that flexible anymore. It's probably for the best.
--
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

yes, but.. (none / 0) (#205)
by coryking on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:49:30 PM EST

But 7 != however old our RMS friend is. Hell, everybody bit there toenails when they were seven - myself included. But YUK!!! That man is god only knows how old. Biting your toenails is just disgusting. Think of how nasty your feet smell!!

I tried to search google for proof of this, but didn't find anything. Maybe I'm using the wrong set of keywords though. Or perhaps WHBT.

[ Parent ]

Bah. (3.14 / 7) (#87)
by terpy on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 05:13:01 PM EST

Women are not fragile. If someone wants to join a group, and that group is one that enjoys humour, you should be prepared to be the butt of a few jokes, especially at the onset. Otherwise, go find a group that hugs each other instead of telling jokes.

If there are a few problems members, it's up to you to do something about it or go somewhere else. When in the hell are we gonna learn to fend for ourselves?

Sticks and stones and all that.

---
..it started with a blowjob, and culminated most recently in an incident involving a gay man, several lines of coke and mysterious odours. --Ni

women ARE fending for themselves (4.00 / 5) (#105)
by persimmon on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 07:52:27 PM EST

In this case, they're doing it by removing themselves. Geek machismo was a factor in me not getting more heavily involved in the local LUG--there was a tacit assumption that, whoever configured my machine, it wasn't going to be me.

And for a while I did sit down, confront those assumptions, force the help into a format that I found useful--but as my experience increased, it became less and less worth it.

Men are not fragile either, but male-typical behaviours are generally reinforced in LUGs (and some other environments) just by sheer virtue of numbers, when that behaviour really has no bearing on the task at hand.
--
<theantix> I'm not sure why...but I'm sure it's related to the fact that we were all drunk.
[ Parent ]

Well, when I'm with a group (5.00 / 1) (#119)
by terpy on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:01:44 PM EST

whose behaviours bother me I know that I have a few choices; I could remove myself and find another group, I could adapt, or I could simply assert my own behaviours when necessary.

I think it's silly to look at things from a sex/race perspective. Can't we just ignore all that shit and push on, taking each challenge in stride?

If in someones opinion, things do need to be looked at in terms of sex/race/etc I do think it's their responsibility to do something about it. It's not like there's some law mandating only one Lug per city or something.

The possibility always exists to form a new group that better caters to the interests of you and your friends. I've seen such groups succesfully emerge before...

---
..it started with a blowjob, and culminated most recently in an incident involving a gay man, several lines of coke and mysterious odours. --Ni
[ Parent ]

yes, I could have started a new LUG (3.33 / 3) (#125)
by persimmon on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:25:07 PM EST

But I don't need one now. But there's only one linux kernel; if a team's shitty attitudes towards some issues that are otherwise unrelated to the team's purpose pan out in making a member very uncomfortable, does that justify an entire duplication of effort?

Women, as you said, are not fragile, and they're not stupid either. They know that list of options you have, and most women in male-dominated fields use a combination of them. Well, actually, most people use a combination of them in whatever field. As you can see above, I asserted myself and later left.

It's not silly to look at things from a minority perspective when things are disproportionately shitty for some groups because of reasons that shouldn't exist. People who like to pretend sexism doesn't exist say, "Deal." Well, this IS dealing. Pointing out the problem and its underpinnings is the first step to addressing it.
--
<theantix> I'm not sure why...but I'm sure it's related to the fact that we were all drunk.
[ Parent ]

It's not that I'm saying sexism and racism (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by terpy on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:36:48 PM EST

exist. I still say "Deal" though. Of course, I am a bastard dickhead. While I am a white male, I do deal with my own (small) share of of interpersonnel issues due to a not particularly sexy skin disease. I deal. Life's not fair and there's not much hope of a utopian society within my lifetime, so what am I gonna do? I can play, or take my ball and go home.

But then again, I've never had great luck solving problems. Maybe it's because I'm jaded. Maybe I jsut need more fiber in my diet. Who knows?

---
..it started with a blowjob, and culminated most recently in an incident involving a gay man, several lines of coke and mysterious odours. --Ni
[ Parent ]

A better title (4.14 / 7) (#92)
by bayankaran on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 05:56:46 PM EST

Would be 'HOWTO encourage men and women in Linux'.

-1, women needn't be encouraged to use linux. (3.44 / 9) (#112)
by la princesa on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:28:03 PM EST

anyone sensible knows BSD is the One True Way.  

all personal preferences for operating systems aside, though, women shouldn't have to be lovingly held by the hand as they are navigated by some man through the smoky jungles of LinuxNerdVille.  what they need is the option to choose.  right now, due to loads of sociological stuff i won't even get into (because part of that stuff is mostly male disbelieving said stuff affects behaviours), women don't know or have access to the choices in operating system or technical skill that (white/asian) men have.  

women, in general, tend to not be prey to that freakish single-minded obsession thing in the same fashion that men are.  they are a little more multitasking-oriented mentally.  in any case, that tendency means they will use what they please given the option, regardless of political or supposed technical advantages.  which (to drag this back en pointe) means that one shouldn't encourage girls to use a specific OS.  one should instead open up the technical and computer environments such that girls are as aware of the many options as boys are.  then they will choose as they like, and maybe it will (god help them) be linux, or maybe it will be something else.  but opening the entire field up is a more suitable and appropriate goal than trying to herd tha bitches towards leenucks, you know?  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?

look (2.60 / 10) (#115)
by dorksport on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 08:36:15 PM EST

Men are men, and women are women. Why do we need to be less so you can be more.

The notion that you need to make x more accessible to women only fosters the idea that they need to be treated with kid gloves.

accessibility (none / 0) (#270)
by MissionControl on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:38:04 AM EST

I think the gist of the HOWTO is to make x less inaccessible to women -- i.e., equally accessible to men and to women.

[ Parent ]
Calling it for what it is (3.45 / 11) (#135)
by nofun on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:20:27 AM EST

 
I was looking over the members  of the LinuxChix at

http://www.linuxchix.org/content/chix/

One thing that struck me was that the names and pictures of these women is that they are (with a lone exception) of all an ethnic group, white, Christian, western that is not very representative of female computer geeks.

I've lived in the U.S. and Europe and in both places and about 50% of the female linux users and geeks are Chinese.  If other Asian groups are included (Indian, Japanese, Jew, Arab), the number is probably close to 85% Asians.   That's counting only the female geeks in western countries alone.  If the countries of Asia are included, which I haven't been to, I imagine that female computer geeks might be close to 99% Asian.

IRL I have found that there is one group of people that will treat me differently once they know that I work "in IT" or that I'm a "UNIX guy", without even knowing anything else about me.  Once people of this group here those or similar phrases, they will behave with arrogance and hostility.   That group of people is white western women.

If haven't meentioned anything about computers or whatever, women of this group will also become hostile if they notice anything about my social behavior that doesn't meet their expectations of "normal".

Asian and African women on the other hand have been a totally different experience for me.  They will usually find it a positive factor the fact that I'm very strong on some technical subjects, will want to learn from me, and will often find virtue in what I consider to be my failings, socially and otherwise.

European women are entirely lacking in these positive characteristics in my experience. (And I'm a western guy BTW)

The condescending attitude of the LinuxChix saying that they will only associate with us under condition that we never mention anything about sex, and don't make "sexual advances towards women", really is a cultural problem that afflicts  white, western women only.

They feel some sort of an embarrassment, or resentment if they talk to a guy that is labeled a "geek" or fits their image of a "geek".  They are  unbereably embarrassed by the thought that anyone might think that they would consider sex with a geek.  I can sense it.

What the "LinuxChix" need to do is to adapt to the way that 99% of all geeks, male and female, socialize.  The LCs need a lot of work to overcome their prejudices against their fellow geeks.


Duh! (3.00 / 3) (#142)
by Paul Johnson on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:59:25 AM EST

If haven't meentioned anything about computers or whatever, women of this group will also become hostile if they notice anything about my social behavior that doesn't meet their expectations of "normal".

Thats normal for every group everywhere. Social behavoural norms are one of the key ways that humans distinguish "Us" from "Them". If your behaviour marks you as Not One Of Us then you will certainly encounter hostility.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Not so (none / 0) (#187)
by nofun on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:07:21 PM EST

Thats normal for every group everywhere. Social behavoural norms are one of the key ways that humans distinguish "Us" from "Them". If your behaviour marks you as Not One Of Us then you will certainly encounter hostility.

No, in fact, under some circumstances you will receive better treatment if you are different from all the people in a particular group.  

Being different often leads to receiving especially good treatment.

[ Parent ]

why would they be prejudiced? (2.33 / 3) (#163)
by turmeric on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:21:32 AM EST

ask yourself. are they just nuts? or maybe they have reasons?

[ Parent ]
Great reasoning there... (5.00 / 2) (#181)
by Kintanon on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:22:13 PM EST

How about you extend it?

"Why would people be prejudiced against blacks? Maybe they have a reason."

How does that sound?

Kintanon


[ Parent ]

yeah, a shitty reason (none / 0) (#251)
by turmeric on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 02:34:34 AM EST

because white people were not used like unpaid servants for
hundreds of years, like women have in many cultures


[ Parent ]
Are you agreeing with me? (none / 0) (#271)
by Kintanon on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:47:55 AM EST

Or not? Your comment was very ambiguous. I'm not sure if you're agreeing with me or being an idiot... Seeing as it's turmeric, I'll assume you're being an idiot. Blacks and Women have both been used as free slave labor in different cultures. There is no good reason to be prejudiced against either group based solely on gender or race. The only worthwhile discrimination is merit based descrimination.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

not quite (5.00 / 1) (#248)
by krissykat on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 12:48:06 AM EST

I was actually at a talk recently where the speaker (who studies women in cs type issues) mentioned something about the fact that lack of women in cs is not so much of a problem in Asian countries.  I wonder if any studies have been done as to why this is so-it'd be interesting.

I'd like to add that I'm a white, Christian American woman who is a quasi-geek (I'm in CS, but not nearly as geeky as some of my friends), and I like dating geeks.  But I don't want to be hit on by people I don't know at a LUG where I'm going for  help/knowledge (I think this was the point the Howto was trying to make).  Once I'm comfortable with the people around me, this might be appropriate, but not until we're friends (my personal opinion).  I don't think many geek girls feel any kind of embarrassment in the thought of dating a geek.  Maybe you should retune your senses. :)


[ Parent ]

Now why doesn't this ring true... (4.40 / 20) (#137)
by BenJackson on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 04:51:52 AM EST

Funny how violating every single applicable DO and DON'T rule from this HOWTO didn't prevent the "in crowd" at my high school from attracting plenty of female members. I'd love to see an article with some real sociological insight about the gender disparity in technical fields instead of this Miss Manners treatment.

So true n/t (2.00 / 2) (#218)
by 0xA on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:19:37 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Not easy (5.00 / 1) (#228)
by epepke on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:36:42 PM EST

Funny how violating every single applicable DO and DON'T rule from this HOWTO didn't prevent the "in crowd" at my high school from attracting plenty of female members.

This is extremely difficult. I went through this seven or eight years ago, when I was battling crippling shyness. Most of what I went through and what I discovered is in the archives of alt.support.shyness. However, there are a couple of things I learned. Rule Number 1 is that successful people never let on to what it is they do in order to be successful, because this is part of the game. A corollary is that anyone who wants to know must be attacked and misguided and vilified. I suggest to people that when trying to figure out this stuff they largely ignore what people say and instead watch what they do and listen to how they say it.

I'd love to see an article with some real sociological insight about the gender disparity in technical fields instead of this Miss Manners treatment.

