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Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)

From: Florian Weimer
Subject: Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2019 21:27:01 +0100

* Sandra Loosemore:

> It has bothered me for a long time that there are so few women 
> participating in the GNU community.   I think I might be the only female 
> maintainer on either GCC/Binutils right now (I haven't gone through the 
> lists, but the others I used to know about have stepped down).  The 
> photos of the attendees at recent Cauldrons show a group that is roughly 
> 99% male.  The steering committee is 100% male.  There is something 
> wrong with our community that we cannot attract more women, and we need 
> to fix it, because a developer community that consists almost 
> exclusively of old white men is not sustainable.

I think we have a bit more diversity than you give us credit for (of
the kind that wouldn't count in U.S. diversity statistics, flawed as
they are), but I agree that the gender imbalance is rather extreme.  I
have no idea why this is so.  I doubt we can blame that on RMS because
RMS never shows up at Cauldrons and does not interact much with the
GNU toolchain developer community directly (GNU maintainers,
i.e. those developers appointed by GNU/RMS tend to disagree about my
assessment though 8-/).

RMS also made controversial and unhelpful comments about GNU topics.
Here's an example I remember quite well:

| Shellshock just 'a blip' says Richard Stallman as Bash bug attacks
| increase

| But Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Project and the Free
| Software Foundation, disagrees. He believes that whilst Shellshock
| is evidently a big deal, like any vulnerability it will simply be a
| “blip” in the long-term.


At the time he was talking to the press, people were still struggling
to understand the issue and deploying updates, and looking at weekend
overtime because we initially gave them a fix that didn't actually

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