[Linux-aus] The Ada Initiative - Should Linux Australia support it?
david at davidnewall.com
Mon Feb 21 21:48:45 EST 2011
I'm generally opposed to discrimination on the basis of irrelevant
factors, such as age, race, sex, sexual orientation, and religion. So
called "affirmative action" policies fall clearly into this area in
that, despite how they might be worded, they do seek to employ a
minority even when a better candidate is on offer.
The Ada Initiative is different yet similar. It presupposes that
there's something bad about the ratio of women to men in FOSS, a
proposition I'm uncertain of as a person's sex is irrelevant. It
proposes to engineer ("encourage") a solution without any apparent
understanding of the cause of imbalance.
When young people ask me if they should choose computing as a
profession, I ask why they think they want to enter it, what sort of
computer they currently have and how they use it. Invariably the
answers are: high-income; and none, or a PC used for gaming and
web-browsing. My answer to these people is to look for another
profession; plumbing, it seems to me, is awfully lucrative and much
under-rated. Certainly we need no more programmers of little ability
who are only in it for the money; not even if they are women.
I suspect that people with appropriate talent and desire will find their
way into the profession regardless of encouragement. People from a poor
socio-economic background might need a gentle nudge but not, generally
speaking, young 21st century women. I'd rather see young people
encouraged into a healthy hacking culture, regardless of sex, than to
give scarce resources to the purpose of attracting women who might
better enjoy working elsewhere. I do not say this to pre-judge the Ada
Initiative's outcomes, merely to express a concern.
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