Again, difficult. The issue is polarized into sides, and none of the sides have the right answer. Yet they're all so busy demonizing each other that they don't notice. It's impossible to introduce anything that doesn't fit into one of the sides without being pigeonholed into The Other Side, pretty much by all of them. Of course, it's a good heuristic rule that when everyone is pissed off at you, you're probably onto something, but what is the incentive of the pissees to try to contribute? At least when you bang your head into a wall you eventually get a nice red stain to look at.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
My Original Response (3.50 / 2) (#141)
by moshez on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:53:28 AM EST

Is here: http://moshez.org/discuss/msg00058.html

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
Very well. (2.20 / 5) (#143)
by fhotg on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:28:16 AM EST

The HOWTO however contains some errrors ans some impreciseness (written by a woman ?) which need to be corrected:

Not all woman are the same, there are very different kinds of woman. For example, there is the kind which just behaves completely normal, communicates in a rational way and orders veggie-pizza if she doesn't like meat. These you find relatively often in a tech-environment (overall they are rare though), and there is obviously no HOWTO needed to deal with them. They are self-explaining and will simply and calmly tell you, if she is disturbed by your behaviour, just like everybody else.

Most other types need special consideration though. The main secret is that woman are less influenced by ratio than by emotion. How they feel is much more important than what is true. There is only one reason geeky men will try to adapt their functioning to this. LUGs are places not suited to try this mode unless you're already experienced, because it is incompatible with how you talk to computers.

3.7. Don't make sexual advances towards women
Unless you are gay, kastrated or a priest, this must read 'Don't overdo it'. Woman experience the accumulated effect of their whole environment, so one attractive female among males will get pissed off. Recommend her to found her own women-only group and meet when the gender ratio gives somebody the chance to get laid.
3.1. Don't tell sexist jokes
If they are funny, it's ok. If somebody can't laugh about herself, she has self-image problems and sucks in bed. No she doesn't. I mean, she'll have to much issues to make possible orgiastic experiences.

The other dos and donts are pretty obvious and apply to all situations involving potential mates. You should look into a more targeted Flirting-HOWTO though.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

I find this article quite offesive and sexist (4.00 / 8) (#144)
by l3nz on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 07:01:29 AM EST

I am a man, I am an active linux user since 0.9, I think I am a person, not a drooling geek. I dont think there is anything special about linux. Most people just dont care. If they do, our LUG is an open place. No, we are not going to paint the walls pink or to wear neckties to attract girls in it: I think it would be dishonest and not fun at all.

Popk ToDo lists - yet another web-based ToDo list manager. 100% AJAX free :-)

I think this article is extremely funny (3.33 / 3) (#145)
by mami on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 07:57:22 AM EST

and your answer even more...

My, my, what a revelation. Even Linux enthusiasts have to think about manners sometimes. It wouldn't hurt, if they would take them and Linux a little less serious and otherwise remain politically incorrect whenever they feel like it.

And, BTW, why is it so important for LUGs to "attract women"? Who can't live without them, Linux or you?

The only thing Linux and women have in common is that men can't live with them and can't live without them. Being a woman that makes me like Linux... :-)

[ Parent ]

Manners (none / 0) (#151)
by l3nz on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:31:26 AM EST

Your do have a point. I always enjoyed a rich affective life, but none of my partners ever shared my interest in linux (or computing altogether). I dont personally care much if you like linux or what. But if you like linux and want to hang out with linux people, it's you who has to adapt, not existing enthusiasts.
In my opinion, geeks in general have a soft spot for people who feel "different", beacuse a lot of geeks feel "different" and maybe a little way out of mainstram americana. I dont think you will likely be discriminated for your sex, your religion or your ethnic group. But of course *you* have to fit in the group, otherwise they'll treat you as if you had an MBA. :-)

Popk ToDo lists - yet another web-based ToDo list manager. 100% AJAX free :-)
[ Parent ]

ok, I will definitely not get an MBA then (nt) (1.00 / 1) (#225)
by mami on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:00:39 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Ok, as you didn't get my attempt to be funny, (none / 0) (#234)
by mami on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:43:17 PM EST

how about that:

To be honest, it's a nice effort a lot of people make to do some true "Unix/Linux teaching" at no cost at LUGs. That's very nice. But as everybody knows, if you want to learn *nix, then it's better you hit the books, HOW-TOs etc and dig into all the files that come with your Linux.

Next thing is that a normal adult person with a life, who is not a professional IT geek, who wants to earn a living with his skills, has not enough time to do just that, dig deep in the files.

Next thing that might get in many women's way, is the constant changes and upgrades. Third thing, you rarely find Linux at your workplace, so learning Linux is a luxury, considering that you might have to learn other skills as well.

I don't want to spend my life hunting bugs from upgrade to upgrade or learning that it was not a bug, but my stupidity, when I don't get something to work.

Simply spoken, why do you want to use Linux as a socializer? I just don't understand what you want from a LUG? Either it's teaching and learning and hands on do something with Linux.  

Then I don't see, why women have to go there, if they are not up to become professionals in the field. And the few, who do, might come. If they don't, then because the LUGs don't teach enough to be worth coming.

If it's talking politics, drinking beer and have a good time and women don't come, hey, who can blame them with THAT kind of political views you are representing. I honestly don't know what turns me away faster, geek speek or geek political views. :-) Nah, I know, it's the latter. Bottom line, I don't want to go to LUGs. Hope that's not offending.

I still would use Linux, if I had the money to afford a SDSL with static IPs. But if you don't have something to publish that requires you to run your own server, why spending the money? End of story for me.

[ Parent ]

That is why (none / 0) (#293)
by Sylph on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:00:08 PM EST

"But if you like linux and want to hang out with linux people, it's you who has to adapt, not existing enthusiasts."

That is why the HOWTO about which the article is written specifies that its audience is men who would like to see more women joining the linux community. This is not an attempt by a group of women to fix up the LUG meeting with bows and streamers. This is an attempt to take seriously and answer a stream of questions from a portion of the population.

[ Parent ]

Thanks (3.66 / 3) (#170)
by bayankaran on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:07:26 AM EST

I think I am a person, not a drooling geek.

Thanks for the clarification. I would have mistaken you for a drooling geek.

[ Parent ]
Don't laugh (none / 0) (#255)
by kholmes on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:25:52 AM EST

The stereotypes in this thread are harsh and unforgiving. I suppose one geek crime against women (and civility) is the inability to speak software. I'm using a metaphor, of course.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]
HOWTO get more women into linux ... (4.00 / 6) (#146)
by dvchaos on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:41:14 AM EST

Pay them.

--
RAR.to - anonymous proxy server!
GNU/Hooker? (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by br284 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:27:11 PM EST

Coming soon to you from the fine folks at VA (what's their name this month?).

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Why not ? (none / 0) (#203)
by dvchaos on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:27:21 PM EST

It'd make more money than linux related products.

--
RAR.to - anonymous proxy server!
[ Parent ]
I'll stop when they stop (4.50 / 12) (#149)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:16:11 AM EST

3.2: Do protest sexist jokes

So, like most things these days, it's a matter of "women can do it because they're the repressed minority, but men can't because they're the power-holders and the agressors." Women joke about men far more often than men joke about women, in my experience.

While I personally don't care all that much one way or another, I wonder why it is that the world has shifted from a male-dominated to male-repressed. It's like we've pushed too hard for equality in some areas and ended up with a reversal in inequality, rather than ending up in the middle, where we should be. It's almost a crime for me to be a man some days, it seems. Perhaps not right where I live, but in the city centres and "enlightened" societies it seems that men are the new underclass; the objects of jokes and ridicule, and scorn. Required for reproduction (but we're working on that) and useful only for entertainment and helping you move.

A random example: Women A, B, and C joke about man M. Maybe guessing at his sexual orientation or that he's a testosterone-filled lug who can't do anything right because he's got a Y chromosome. No problem. Men A, B, and C joke about woman W. Maybe reflecting on her body, commenting on how they'd love to sleep with her or making "aw yeah" sounds as she walks by. Example A is the stuff of almost every sitcom in America. Example B, too. Now reverse them. You'd never find reversed example A acceptable, yet reversed example B, too, is the stuff of America. Why?

Anyway I know the article is about getting women in tech and all that jazz and that I'm perilously close to being OT. I just thought I'd bring this up because, while I don't mind being the butt of a joke (I can take it as good as I can dish it out), I do have a problem with this "It's good for the goose, but the gander better not try it!" attitude that I'm seeing more and more.

And before you all mod be down and reply with "you're just some whimpering wannabe with no women friends" or sommat: I am happily married with children (two boys and a girl), work in an office with about the same number of women as men, and generally get along just fine with the opposite sex. I don't find these problems where I am or in the town where I live. It seems, as I mentioned earlier, only to exist in the big city centres and suburbia.



so tell them to quit (1.00 / 1) (#164)
by turmeric on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:22:40 AM EST

...

[ Parent ]
I don't want them to quit (4.00 / 1) (#167)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:43:01 AM EST

That's the whole point... I want them to be able to tell sexist jokes, and I want to be able to tell them too. Why put a cap on it? They're funny.



[ Parent ]
Because they are innappropriate. (3.00 / 3) (#171)
by jjayson on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:22:42 AM EST

Women and men are not equal. It is a fact of history that women have been treated as less than human or less capable than men, therefore dehumanizing jokes or jokes about female ineptness a special breed that need to be curtailed. You should just learn that not everthing in this world works in the most logical fashion or how you expect or want it to. Maybe in 50 to 100 years that will be behind us and will be able to crack all the minority racists and sexist jokes we want to, but for now we cannot.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
I see a hint of a point, but (4.00 / 3) (#208)
by tzanger on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 03:19:19 PM EST

Women and men are not equal. It is a fact of history that women have been treated as less than human or less capable than men, therefore dehumanizing jokes or jokes about female ineptness a special breed that need to be curtailed. You should just learn that not everthing in this world works in the most logical fashion or how you expect or want it to. Maybe in 50 to 100 years that will be behind us and will be able to crack all the minority racists and sexist jokes we want to, but for now we cannot.

Oh, please. I could see your point with anyone over the age of, say 30, but even then those people are old enough and wise enough to a) roll with the punches and dish it out too and b) know that times have changed and that nobody is oppressing them with a bit of ball-bashing or smack talk.

Anyone younger than that age group hasn't seen (the same level of) oppression to have much of a voice against it, especially against guys in the same age group who are doing it out of fun and because they are being "attacked" in much the same manner with this new line of "all men suck" humour that is paraded around the media the past decade or so.

When I'm around someone I don't know, I'm cautious and try to err on the side of politeness. But if I'm with a group of people I'm familliar with and there is a potential new one in the crowd, it's a toss-up. If someone's too fragile to brush it off, then s/he probably doesn't belong anyway. I refuse to pander to the politically correct.



[ Parent ]
Re: Because they are inappropriate (5.00 / 1) (#289)
by niku on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 06:20:18 PM EST

It always bother me when people use history as basis for current actions. I do agree that sexist joes (and racist) are inappropriate at some times; I feel thay are inappropriate at times because of how people feel about them NOW, now due to anything in the past. I do not feel that because of something that happened years ago we should change the way we act now. For example, because I'm jewish, I can almost gaurentee a joke from my friends relating to the haulacost if i'm going to take a shower. That's fine; the holocaust does not make me feel uncomfortable and race is something that we include in our banter. It would be inapprotriate to make that kind of joke to my grandfather, who, because of the holocaust would feel uncomfortable NOW. While I think that making jokes of this type (i.e. sexist, racist) can be inappropriate, I think that humor is extremely important and should be accepted unless it is an attack. Joking is how we aknowledge that something happened and that we are OK with it. Basically, just don't tell that kind of joke unless everyone knows that you are not serious. If you are serious, then wether or not you tell the joke is not the problem.

