[Linux-aus] The Ada Initiative - Should Linux Australia support it?

Kevin Maciunas kevin at cs.adelaide.edu.au
Mon Feb 21 14:05:22 EST 2011

On Mon, 21 Feb 2011 09:46:16 +1100
Donna Benjamin <donna at cc.com.au> wrote:

> First let me say I reckon that's fantastic - but then I wholeheartedly
> support the aims and ambition of the Ada Initiative and it's founders
> Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora. I have provided support by way of a
> little graphic design, and I have agreed to sit on the advisory board.

Speaking as an academic who tries to graduate good software
engineers :-)  I couldn't avoid putting up a link to the initiative on
the student forums here.  We have precious few female student
participating, and getting some kind of helpful organisation behind
some push would be great.  I'll be mentioning it to the students in the
intro lectures too.

> However, I also support AJ's suggestion that the LA council should
> operate a little more transparently when it comes to dispersal of
> funds, and that the membership might wish to scrutinise the decision.
> So - is it appropriate for LA to support the initiative? 

Personally, I think it is in-keeping with the goals of the open-source
community.  For whatever reason females self select out of the core
stream that leads to being a software engineer.  This leads to a
deficit of females in Open Source.  While I'm not a psych person, I'm
fully aware of the different engineering approaches males and females
take at problems.  The Open Source community is blind-sighted to a
large percentage of the solution space as a consequence.  Anything that
raises the profile of females in Open Source (or indeed, in *any*
technology related endeavour) eventually has a trickle down effect in
getting more females input into the system.

This is a big problem.  To be 100% self-serving - LA probably *needs*
to support this or something similar to avoid becoming irrelevant.
(That's perhaps a bit over the top, but if you look at how hard
commercial software companies try to get female staff so they have all
possible angles covered, you'll see what I'm getting at).

Anyway, my $0.02 on it.


Kevin J. Maciunas              Net: kevin at cs.adelaide.edu.au
Dept. of Computer Science      Ph : +61 8 8303 5845
University of Adelaide         Fax: +61 8 8303 4366
Adelaide 5005 SOUTH AUSTRALIA  Web: http://www.cs.adelaide.edu.au/~kevin
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