--
Nicholas Bernstein, Technologist, artist, etc.
http://nicholasbernstein.com
[ Parent ]
Yes you're right, but... (none / 0) (#273)
by EriKZ on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:12:07 AM EST


It's supply and demand. If you want more women to show up, and it's because of the way people are acting, then you'll have to change the way you act.

Why do the jokes only work one way? Cause men and women are different. Equality of the sexes is a joke, or at the very least, a simple statement to cover a complex situation.

[ Parent ]

Absolutely. (4.00 / 1) (#284)
by tzanger on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:12:45 PM EST

It's supply and demand. If you want more women to show up, and it's because of the way people are acting, then you'll have to change the way you act.

Absolutely. However I have no problem with the current man/woman ratio at LUGs. It was this Val person who wrote the HOWTO, not me. I'm saying I don't agree with her assumptions.

Any man or woman who can't take and dish out jokes, or can't understand that men and women are different and want everyone to become tree-hugging politically-correct unisex persons just to make the fragile ones welcome has to get a clue. I won't be part of any group that has that as a requirement for their members, either.



[ Parent ]
well yeah (none / 0) (#296)
by EriKZ on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 09:06:49 PM EST


Yeah, but I've found that some computer guys tend to be lacking in social skills. Not surprising really.

Anyway, by making a HOWTO you're addressing these types directly. It should help. I think.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (3.87 / 8) (#161)
by br284 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:13:27 AM EST

Encouraging women in Linux... Here's what I tried:


cloud:~# lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by    Not tainted
ov511                  71840   0  (unused)
videodev                4544   0  [ov511]
parport_pc             12452   0  (unused)
parport                13888   0  [parport_pc]
awe_wave              156064   0  (unused)
sb                      7360   0  (unused)
sb_lib                 32448   0  [sb]
uart401                 6080   0  [sb_lib]
sound                  52620   0  [awe_wave sb_lib uart401]
3c59x                  24584   1
cloud:~# modprobe women
modprobe: Can't locate module women
cloud:~#

Doesn't look like there are women in Linux. I looked through the kernel sources and there are no women there either. Didn't find any men.c files either... Must be a 2.5 feature.

In all seriousness, how many men here want a female companion that shares all their same interests and quirks? I don't -- I know that she would drive me crazy. If the purpose of this article is to promote equality and gender-utopia in a Unix kernel, I'm rolling on the floor laughing. This has to be the funniest useless politically correct idea that I've heard in some time. What is next in the series? "How to Ecourage Women in Hammers"? When do I get to see the "How to Encourage Men in Hair Driers" article?

If this is really an article in "How Linux Geeks Can Get Women", realize that while folks like ESR and RMS are visible members of the community -- they are hardly representative. From what I've read, the ultimate Linux geek -- Torvalds himself -- has done well "encouraging" women without a HOWTO. (Funny meta-note: By writing this article and making it a HOWTO, you've probably done more to discourage women's interest in Linnux geeks. I can't wait until this makes it into the LDP.)

This entire article cracks me up and the fact that it made front page. If this was submitted as a humor piece, it wouldn't be as funny. But since this is greenrd, I'd be really surprised if this wasn't done seriously.

-Chris

You may mock... (5.00 / 1) (#174)
by greenrd on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:47:54 AM EST

If the purpose of this article is to promote equality and gender-utopia in a Unix kernel

No, it's to promote equality of opportunity in the Linux community. You know, as in GNU/Linux, not as in "the kernel".

If this is really an article in "How Linux Geeks Can Get Women",

It's not. The poll was a joke.

Funny meta-note: By writing this article and making it a HOWTO

Your reading comprehension skills need work.

I can't wait until this makes it into the LDP.

Your reading comprehension skills seriously need work.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Feh (3.25 / 4) (#183)
by FieryTaco on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:42:13 PM EST

First, this whole HOWTO isn't about linux, and it has no place in the LDP. It's not a technical document, it doesn't provide users with information that isn't generally available or provide a quick start to a new feature. It's about making linux into a social club, which isn't what it is. It's an OS. Yes there is a culture around it, but if you are a fully socially developed person you won't see any kind of lack of equally minded and developed individuals who have at least, this one intersecting interest. The author of the HOWTO wants to be treated differently because she is a woman. Look at some of the Dos and Don'ts: 3.15. Don't criticize too much 3.16. Do compliment I mean no offense, but I don't do either of these things to anyone I work with, male, female, or neuter. I show positive or negative opinions toward an idea or suggestion, but not towards the individual suggestig them. Doing otherwise is unprofessional and immature. 3.17. Don't invite only male speakers 3.18. Do ask women to speak Excuse me, but a person's gender is irrelevant to their ability to have expert knowledge on a subject. Given two equally knowledgable people it should be a toss up. But given any difference in knowledge, then go with the the more knowledgable. But ultimately the point is that, a) linux isn't a social club, b) this HOWTO implies that gender is relevant, c) that some particular minority needs to be coddling. Really, if a particular person has an issue, they should discuss it with the people they are having the issue with. Because painting with such a wide brush is offensive and, in this case, one of the issues that they are complaining about. You effect change one person at a time.

[ Parent ]
Do's and don'ts (5.00 / 1) (#224)
by greenrd on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:54:55 PM EST

The most important Do's and Don'ts on k5 are:

1. Do use the <p> tag!

2. Don't forget to break up long paragraphs!

With that said...

It's not a technical document

Neither is the Linux Advocacy mini-HOWTO. So there is precedent. I was going to mention that in the article, actually - but then I thought I'd done enough pointing out the obvious for one day! ;-)

It's about making linux into a social club, which isn't what it is. It's an OS.

Yes but there is a culture around it: LUGs, mailing lists, Slashdot, etc.

Really, if a particular person has an issue, they should discuss it with the people they are having the issue with.

Yes, but as I tried to explain in my article, there needs to be some give and take on both sides, in practice.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

You too then... (none / 0) (#230)
by FieryTaco on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:59:57 PM EST

Yes, actually I couldn't remember if k5 managed to interpret plain text or if it assumed that everything was html. Except for that little drop box there.

But back to the issue:

Yes but there is a culture around it: LUGs, mailing lists, Slashdot, etc. And if you would read the sentence after the one you quoted you'd note that I said, yes, indeed there is a culture surrounding it. But if you looked at that culture you'd find that there are all types who get into it.

Finally, every human above the age of, oh, say 5 years old, knows about give and take. And indeed such behavior is a normal part of their lives. Perhaps they don't act the way you act or the way you want to act, but if you take the time to get to know them, you'll find that they do indeed flow with situations and interactions.



[ Parent ]

GNU/Hippie (2.00 / 1) (#188)
by br284 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:22:51 PM EST

No, it's to promote equality of opportunity in the Linux community. You know, as in GNU/Linux, not as in "the kernel".

I wasn't aware that women were being actively discriminated against when it came to the GNU/Community. Sure, there are a bunch of socially-maladjusted coders who drool when they see a pair of breasts. Overall, it seems that this article is a rant against men in general and it's not anything specific to the GNU/Community. Some men never learn what is and is not appropriate around women. The fact that there are more of these in a group of people known for being shy and introverted is no surprise to me.

If women feel uncomfortable around certain members of a LUG and do not attend, there is a pair simple solutions to the problem: only invite women who don't take offense at everything, or boot the jackasses out who make the situation uncomfortable. It's like having a club with a few racists in it and trying to attract minorities. Either you try and attract the minorities who can ignore the racists, or you boot the racists out of your club. I don't see how this is any different.

If this is really an article in "How Linux Geeks Can Get Women",

It's not. The poll was a joke.

How about the rest of this article?

Your reading comprehension skills seriously need work.

My reading comprehension skills are fine. However, I'd suggest you get that "Hey, I'm being mocked because I wrote a stupid article!"-meter checked.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Yes.... (3.00 / 1) (#197)
by pb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:52:01 PM EST

I think the HOWTO is likely directed at those very "socially-maladjusted coders who drool when they see a pair of breasts".  These are the same sorts of people are probably more likely to read and follow this information because it's in a HOWTO, since they apparently skipped their etiquette classes to play on the computer instead...

Those are two very simple solutions.  I think this HOWTO is taking more of a "rehabilitation" approach to the problem instead of "exile".  After all, LUGs are in theory open to the public, so I'd think that you'd want to kick out as few people as possible.

But assuming that this HOWTO is directed at all men is as silly as assuming that it represents all women--it obviously does neither, but like all HOWTOs, those who have a problem in this area might want to read it a few times.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

My Optimism (none / 0) (#200)
by br284 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:11:39 PM EST

I see where you are coming from, but I would like to think that anyone who is a meaningful member of a technical community like the open source one is smart enough to not need a HOWTO. Of course, I could be wrong -- but that's what I get for giving people the benefit of the doubt. I guess I think that the number of people who are smart enough to write a hello world application, but dumb enough to not realize that acting like an ass turns people off is somewhere in the single digits. (Of course, I think there are lots who are smart and choose to act like an ass -- but this HOWTO wouldn't do anything to change their minds and make them gender-conscious sensitive human beings.)

I mean, shit, I didn't go through some ettiquite class and I've spent a fair amount of time in front of a monitor hacking, but even I've picked up on how to be a civil human being. Getting back to the exile v. rehabilitation methods -- if there's someone who is a detriment to your club and is too stupid to figure out how to be civil around others, do you really want that person in your club?

But then again, I'm probably just a meanie. That's what my little sister tells me sometime.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

In this best of all possible worlds (5.00 / 2) (#204)
by pb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:38:40 PM EST

Well, I don't think the two are related at all.  Just as some people might have good math and poor verbal skills, some people might have great computer and terrible social skills.

Also, not everyone in the Open Source community has a job, isn't in their parent's basement, or has hit puberty yet.  It's a very mixed crowd.

Re: the etiquette class, that was a bit tongue-in-cheek of me--I haven't had an etiquette class, and I think few of us in the Open Source community have... perhaps that's the point.  We could use a little more etiquette with our nettiquette, especially if we want to recruit people who aren't a member of our little club yet, and don't necessarily know all the secret handshakes.

Also, it's a bit harder to kick people out of your club online before they do some serious damage, especially since they're all such 1337 h@x0rZ, and also don't know when to quit, since they have no social skills.  In person, you can just toss them out a few times or call the cops or get a restraining order or two...

You meanie!  Ask your sister before you post such hateful things!  I hate you, Milkman Dan!  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Math and Language (none / 0) (#215)
by phliar on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 04:23:32 PM EST

Just as some people might have good math and poor verbal skills,
I've never seen this happen. All the mathematicians I know have very good verbal (language) skills. Of course they can still be boring, rude, or whatever.

My feeling is that this relationship goes both ways: people with good language skills could have been good at math, it's their upbringing that suppressed it. People who are good with language are good at abstract thinking. Seeing the daughter of very close friends grow up (she's nine now) has been enlightening: she used to be very interested in math when she was five, but as she started to socialise more, she doesn't want to do math -- "it's not cool." I think she'll be fine though, her parents always make her feel she can do whatever she wants to. Her verbal skills are amazing.

There's an interesting book -- The Math Gene (How Mathematical Thinking Evolved & Why Numbers Are Like Gossip) by K. Devlin. The thesis of the book is that language skills and math skills are very closely linked, and derive from the same structures in the brain.

To get more women in the tech. fields we need to fix the way we raise our children.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

math vs. verbal skills (none / 0) (#219)
by pb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:20:31 PM EST

Ah, but many of the socially inept people I speak of do have a disparity between their math and verbal skills.  In fact, tests for learning disabilities measure things like this.

Whether or not the cause for this is social, and in fact people who are good in one skill may have much suppressed potential for the other, the situation remains the same.  The only difference is that in that scenario, the disparity says something about their upbringing as well as their skills.

I've known some people who were amazingly good at math, and they also tended to have an interest in and a proficiency at music.  I was merely good at math, and have no musical talent whatsoever.  It wouldn't surprise me that the skills required to be a math genius have applications in other fields of abstract thought, but I think that connection goes well beyond being merely good at math and bad at verbal skills.

For the record, I consistently scored slightly higher on standardized tests of verbal skill than on tests of math skill, which always baffled me somewhat.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Exclusion vs. Education (none / 0) (#213)
by nermal on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 03:41:25 PM EST

If women feel uncomfortable around certain members of a LUG and do not attend, there is a pair simple solutions to the problem: only invite women who don't take offense at everything, or boot the jackasses out who make the situation uncomfortable. It's like having a club with a few racists in it and trying to attract minorities. Either you try and attract the minorities who can ignore the racists, or you boot the racists out of your club. I don't see how this is any different.

Why is your first solution to these problems exclusion? Why would it be so bad to at least start by saying (to the racists, sexists, whatever) that 'hey, these phenomena are causing problems' and try to create some awareness and change. A subtlety of the 'maladjusted geek' sterotype that is often overlooked is that often the social awkwardness is not preened and practiced (though I admit that some do this as a matter of principle) and maybe they don't even know they're offending anyone. The article even pointed out the case of a LUG member saying that 'that kind of behavior' didn't go on in his LUG, only to be contradicted by a female member of the same group. Whether the problem is oversensitivity on the womens' part or undersensitivity on the mens'*, are we so unwilling to actually talk about a problem that we'd rather just kick people out than give them the option to act otherwise?

* I should note here that I wholeheartedly agree with an earlier poster who said that the HOWTO could have been written without mentioning gender (or attributing particular attitudes by gender) at all. It's simply about being polite and aware in the social situation that is the 'Linux community'. Why limit it to gender? The same principles could be applied to matters of race, sexual orientation, presense of acne, and a number of other possibly contentious issues. Should we attempt to eliminate all contention? Of course not, then there'd be no individuals (And what would geekdom be without that?) but everyone is entitled to a certain amount of respectful treatment, right? And people who are being disrespectful, knowingly or not, should know how their actions are being taken and what is at stake as a result of them.

---- Sorry, left the .sig in my other brain...
[ Parent ]

That's what the article was about (5.00 / 1) (#194)
by aralin on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:43:39 PM EST

Read your response. That's exactly the type of sexist behaviour which turns them off. Comparing work in computer industry with bashing hammer and similar. Thanks for a nice demonstration.

[ Parent ]
Umm... (2.00 / 1) (#201)
by br284 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:13:22 PM EST

... that was the point. The women and hammers article would be pointless, the men and hairdrier article would be pointless, and this article is certainly pointless.

But it's a slow work day. God, send me something to do...

-Chris

[ Parent ]

too bad (none / 0) (#207)
by khallow on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 03:13:40 PM EST

Read your response. That's exactly the type of sexist behaviour which turns them off. Comparing work in computer industry with bashing hammer and similar. Thanks for a nice demonstration.

At least, he (I'm assuming it's a he) didn't mention power tools in his analogy. That'd really turn them off. Or sports analogies. We know what women like and don't like, don't we? Thanks for a nice demonstration of your complete knowledge on the subject.

FWIW, I found the original article to be misguided because it ultimately veers into a one-sided crusade. I know feral male humans misbehave. But what's the deal with the psychosis about fixing them via mandate? They aren't going to change unless there's something to gain (or less to lose) from the change. A list of dos and don'ts isn't relevant unless people benefit from following the rules and lose out from not following them.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Same quirks. (none / 0) (#254)
by katie on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:25:09 AM EST

"how many men here want a female companion that shares all their same interests and quirks?"

My partner for one - I'm a software engineer, he's a software engineer. We both have interests in subjects like psychology and philosophy.

And you know, from my perspective, having a partner who I can talk about my work to and who actually understands it is really great - being able to talk problems over with someone is a fantastic stress relief. We can support each other. And it halves the cost of buying IT books. Well. Actually it just means we have twice as many to read. But it could halve it.

{Mind you, we're hardly Linux fanatics. We just think it's the least crap available operating system. Maybe being not crazy is helping.}

Relationships like that can work. Just don't ever work for the same company as that ideal partner. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. That was SUCH an error...

[ Parent ]

difference between "encourage" & &qu (4.00 / 1) (#260)
by ryochiji on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 04:33:06 AM EST

>What is next in the series? "How to Ecourage Women in Hammers"?

You'll see that in the last several decades, women have become more likely to use hammers in their careers. They weren't encouraged to use hammers, but it became less likely for them to be discouraged from choosing whatever career they wished, even if it included the use of hammers. I think the point of the HOWTO isn't necessarily to encourage but to simply not discourage women from showing active interest in Linux (and other male-dominated subjects). I think that's an important distinction to make.

---
IlohaMail: Webmail that works.
[ Parent ]

What makes you think... (none / 0) (#287)
by Sylph on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 04:22:42 PM EST

What makes you think that this article was A) written by men to assist other men in finding 'wimmin' to mate with or B) designed in any way to assist male Linux geeks in finding compatible women?

There's other sites for that. I know. I keep getting them caught in my spam filter.

"In all seriousness, how many men here want a female companion that shares all their same interests and quirks? I don't -- I know that she would drive me crazy" A - It's not all about you. B - So, I guess you're staying single rather than risk having your SO actually have something in common with you?

[ Parent ]

Already discussed this article (4.00 / 2) (#166)
by zygo on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:39:30 AM EST

with a couple of friends. We are a group of students promoting free software and if you look at the credits of our latest project you can see that there *are* women.
When we discussed the article we had somebody feeling sad that somebody had to write a HOWTO for that kind of stuff, as if there should be a "HOWTO have a normal social life" and that if women are not into linux very much is the whole society's fault: little girls play with dolls and boys with legos.
Somebody else was thinking that some men actually need such a HOWTO, but the ones who do usually say it's bullshit.
And about sexist jokes... well if a woman makes one sexist joke she's labelled as a maneater, but if a man does then it's funny so laugh.

howto have a normal social life howto (none / 0) (#210)
by cronian on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 03:31:40 PM EST

Some people might want it

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
[ Parent ]
But why? (3.75 / 4) (#168)
by Anonymous Hiro on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:49:01 AM EST

There are lots of other interesting things to do and women seem to have no difficulty finding and doing them, despite even active discouragement from other parties.

If they were really interested in Linux (or other things) the obstacles for them are no greater than for men.

  1. Buy PC. Obstacle - money.
  2. Get Linux. Obstacle - time/money.
  3. Install Linux. Obstacle - time.
The information is all out there - http://www.google.com/
useful keywords: linux documentation project.

Women saying "Yes they do, blahblahblah" are just spending more time whining than doing.

If they get turned off so easily maybe they're not that interested.

Being made fun of, or being flamed has never stopped significant numbers of people from overclocking their CPUs using hacked together refrigeration units, or writing device drivers.

That said, I suspect if a guy had an urge to wash his hands very often, he'd find other similar guys and argue about the best soap, water, techniques and brag about the times he managed to completely wash his hands in a day, month etc.

Whereas a woman would probably keep it a secret or see a psychiatrist about it.

Maybe it's the same with Linux. In which case why should we go out of our way to encourage such insanity in women?

If they really want to they can.

Looks like the right way to me (3.75 / 4) (#178)
by vadim on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:03:41 PM EST

Although I'd do a few corrections to this HOWTO. I don't think it's even necessary to refer to women at all in it, it should just be a HOWTO about decent manners. It's really simple, don't do to others what you wouldn't like to be done to you. If it'd make you uncomfotable to have the whole room stare at you when you enter, don't do that to others either.

I think this is a far better approach than some other "integration" efforts. One of those, IMHO is KDE Women. I already discussed this in the KDE site, but I'd like to repeat what I said because I'm feeling curious if people agree with what I think or not.

The site says "We are an international KDE forum for women that provides a place for women to present what they already are contributing to KDE and where women, who want to contribute, find a starting point.".

My first thought was that I'm pretty sure that most women probably find it insulting to find a place where they can get started. And what about men, don't they need to get started too? Or they have it easier for some reason? I don't think so. I looked at the content of the site, and found a few tips that I would have found very useful when I was a newbie.

Then I thought, supposing I was a newbie again and got one of these new pretty distributions, would I ever have found those tips? The answer seems to be "no". I imagine myself booting KDE the first time, poking around a bit, and then going to the KDE site. From there I could go directly to the KDE women site. Now, it's extremely improbable that I would have ever decided to look for command line tips in a site called "KDE women", regardless of my gender.

In my opinion, that site contains some things that are useful for newbies. So it seems to me that it should just be changed into a general help site and renamed as "KDE Newbies" or something of that kind. While some things there are indeed related to women, most of the content is simply introduction material and tutorials. One thing I found there was a link to the Interface Hall of Shame, for example, which has been very useful and amusing to me, but if I was looking for GUI design tips KDE Women is probably the last place where I'd look.

My opinion on this is that there shouldn't be sites like that, there should be something generic instead, perhaps a site about netiquette. I see no reason why women or anybody else would need any special consideration. If everybody had decent manners all this wouldn't be really necessary, and this article wouldn't have been posted.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.

almost... (2.50 / 2) (#195)
by pb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:44:31 PM EST

All things being equal, you might be right.  If we all had decent manners, we could all get along on sites like "KDE Newbies". But since we don't, there are sites like "KDE Women", to allow women to get a head start without being turned away first by a belligerent male newbie.

So, you're right, if everybody had decent manners, all this wouldn't be really necessary.  Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in, and until it is, expect to see sites that cater to women and exclude men--they exist to stop the men from excluding the women first.

This is by no means exclusively a computer issue--this is an ancient social phenomenon.  Sometimes you want to find a group of people who can relate to your problems.  And if your problem is that you feel excluded because of your gender, then naturally you'd want to find a way to commiserate with your comrades.

This happens all the time, and men do it too.  In fact, they probably do it a lot in LUGs and whatnot, because they're practically all-male clubs in the first place.  This also makes it harder for a woman to get her foot in the door, and it makes some sense that their reaction would be to start practically all-female clubs.

Me?  I'm male, and I don't go in for clubs.  Especially for something like an operating system. But what can I say, some people are weird.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

helps people see it (4.00 / 2) (#198)
by akb on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:03:40 PM EST

I think its important that the HOWTO mention women I don't think people would see the problem if it didn't go into detail about a specific variety of people being not nice to other people. One of the points that the HOWTO returned to again and again is that men often do not see the effect their behavior has upon women and those around them that give tacit support for the behavior. The document is intended to be accessible to those who engage in sexist behavior but perhaps even more importantly is getting the passive people that enable the behavior to continue. The mailing list exchange in the beginning of the HOWTO shows quite a few things about the author's points, one important lesson is that the community gave the woman who was attacked support. If no one had chimed in on her behalf its very possible that that woman and others on the mailing list would have left or stopped contributing. That lack of support scenario is way more common than the positive outcome we saw in the example. A community that I'm a part of had a forum where women talked about their experiences with sexism and they recounted specific example after specific example of being cut off while speaking at meetings by men, given the dirty work, overlooked, cut out of decision making, on and on. Many of them simply gave up and stopped participating after a long time of dealing with this kind of treatment. They were mad, some at the few that engaged in overt sexist behavior, but even more so at the people that stood by and tolerated the behavior or did not see it. I applaud the HOWTO and the the KDE forum you mentioned. These are women who have been on the receiving end of sexist behavior and the pain its caused them and want support for themselves and others that experience it as well.

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

Then explain to me why..... (none / 0) (#286)
by Sylph on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 04:13:48 PM EST

If there really is no need, in your opinion, for sites and groups targetted at women specifically, then why are they flourishing with women who've tried going to their local LUG, or their local Linux guru or who've tried joining the $distro mailing list, and come away dissatisfied, looking for someplace where they aren't talked down to for being female, where it's not assumed that if they're frustrated about a technical issue, that it's really just a simple issue, and the woman in question is PSM-ing.

If we don't need 'em, why is it that they exist and are well-populated? Doesn't that imply that they actually are needed?

[ Parent ]

No, not that (none / 0) (#288)
by vadim on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:29:29 PM EST

It's not that I think there's no need in them, what I think is that it's a problem that should be solved by other means. Creating a site specifically for women might not be a too bad idea, but I'd prefer if the site wasn't about women but about general integration.

I just don't believe you can archieve a much better integration of women or anybody else by giving them separate support. To me that's like pointing and saying, see, they're not like us, but we're going to be nice and give them some extra help.

What I think that should be done is an effort on both sides. Yes, women should receive support, but the rest of the group should get as well some education, on the same level. If women don't feel comfortable in your LUG the right answer to that for me is not asking the women to come to a "women's room" and giving them support there. Neither it's having a room for men to teach them how to treat women. What should happen is that everybody has a nice and reasonable talk about why some people don't feel welcome, and what can be done to keep everybody happy.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

Irony (2.60 / 5) (#185)
by ttfkam on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:59:35 PM EST

I see a bunch of comments amounting to "they should just empower themselves, step up, and learn computers instead of complaining."

I say, "they should just empower themselves, quit acting like complete jerks, take a shower, and be a bit more inclusive."

Oh wait!  That second one was for the computer industry.

Here's a hint folks: neither showering nor professionalism is optional for the workplace.  Whether or not women at large can deal with it or not is largely irrelevant.  They shouldn't have to deal with it just because (some) guys don't seem to mind.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami

Yup. (none / 0) (#190)
by FieryTaco on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:30:46 PM EST

You're right. Showering and professionalism are requirements of the workplace. And other social situations. I don't think that any significant portion of the community thinks otherwise, thus that an article and/or HOWTO like this one is appropriate and offensive.

[ Parent ]
Oh please (5.00 / 1) (#244)
by Spendocrat on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:12:34 PM EST

Where are you working? Of the last three places I've worked (I'm a programmer) I can't recall one person who smelled bad or dressed like a slob. One of these places was a research lab populated mainly by CS/Eng. grad students and even they were fine.

Sure there's been a few people with poor social skills, but that's no worse or better than the patholigical bullshiting that passes for social interaction for some of the sales and management people I've worked with.

[ Parent ]

I am confused about the scope of the HOWTO (4.40 / 5) (#199)
by wumpus on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:09:12 PM EST

Actually, I think the author is more confused than myself.

Consider two types of users (women or not):
1. Computers are an important part of her life, she is willing to invest time to improve this part.
2. Computers are an unimportant part of her life, something to be used when needed, then on to more important things.

Case (1) is simple. She already knows about linux, has installed and tried it. If she goes back to windows you may convince her to try Red Hat 8.0 again, but she knows what it is and if she wants it or not. Parts of this article deal with making her feel more at home in a LUG, but thats about it.

Case (2) is pretty silly. There is nothing in this article that deals with this. She will migrate to linux when 1. its easier than windows, and 2. she throws the windows based computer out the window. Note that both of these have to be true, she has to care enough to switch, and that threshold is much higher than most geeks imagine (true for women or men).

Anything not specific to case (1) (bringing her into a LUG) is probably useful in encouraging girls (as in, even the PC crowd can call girls). Hatshepsut explained this (though I would point out that lots of boys don't become <scientists,engineers,IT types>, despite "lack of discouragement").

Wumpus
Who was one of a group of engineering majors who watched Star Trek TNG on friday night at college, largely because the other engineers were some of the hottest girls in the dorm (yeah, flame me for that).

myself....errrrrr (2.00 / 2) (#220)
by sethadam1 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:22:41 PM EST

I think you're more confused than MYSELF.  

Here's why: how to properly use the word "myself"

All in good fun,

Adam

[ Parent ]

I succeeded to get a woman into linux (3.00 / 2) (#209)
by StraGatto on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 03:22:49 PM EST

How? # ln -s /usr/bin/man /usr/bin/woman Out of the joke, among a lot of people in my LUG, the most clever in answering any technical question is a woman. Any rule has its exceptions?

This story makes me sad (3.87 / 8) (#221)
by DeadBaby on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:22:45 PM EST


For a lot of reasons really. Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable knowing there are obsessive people sitting around writing stories on how to brainwash every segment of the population into using Linux?  Given most Linux advocacy I see on the internet you should have wrote a How-To called: "How to talk to Windows users without coming off as a condescending little jerk" or "How to respect the fact someone doesn't want to use Linux" or better yet, "How to realize you're not a god because you can use Linux"

My question to Linux users is, why are you so obsessed with making people use Linux? Don't you think by now most people know about it? It's had 3 or 4 years of solid PR in the computer press. It's sitting on the shelves at Walmart, Compusa, Staples, etc. It's on thousands of mirror sites ready to be downloaded RIGHT NOW yet people still just don't seem to want to use it. This cult like obsession you people have with this operating system is just sad. Are your lives really that empty that making people switch to Linux gives you satisfaction?
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan

Curious (5.00 / 1) (#227)
by epepke on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:17:06 PM EST

This article and HOWTO seems to me more about Linux as a community or a club. LUGs were specifically mentioned. It's perfectly normal for members of a club to try to make their club more welcoming to new members or even to go out and try to find new members.

Now, there are clubs about all sorts of things. There are clubs for people who collect beanie babies. Except for a few Jay Leno jokes, nobody seems to mind. There are clubs for people who own Corvairs. Even Ralph Nader fans don't mind this. There are clubs like the Society for Creative Anachronism. Nobody goes to them and says, "The modern world is better, dood. Get with the times."

However, when it's something to do with computers, like a Linux club, all of a sudden people get bent out of shape. It's a nefarious attempt to brainwash everyone into using Linux! Break out the tinfoil hats, and hand me that relic of Bill Gates' foreskin I got on eBay.

I find it hard to think of something outside of computing where this occurs, except for Hell's Angels' predilection for Harleys as the One True Motorcycle. But even people who own BMW motorcicles can get along pretty well with bikers. Whence the need to call "brainwashing"?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
An example (3.00 / 1) (#272)
by DeadBaby on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:05:35 AM EST

I'm on the mailing list for my local LUG and there are constant e-mail messages of people talking about how they're forcing their friends and family into using Linux. If that's not brainwashing I don't know what it is.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
So take it up with them (none / 0) (#280)
by epepke on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 01:49:26 PM EST

If you have a problem with those people, take it up with them. Don't project it onto everything you see.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Not only about women (4.66 / 6) (#226)
by 0xA on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:16:05 PM EST

The author of the how-to really has a narrow viewpoint about this. I don't see the problem being only about women but about other kinds of people. I don't really like being at LUGs, Lan parties and such either.

Your average geek in his early twenties is mostly trying to look good. He's trying to stand out, get apporoval, get his ego stroked. This makes them them really hard to be around unless you want to get into the same mode. Think about someone playing Quake, screaming away about how they own everybody and everyone else on the server is a bunch of bitches. This has a lot in common with the strange pasty faced type arguing with his friends about what the advantage of the "reverse wing-bang super wazoo" approach to VM mananagement used in the 2.4.94.7.13/3673 kernel series. It is really the same coversation. For someone who is not ready to join the battle, it is not a fun conversation be in in or around either.

I can understand that being the only or one of a few women in a group of men is difficult. Being the only or one of a few men in a group of women is tough too. I work in a beauty related industy, happens to me all the time. You wouldn't enjoy the funny looks I get at yoga class.

There is one point I will agree with the author on, it is not always a good time to pick up girls. I can think of a few times I have found myself in the middle of a Counter-Strike game and having to watch everything slow to a crawl when some poor person actually admits that they are female. I would however still consider this to be a "young men" problem rather than a "geek" problem.

The minority always gets focussed on (3.00 / 2) (#258)
by mozmozmoz on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 04:06:42 AM EST

I'm way too used to this to be surprised by it. But then, like you, I hang out in places where I'm sometimes a distinctive minority, sometimes part of the faceless majority.

But what makes women special as a minority is the focus on women as victims that we've absorbed in the last 20 years or so. Because of that, to a large extent women really are victimised by the focus on minorities, and tend to react badly to it. Of course, another effect of feminism is that we can't actually have men-only clubs regardless of what they're for. And men tend to have stereotyped reactions to many feminist messages, since so often they are simply attacks on whichever man happens to be in range rather than constructive critique of the individual. But htat's a whole nother topic.

Reading some of the critiques of feminism by people like bell hooks (yes, lower case) can be very enlightening. Actually, the whole book men's lives is worth reading. I re-read it every now and then when too much victim feminism starts to get me down.

There's lots of comedy on TV too. Does that make children funnier?
[ Parent ]

how similar? (5.00 / 2) (#304)
by klamath on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 12:34:05 AM EST

hink about someone playing Quake, screaming away about how they own everybody and everyone else on the server is a bunch of bitches. This has a lot in common with the strange pasty faced type arguing with his friends about what the advantage of the "reverse wing-bang super wazoo" approach to VM mananagement used in the 2.4.94.7.13/3673 kernel series.
Uh, no. The first person is a lamer who wastes his time playing computer games and can't do that in a civil manner. The second person is someone with a (presumambly) amateur interest in computer science.

How are these two people in the least bit similar?

[ Parent ]

The point (4.00 / 1) (#309)
by irrevenant on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 07:38:12 PM EST

I believe the point was that both examples are of young (usually) men wanting to flaunt their skills.

I think it's an oversimplification. However while sometimes it is 'just' technical discussion, other times it's the same sort of 'look how cool I am!' bragging displayed by the guy screaming "I ownz j00!!!" at the Quakefest.

[ Parent ]
gee, really? (5.00 / 1) (#310)
by klamath on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 08:33:20 PM EST

However while sometimes it is 'just' technical discussion, other times it's the same sort of 'look how cool I am!' bragging displayed by the guy screaming "I ownz j00!!!" at the Quakefest.
Wow, so what you're saying is that there are not one, but two disciplines in which males brag about their abilities? I never would have guessed that outside of sports, cars, hunting, sex, office politics, and online gaming, there might be another area in which men feel the need to demonstrate their superiority to their fellows.

Oh, wait. The fact that there are a few imature dumbasses in the field really doesn't reflect on the vast majority of responsible and intelligent IT workers -- in fact, the percentage of dumbasses is probably much lower than in other areas. Not to mention that the majority of the field pours scorn upon those lamers, and generally does what they can to disassociate themselves from the kind of people you're talking about. Indeed, the presence of dumbasses in this field, as in many others, is more a comment on male psychology in general, rather than this field in particular. So ... what was your point again?

[ Parent ]

Well yeah (none / 0) (#315)
by 0xA on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:58:11 PM EST

Indeed, the presence of dumbasses in this field, as in many others, is more a comment on male psychology in general, rather than this field in particular.

This is exactly what I was trying to say.

[ Parent ]

Solution: don't go to LUG meatings. (3.40 / 5) (#231)
by mingofmongo on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 07:54:53 PM EST

If some women don't want to go to user groups I applaud them. Its just a support group for weenies anyway.

Read a book and check usenet like everyone else. I love Linux. It provides me with work, and allows me to do things with a computer that the doubleclickers can't do. I have no interest in hanging out with a bunch of gibbering losers. Linux user groups are worse than model train clubs by a long shot. These people bite ass.

Its the same as if you mention to someone that you like Star Trek, and they start talking to you in Klingon. Can't people just like something without having losers geek at them?

And I'm a guy. Why do you think a woman is going to be interested in your little sandbox? There's plenty of women involved in the Linux community, but I would imagine few of them are hanging out with a bunch of stinky sandal-clad freaks in some basement, reading Linux Journal and throwing darts at a picture of BillG.

The only thing worse than a LUG is anyone who thinks they are gonna reform it. People who are trying to trick chicks into showing up at LUGs are displaying the same kind of lack of a real life as the afore-mentioned sandaled freaks.

And women who expect things to be different are just plain dumb.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

How to start out a new LUG right? (5.00 / 1) (#233)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:35:28 PM EST

I've been contemplating trying to start a Linux user group in mid-coast maine. The nearest LUG I know about is in southern maine, and is more of a drive than I'd like to make regularly. I'd like to encourage linux adoption right in my community.

What can I do to get things off to a good start?

There's a local art center where I can probably rent meeting space inexpensively. I've been thinking I'd give a couple public demonstrations, one of some things that you can do with linux, and then demo a system install, and hand out CD's.

What other advice would you give?


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


starting a LUG (5.00 / 2) (#269)
by MissionControl on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:28:40 AM EST

Sounds like the Linux User Group HOWTO is just what you're looking for.

[ Parent ]
Try mentoring an individual woman (3.00 / 2) (#238)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:13:10 PM EST

I have a friend named Regan who used to have a dead-end low-paying job as a lab assistant at U.C. Berkeley. She wasn't too happy about it. I noticed that she had a real aptitude for technical things, so I suggested she try programming.

She went back to school, taking at first University extension and community college courses, then enrolling in computer science at UCSC.

She got an internship at a Berkeley company doing smalltalk programming, and at the end of the summer they offerred her a permanent job. She helped me get a job there so for a while we worked together, and I found she was extremely hard working and a good coder.

Now she is a senior software engineer there and a supervisor for a bunch of people.

I don't think she'd be caught dead in a computer user group of any sort, let alone a LUG. For her, computer programming is a job and when she goes home she forgets all about computers.

You might thing that's sad but she's making a good living, she owns a house she bought with the money she makes as a programmer, and her stock options have vested.

If women want to get ahead economically and advance in the business power structure, and men want to help them, then the thing to do is encourage more women the way I encouraged Regan.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Oopsy, UCB not UCSC (none / 0) (#239)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:20:30 PM EST

I made an error in my post - Regan studied computer science at UC Berkeley, not UCSC. I went to UCSC myself.

Berkeley had a great program that was meant to prepare women who had undergrad degrees in some other subject for graduate studies in computer science. She was in that course when she got hired at the company she's at now. But the program isn't around anymore because the state of california outlawed affirmative action.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Curious (4.00 / 1) (#252)
by kholmes on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:01:48 AM EST

"For her, computer programming is a job and when she goes home she forgets all about computers."

Does she not like programming? If she doesn't enjoy what she does then she doesn't have anything to boast about methinks.

Let me add that you can enjoy the technical arts without it being all you enjoy. Certainly my life would be near meaningless if it was my single obsession.

I need many obsessions in my life--life being one of them.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Well, you answered the question why women don't (none / 0) (#301)
by mami on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:11:43 PM EST

go to LUGs. As any person, who is serious about making a career out of programming, she went to school and educated herself.

That's why she doesn't need to go to LUGs for any other than to be nice and socialize among professionals and see if the LUGs offer something to her she doesn't already know or just likes to learn for herself in another social environment. If the LUG doesn't offer that, she most probably won't go. Seems pretty logic to me.

[ Parent ]

I'm sick to death of this equality crap (3.50 / 6) (#240)
by synik on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:27:25 PM EST

Everywhere I go I keep hearing things like:

"everything is men's fault, they're oppressing women!"

"everything is white people's fault, they're oppressing blacks"

I'm just you average white male trying to get through my day to day life. I use Linux because it suits me. I don't care which demographic groups use Linux.

Some women have problems with LUGS? fine, but don't bitch about it, go setup your own groups.

History (none / 0) (#241)
by bayankaran on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:20:01 PM EST

"everything is men's fault, they're oppressing women!"

"everything is white people's fault, they're oppressing blacks"


I completely understand your agony. History is the villain. Try rewriting history.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (4.00 / 1) (#243)
by synik on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:40:01 PM EST

There's no need to, look at all those blacks oppressing white people in zimbabwe, recent history is showing they are just as bad as any white group you care to name.

I guess it's just human nature.

[ Parent ]

True (none / 0) (#245)
by bayankaran on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:17:18 PM EST

What you say is true...but in this case it is probably a million blacks opressing a few hundreds of whites.

I smell some sort of imbalance.

[ Parent ]
It's easy to say that, Mr SWM (4.00 / 1) (#257)
by mozmozmoz on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:48:55 AM EST

It's very easy for someone with privilege to decide they don't care about "all this equality crap", but for people who wear the downside it really sucks. But enough of this "crap". From here your post reads very much like a stereotypical geek reaction to anything involving people - "go away and leave me to play with my computer". Which makes me wonder why you bother with a user group in the first place. The groups I've been in have had a few people like you, but generally the point of the LUG's I've seen has be largely social, a chance to get out and meet people and talk about stuff. Which means that to be successful a LUG has to actually attract people. Some straight, white, men actually like the idea of meeting women socially, and so the idea of a LUG that is attractive to women seems like a good idea. I'm sorry that you don't like it.

There's lots of comedy on TV too. Does that make children funnier?
[ Parent ]

meh. (none / 0) (#313)
by synik on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 10:06:16 PM EST

It's very easy for someone with privilege to decide they don't care about "all this equality crap", but for people who wear the downside it really sucks.

I wouldn't mind if people didn't keep blaming my demography for everything constantly.

Some straight, white, men actually like the idea of meeting women socially

A LUG is generally not the best place to do that.

[ Parent ]

you don't understand oppression (4.00 / 1) (#259)
by ryochiji on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 04:22:23 AM EST

>I'm just you average white male trying to get through my day to day life

The thing about prejudice and oppression is that it's transparent unless you're the one being oppressed or prejudiced against. If you're a white middle class male living in a Western country (i.e. the US), you'll rarely feel oppression, so you won't even recognize oppression, much less understand what it really is.

Some level of prejudice is probably inevitable in any given society/culture/community. The least you could do is listen when the opressed voice a concern, and be aware of the issues. If you were being oppressed, that's what you would hope others to do.

---
IlohaMail: Webmail that works.
[ Parent ]

pickup lines (none / 0) (#275)
by FieryTaco on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:19:25 AM EST

The thing about prejudice and oppression is that it's transparent unless you're the one being oppressed or prejudiced against. If you're a white middle class male living in a Western country (i.e. the US), you'll rarely feel oppression, so you won't even recognize oppression, much less understand what it really is.
I try that as a pickup line all the time. Never works. Generally the women figure that if I ain't getting any, it's not because I'm being unfairly oppressed, but instead it's because I don't brush my teeth or something like that.

If you want sympathy or support, you'll need to figure out a way to show that there's a problem, rather than telling people that there's a problem that they can't recognize, much less understand what it really is. For fucks sake, anyone could go and argue that they are being unfairly oppressed in some manner, just nobody else can see it.

[ Parent ]

Proof of oppression (5.00 / 2) (#291)
by val on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 07:16:41 PM EST

> For fucks sake, anyone could go and argue that they are being unfairly oppressed in some manner, just nobody else can see it.

Indeed. If you actually read the HOWTO, you'd find a few pointers to documentation of the ways women have been and are being oppressed. Actually, a cursory knowledge of history would have obviated your comment, but to save you the trouble of doing your own research, or of even reading the HOWTO, here's a link or two:

Gender socialization begins at birth

FAQ about "women's issues"

Women are paid less than men for the same work

A cursory Google search will find loads more information for the curious.

Enjoy!

[ Parent ]

Read it? (none / 0) (#311)
by FieryTaco on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 11:54:53 PM EST

I did, at least parts of it. Then it just got tedious and pointless. There comes a time when you realize that someone is just ranting and their complaints have no bearing on the subject at hand. Much like the presumption that "Linux needs Women!" Linux doesn't need any gender or race any more than any other gender or race. Maybe you should have started with a paper determining if, in fact, it's true that a particular gender or race has a greater aptitude for software development.

But, back to the comment at hand, perhaps you should have read it and it's parent. My comment was in regards to someone telling the world that they are oppressed and that the rest of the world can't understand or comprehend the oppression. Which is flat out bullshit and just childishness manipulation.

[ Parent ]

target audience (3.00 / 1) (#268)
by MissionControl on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:25:55 AM EST

From the HOWTO's Introduction:
This document is intended mainly for the male Linux enthusiast who would like to see more women involved in Linux.
If you don't care about which demographic groups use Linux, you are not the target audience! I don't go complaining about the SCSI HOWTO, saying, "I use Linux because it suits me. I don't care about using SCSI." Guess what! You're not the center of the universe!

[ Parent ]
Women in the Unix world (4.00 / 3) (#246)
by b1 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:22:01 PM EST

The issue of woman in the tech world and how to treat them is a very difficult one. On the one hand we don't want to be treated any differently. It is quite embarrassing to be in a meeting room full of guys and have someone appologise directly to you after sweaing in front of a room full of people. I'm not prudish and have no objection to occasional crass jokes or swearing and by assuming that I do just because I'm a woman is offensive. At the same time I do get sick of the overly male atmosphere both of my office and in the unix world. There is no need to treat women differently, just don't treat the tech world as a boys club.

The other problem I find is that men always assume I'm a newbie. I have been a unix system programmer for some time. When I post to a question to a news group I often get "talked down to", and when talking to technical people over the phone I am constantly patronised until they realise that I do know what I am talking about whereby I usually get some comment on "how technical" my work is. Comments that would not be made to a man, as all my co-workers (all men) confirm. Noone ever shows surprise at "how technical" their work is.

But while this sort of behaviour is annoying I think the main reason why women aren't into LUG's etc is due more to a difference in the sexes than to the treatment of women by the members of the groups. Men tend to be more singularily focused whereas women have more of a tendany to be focused on a number of things. Men are more likely to spend a great deal of their spare time on one particular hobby - in this case Linux, whereas women tend to be interested in a number of hobbies. Apart from the fact that there are very few women in the computing industry or into Linux etc most (but not all) of the ones who are (at least in my experience) tend to be less obessive about it, and while they might install Linux on their home computer and tinker with it, and read articles by RMS and free software and related topics they tend not to spend large portions of there free time hanging out in LUG's or writting patches to the Linux kernel, not because they don't feel comfortable in the community but because they have other things to do with their time.


Boys club? duh... (none / 0) (#247)
by synik on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:48:02 PM EST

There is no need to treat women differently, just don't treat the tech world as a boys club.

Assuming that technical unix roles are 85% male occupied, then don't you think that it's going to be a boys club of some sort? It's not because we dislike women, it's because we're used to a mostly male workplace....

That said, we have 2 women in the sysadmin team here, and they get treated just like everyone else.

[ Parent ]

"boys club" (5.00 / 1) (#276)
by MissionControl on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:23:01 AM EST

I've always thought that the terms "boys club" and "old boys network" don't refer to a situation where men are simply in the majority. I've always thought that they refer to situations where men dominate and actively exclude outsiders -- i.e., women. I acknowledge that there are tons of places where men are in the majority but which aren't "boys clubs."

[ Parent ]
women don't seem to care to learn these things (2.50 / 2) (#250)
by Mizuno Ami on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 02:25:05 AM EST

That's great an all that you're good at computers. However, I doubt that any of the men that talk down to you have ever met a women who knows what a kernel is in real life. I know I certainly haven't. On my internship this summer, I had to constantly correct my female co-worker's unix commands. It was very annoying. My LUG only has one female member, and she constant asks a male member to fix her system for her when something goes wrong, and she never learns. It gets frustrating after a while trying to believe that a female could ever be good at computers when I've yet to meet a female in real life who knows anything about computers.

Females don't even try to learn things about computers. I've almost got to showing a few females a few tricks and tips, but they always back off and just say that they don't know anything. That is, they don't want to know anything, because they don't give me the opportunity.

This has a lot to do with my theory that anyone who claims to be female on the internet is actually a male, but that's something else entirely.

What's really frustrating to me, though, is how females get to complain about everything. I never really knew this until I went in to theray, but apparently, I'm not the only guy out there who has things to complain about. It's just that guys aren't allowed to complain about anything.



[ Parent ]
Re: women don't seem to care to learn these things (4.00 / 2) (#282)
by Sylph on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 02:11:55 PM EST

A good portion of what you are seeing ("I've almost got to showing a few females a few tricks and tips, but they always back off and just say that they don't know anything.") is part of how women are raised and socialized.

This is part of what we're all trying to combat.

And by continuing to assume that -ALL- women are ignorant about computers or simply do not care, you are setting an example that every woman that you encounter will perceive and do her best to meet. Thus creating a self-preserving cycle.

[ Parent ]

"I met a girl who didn't like computers...&qu (5.00 / 2) (#292)
by val on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 07:45:17 PM EST

> I had to constantly correct my female co-worker's unix commands.

[...]

> My LUG only has one female member,

Congratulations, you have successfully generalized from two specimens to an entire class of human beings! Interestingly, I'm certain you've met multiple men who needed their UNIX commands corrected, and who want other people to fix their systems. I myself recall with no small annoyance the vast hordes of men in college who tried to get me to write their programs for them. Oh, the delicious irony...

> I've almost got to showing a few females a few tricks and tips, but they always back off and just say that they don't know anything. That is, they don't want to know anything, because they don't give me the opportunity.

*smacks forehead*

Those silly girls, didn't they realize how lucky they were to be taught tricks and tips by you? I mean, if they didn't want to learn from _you_, then they obviously didn't want to learn at all!

I'm a girl, I do know what a kernel is, and I've been paid for several years on the assumption that I not only know what a kernel is, but I know how to debug it, write code for it, and design it. About two years ago, I also didn't know any women (other than myself) who knew what a kernel was. So I went looking for them and found them here:

LinuxChix

It's amazing to me how many people will jump into a discussion like this with, "Well, I know this one girl," and "I've never met anyone like that," and "My little girl plays with Barbies _naturally_!" Of course your own personal experience is going to reflect a world where most women are socialized to think acting smart is unattractive, that only girls wear pink, and that computers are boring. Your personal experience that women aren't interested in computers doesn't have any bearing on the question of _why_ women aren't interested in computers.

[ Parent ]

many women seem to want it both ways (none / 0) (#306)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 02:28:43 AM EST

On one hand I hear that the tech culture (or any other culture, I guess) should be more 'inclusive,' so women would want to come in and hang out for a while.  This means men are to change the way they talk, act, and basically think, to make women feel more comfortable and welcome.  And on the other hand women get offended if they sense that they are being  treated differently, because it calls attention to the fact that they're women, and makes an issue of their gender.  So which is it?  Do men need to change to accomodate women's wants/needs, or do men need to act as if they don't notice the gender of the 'new guy' who isn't a guy?  These two schools of thought are mutually exclusive.  Women seem to be saying "change into the person I want you to be, but act as if you're not changing to suit me, because I would find that patronizing."   Wow, that sounds completely unlike 90% of the women I've ever dated, or had as friends, or even known, so that generalization must be way off.

[ Parent ]
Why Women ? (4.50 / 4) (#253)
by bugmaster on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:11:17 AM EST

Disclosure: I am a white male oppressor.

This article is self-defeating. First, it asserts that women need to be encouraged into Linux, as opposed to men. Then, it tells us not to be sexist. So, we need to be non-sexist for sexist reasons.

Nevertheless, here is my own short list of things that will help encourage women, as well as men, into Linux:

  • Stop being a bunch of elitist jerks. Not all Windows users are mindless MSFT drones; not all Mac users are beret-wearing airheads. If I don't know what ipchains does, it's because I haven't learned it yet. If you insult me when I ask you "what's ipchains ?", I will go away and never come back.
  • Renounce the moral high ground. One argument for Linux I often hear is "You must use Linux because Palladium is evil". Huh ? This is a technical discussion, not an election campaign. Linux has to stand on its own merits.
  • Advertise. MSFT does it. Apple does it. You can do it. Of course, advertisement won't help until you...
  • Improve your product. For example:
    • Decide on a single desktop manager, then use it. I don't care about the KDE/Gnome /QT wars. Reading the flames online just makes me think that the GUI support for Linux is not ready yet.
    • Fix disk IO and multiprocessing. Ok, this is probably a Red Hat specific problem, but whenever a lot of disk IO occurs, the system seems to lock up until it's all done. I mean, come on, even Windows has it right. Same goes for other multiprocessing issues.
    • Make configuration easier. I love having an OS whose source code I can modify at my whim. I hate having an OS whose source code I must modify to make it work at all.
    • Support hardware. I understand that this is the responsibility of the hardware manufacturers, and not of the Linux community. Still, if I can't use my digital camera/modem/PDA/video card/electric porno arm appliance with Linux, I won't. I'll use Windows instead. I am not sure what a good solution to this is -- perhaps cash grants to hardware manufacturers ?
    • Ditch X. Or, if not ditch, at least fix it so that it doesn't take 100 Mb of RAM just to run xterm; works a bit faster than molasses in January; and renders fonts by default in such a manner that my eyes don't bleed.
  • And, last but not least: Stop writing HOWTOs like the one in the article. By reinforcing the image of Linux users as obsessive-compulsive, smelly, reclusive, antisocial, sexist bastards, you only hurt your cause. Trust me, most Linux users aren't like that.

>|<*:=
Why Women ? (4.00 / 1) (#261)
by CH-BuG on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:12:26 AM EST

> "You must use Linux because Palladium is evil". Huh ? This is a technical discussion, not an election campaign. Linux has to stand on its own merits.
> Advertise. MSFT does it. Apple does it. You can do it.

Don't you think these two points are a bit contradictory ? Or should the advertisement be purely technical ? :-)

> Or, if not ditch, at least fix it so that it doesn't take 100 Mb of RAM just to run xterm;

I think this is a FAQ: X often maps the server memory, which then shows up as being part of the process memory usage, whereas it does not consume your RAM.

[ Parent ]

Re: Why Women ? (none / 0) (#263)
by bugmaster on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 07:19:03 AM EST

"You must use Linux because Palladium is evil". Huh ? This is a technical discussion, not an election campaign. Linux has to stand on its own merits. Advertise. MSFT does it. Apple does it. You can do it.
Don't you think these two points are a bit contradictory ? Or should the advertisement be purely technical ? :-)
Not neccessarily. For example, I would gladly watch an ad that says, "I got all these semi-naked supermodels to hang out with me because I wear a penguin suit, and so can YOU !" However, "Microsoft is evil so use Linux instead" is not a worthy ad. The first type of ad tells you why Linux is good. The second type of ad tells you why you should not use MSFT, but it tells you nothing about Linux. Yes, ok, I got it, Bill Gates is evil. So why would I use Linux instead of MacOS ? Or BeOS ? Or some random thing someone cooked up in their garage ? (note: these questions are rhetorical :-) )

I think this is a FAQ: X often maps the server memory, which then shows up as being part of the process memory usage, whereas it does not consume your RAM.
Sorry, I guess I am a total newbie then. Which memory does it map ? Where does that memory come from ? Does it map the memory of the video card ? That would make sense actually, but X was showing 100 Mb of RAM even when I was using my dinky old standard VGA. Does it map some chunk of the swap space ? Then it's even worse, because it's using disk, which is slow. Actually, that would explain why my disk swaps so much when I use X... I also remember that "client" and "server" are reversed (er... sort of...) on X, but the 100 Mb problem happens even when I am using it locally.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
X memory usage (5.00 / 2) (#265)
by DJBongHit on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:47:30 AM EST

Does it map the memory of the video card ?
Yes.

X was showing 100 Mb of RAM even when I was using my dinky old standard VGA.
Aside from the fact that mapping video RAM causes X to appear extra-large, it's also a crusty, bloated old system to begin with.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
X memory usage (5.00 / 1) (#274)
by FieryTaco on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:13:44 AM EST

X does have a large memory footprint. But it's nowhere near as big as people think.

It does mmap the video memory, which adds 16MB, 32MB, 64MB, etc. to the apparent process size, but also often mmaps the memory range for the control registers which can add a ludicrous amount of memory to the apparent process size. None of this comes from anywhere. It's just in the virtual memory space.

Finally, client and server are not reversed. Anybody who thinks so is looking at the world from the incorrect viewpoint. A file server serves files to other programs (which then possibly allow a user to edit or view those files.) A print server servers a printer to other programs (which usually take their orders from people requesting a printout.) A window server (ie. X) serves windows to other programs (which then can draw into them and possibly a user may be able to see the contents of those windows.) Just because you are sitting in front of it, doesn't mean it's not a server. People go stand near the network printers (which have internal print servers) and that doesn't make their workstations into servers.

Mainly, though, the important thing to keep in mind is that the whole idea of servers, clients, etc. really aren't relevant to the end user and shouldn't be a large concern to someone other than the sysadmin of the system. In the case of a standalone workstation, the vendor should be setting things up such that it's intuitively obvious what's where and also the setup is such that programs basically "just work".

[ Parent ]

totally OT, but regardless (4.00 / 1) (#303)
by klamath on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 12:29:06 AM EST

Stop being a bunch of elitist jerks
Don't stereotype Linux users. While some people (more accurately, "BSD users" :-) ) tend to be a little elitist, that is not the attitude of the community as a whole. Furthermore, a low tolerance for stupidity is often justified.
Renounce the moral high ground
Again, there are plenty of Linux users (probably greater than 50%) to whom this statement does not apply -- they simply use the right tool for the job. As for those that claim to have a moral objection to proprietary software, even they don't say you must use Linux.
Advertise
The Linux community is not a company; it's only economically justifiable for a company to do advertising, so I really don't see what you're getting at here. It may or may not be in the best interests of specific Linux vendors to advertise, but that's a business decision that they're free to make. Furthermore, several Linux vendors do advertise a lot -- IBM, for example.
Decide on a single desktop manager, then use it.
This is definately debatable.
Fix disk IO and multiprocessing
Well, the schedular, SMP scalability, and I/O subsystems have all been improved substantially in Linux 2.5. However, they were already very good in Linux 2.4; I'm not sure what "multiprocessing issues" you're referring to, but they could very easily have been problems in a specific application.
Make configuration easier.
Your assertion that you need to modify the source to get a Linux distro to work is ludicrous. Do you actually think that? As for configuration in general, similar products (e.g. Solaris, AIX, IRIX) are often substantially more difficult to configure. When a product has the range of functionality that a typical Linux distro does, making it fool-proof is certainly difficult.
Ditch X
Why? Replace it with what? Can you elaborate on the specific technical difficiencies of X? My guess would be that you can't. The font problems are being resolved (and are mostly resolved already, with GTK2/QT3). It's also not slow.

[ Parent ]
Not really OT... (none / 0) (#307)
by bugmaster on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 07:42:46 AM EST

Don't stereotype Linux users...
In my post, I was not referring to all Linux users; heck, even I use Linux occasionally. I was only addressing the "rabid advocay" fringe group; the group that tends to post articles titled "how to attract women to Linux RIGHT NOW" or something to that extent.

Also note that I did not claim that X is beyound redemption -- after all, I am a user, not a programmer. I would be happy if the existing X was fixed to address the points above.

On the subject of desktop managers, you only say "this is definitely debatable"; I am not quite sure what that means. However, I do know that the QT/Gnome/KDE/Motif/Foo/Bar wars, while entertaining, are not all that great for the user. On Windows and Mac, I can create a GUI application, and have it work for anyone who wants to use it. On Linux, I can only pick which members of the "audience" I want to exclude. On the other side of the compiler, Windows and Mac users don't have the problem of finding obscure graphics libraries and compiling them just so that "Solitaire 2: The Revenge" will run. This is a big minus for Linux.

Well, the schedular, SMP scalability, and I/O subsystems have all been improved substantially in Linux 2.5.
Well, that's certainly good to hear. In answer to your question, I was having problems with disk IO as mentioned in my original post. In addition, it seems that multiprocessing on Linux is just not as smooth as it is on Windows and Mac. On Windows, for example, I can run several programs in the same priority class, and they will all run smoothly. For example, I can browse the Web and listen to music on Winamp at the same time. On Linux, heavy page-rendering activity would sometimes cause XMMS to skip. Heavy GIMP usage would cause downloads to slow down... etc. Of course, I could renice applications or run XMMS as root, but it seems like more of a hack than a real solution. Note that I am speaking purely as a user here -- I understand how hard it is to write a good scheduler. Still, it's something other people have apparently managed to do.

The Linux community is not a company; it's only economically justifiable for a company to do advertising, so I really don't see what you're getting at here.
The original HOWTO author seemed to be concerned with the problem of attracting people to Linux. Advertisement is the best way to attract customers to a product. Yes, I realize that Linux is not a product per se, but my point still stands.
Your assertion that you need to modify the source to get a Linux distro to work is ludicrous.
Well, every font-antialiasing tutorial I have read usually starts with something like, "take this header file, change it and recompile..." I find that really ludicrous. Same thing goes for installing audio and video drivers (though NVIDIA finally released a semi-working Linux driver). However, the configuration issues are actually worse than that. For example, in Windows I can click an icon in my system tray, and pick the resolution, color depth, and frequency that I want to run my monitor at. In Linux, I have to edit X config files by hand (the xconfig command does nothing useful for me); then I have to pray that I entered in the correct values for the horizontal and vertical refresh rates. Same thing goes for audio drivers, display managers, mouse speed (I still haven't figured out how to make it work the way I want; Red Hat's mouse config thingy seems to have no effect), etc. Same thing goes for firewall, Apache, etc. And don't even get me started on modems. Note that I am not claiming that configuration of all these things is impossible, merely that it is much more difficult than it needs to be.

Why? Replace it with what? Can you elaborate on the specific technical difficiencies of X? My guess would be that you can't. The font problems are being resolved (and are mostly resolved already, with GTK2/QT3). It's also not slow.
You're right; I can't elaborate on technical deficiencies of X. I am not a Linux programmer, I am a user. Which means, inicidentally, that my opinion is more valuable than the opinion of a programmer -- I am the one who makes the ultimate decision which OS to use. Moving right along, here are my complaints about Linux GUIs in general, and X in particular:
  • It eats up RAM. This has been addressed by other people in sibling threads.
  • Configuration is a bitch. See above.
  • It's slow. Try this experiment: pick up a window, and move it around on the screen. What happens ? The whole GUI slows down to a crawl and starts flickering. This does not happen on Windows or Mac (ok, it happens on Mac unless you have RAM to spare). And you can forget about using alpha transparency -- it is too slow to be usable. This is especially painful when editing graphics or browsing the Web -- though these may be GIMP, Mozilla, and Opera specific problems. I am just a lame user, I don't know.
  • It crashes. This point was a major surprise to me -- I assumed that everything on Linux was rock-solid. However, X occasionally crashes for me; the Windows XP GUI never does (again, this was a surprise).
It is possible that some of these points are due to a misconfiguration problem on my part. However, as I mentioned before, configuring X is currently a job for experts, not users.

However, it's nice to hear that font-antialiasing issues are finally getting resolved. I will try the new and improved KDE/Gnome/QT/??? once they stabilize.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

Well, whatever (5.00 / 2) (#262)
by alaina on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 06:11:51 AM EST

I think the HOWTO is great. If you don't care about encouraging women to use Linux and take part in the open source community, then it isn't for you. If you *do* wonder why women aren't more involved, and think that it would be valuable to have more women doing work in open source, then it is for you. Really, it's that simple.

HOWNOTTO: Get Women into Linux (4.00 / 5) (#278)
by shftleft on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 01:06:41 PM EST

Write a big article differentiating them and make them feel like they need to be encouraged into liking an operating system.

This is ridiculous (4.00 / 1) (#283)
by Anonymous Brave on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 02:44:37 PM EST

Most techies I know know how to behave with the opposite sex, way better than many other non-techies.

This kind of attitude reminds me of a measure taken by a political party (Partido Socialista [Socialist Party]) of my country (Portugal) that consisted in introducing quotas to establish a minimum percent of women in candidate lists; the reason was the very low number of women in politics here (as an example, we had only one female prime-minister so far). Of course the proposal was laughed at; if there are no barriers for a certain gender to enter a society then no particular encouragement should be required, not to mention admitting less qualified people of one gender instead of the other for the sake of variety.
correspondente.net - reflectir e discutir em português

No Barriers? (5.00 / 2) (#285)
by Sylph on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:58:12 PM EST

"if there are no barriers for a certain gender to enter a society then no particular encouragement should be required, not to mention admitting less qualified people of one gender instead of the other for the sake of variety"

Actually, if you read through the HOWTO instead of just reading this article, or skimming the table of contents, it defines what barriers there are for women who would like to join the Linux community.

Just because you don't see the barriers doesn't mean they don't exist.

[ Parent ]

barriers (none / 0) (#317)
by babbling on Wed Nov 13, 2002 at 11:48:47 PM EST

exactly, and i can't believe that creep earlier that said "men tend to poineer things," what a fucking idiot
If I were at full slayer strength, I'd be punning right about now.
[ Parent ]
HOWTO: Men are over sensitive brutes (5.00 / 2) (#290)
by cenic8 on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 06:23:02 PM EST

I'ved worked in the tech industry for the last 5 years and what I've seen is a bunch of geeky guys who turn into complete sheep around women. One of the previous posters said that she was sick of guys apologizing all the time because they were scared they offended her. She wanted equality! All the guys I know have been trained since childhood that men are overbearing brutes, and that women have been the victims of men since the dawn of time. Therefore, what I've seen is a over sensitive group of men in which women hate because they feel the men are belittling or talked down to them.

Why on earth would a woman ever want to use Linux? (5.00 / 3) (#302)
by I Robot on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 12:14:04 AM EST

Answer that question and you are half-way to getting her to actually use it.

When it comes to using a computer, men and women are on pretty equal footing with men tending to have slightly better math skills and women tending to have better keyboard skills.There is enough variation within each gender to keep this true in a general sense without necessarily applying in any specific comparison.

So, what argument would you use to get a man to use Linux?

Wouldn't you draw out his dislikes about his current OS / application programs and point out how Linux does things differently and somewhat better? If he doesn't use a computer yet, wouldn't you point out that things were harder for him than they needed to be and that a little effort spent learning to use Linux would save a lot of grief over the course of the future and that Linux would be kind to his wallet while he was learning?

If he is already using 'nix on the big iron at work, point out that Linux runs nearly identical programs on much smaller iron ... like the machine he probably already has at home -- the one currently running the blue screen-saver.

Well, if you can say these things to a man, why not say them to a woman with the same earnest sincerity.?

Three weeks ago my wife (of just under two years) asked me to install Linux for her. She likes the way my computer runs and she is frustrated by how Windows keeps losing her desktop graphics.

She sees running Linux as the answer to a problem.

She also sees that Linux offers her multiple simultaneous desktop under each of many GUI's, something MSFT never offered her, and allows multiple background images for each. My wife, the individual, is horrible at math. But it only took her a moment to realize what this meant to her in practical terms.

We have our photographs categorized and can just load an entire category into each desktop. For us, that gives her about 800 desktops of places and people she has fondness for. Every fifteen minutes, she gets a new desktop photo. Given her use patterns, that means she will see the each pic about once every three years. Since she has multiple desktops, her favorite pic of our wedding (or any of 15 other favorite pics) can always be on its own desktop.

I told her I was going to take her good machine away and give her a piece of junk from in the basement but that it would still run at least as fast as her current (fairly beefy) machine. She paused for a moment and bit her tongue (hard!) before deciding to trust me. Then she gave the nod of approval to the swap.That let me give the LTS project a fair trial

She's going to be impressed. I took away an 800mHz machine with 256m ram and replaced it with a P-120 and 64 meg of ram. The replacement machine is actually visibly faster and looks better on the same monitor.

When other women see Linux as the answer to a problem, they will boldly ask for it and, in fact, there will be no keeping them away from it. Until then, there will be no pushing them toward it.

Don't get your knickers in a knot about it. Women were somewhat slow to adopt PC's and they will likely lag a little with Linux, too. It's not a big deal Keep working on simplifying installation without sacrificing speed or stability and, with the passage of time, women will join us en masse. Keep making it a graphically appealing and comfortable place to work or play and they will join us quicker. Men tend to pioneer stuff but the women are seldom far behind. File off the rough edges and clean the place up a bit (ditch dark themes as defaults, rename BitchX and PAN to something a little more mature / less crude) and this place will soon be stop being such a "men only" club.

Sorry guys ... most women are not happy about the term "bitch" and see a pimp as something to be scraped off their shoes. Perhaps BitchX could become "WhichX" or "RichX" and Pimp-Assed Newsreader could be renamed to "Politically Acceptable Newsreader" Right now, at my house, PAN means "Pick Another Newsreader" and, much as I like how it works, isn't even installed.

I am not going to pretend that the rights of free speech mean I have to support someone who uses those rights to be a jerk.

Why would a woman use Linux? (4.00 / 1) (#305)
by darkonc on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 01:11:40 AM EST

Because it works, it's stable, and more predictable than Windows.

It's also easier to get answers to interesting problems

And it's cheaper.

Then again, I should ask an acquaintence of mine who is a female user-level geek. (she even writes her papers in latex).
Killing a person is hard. Killing a dream is murder. : : : ($3.75 hosting)
[ Parent ]

This document really gets the point. (3.50 / 2) (#308)
by Quaxier on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 07:07:39 PM EST

Excellent document in a field forgotten till today by the Linux community.

What about a complete series of documents on related topics?

Get a Life HOWTO
Hot Chicks Dating HOWTO
Get Laid HOWTO
...

Already done. (none / 0) (#323)
by vectro on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 12:17:23 AM EST

See e.g. here, here, and here.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
how to get women etc... (none / 0) (#314)
by blisspix on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 02:59:01 AM EST

stop assuming I'm a guy when I post questions about technical matters to k5/plastic/slashdot, etc!!!!

I tinker from time to time but do not have the hours to really delve into Linux. I've got a spare PC in need of Mandrake but it'll have to wait.

If it works right away, all good. I'm a huge fan of OS X. Windows XP infuriates me like no other windows has.

Whole lot of hot air. (none / 0) (#320)
by Blackknight on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:03:47 AM EST

I see a lot of hot air spewing, but not a lot of facts. What specific, actual barriers are there to women in Linux, or the IT field in general? None. At my last most of the IS department was females. I never saw anybody discrediting them because they were women. In fact, they were some of the most respected employees the company had. A company is not allowed to not hire a programmer just because of their gender, race, etc. Women have the exact same opportunities to go to school and study CS that men do. Some men are jerks, some women are jerks. Learn to deal with it.

Exact same opportunities (none / 0) (#322)
by vectro on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 12:14:41 AM EST

... is obviously false. Women, especially in areas where they are underrepresented such as technology, often get preferential treatment in everthing from admission to scholarships to loans.

You can argue, if you like, that such sexism is only made in order to counter male oppression, but in no case is it true that woman have the exact same opportunities.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux | 324 comments (300 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
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