I recently attended Open Sourcebridge, a tech conference in Portland Oregon, and got to speak with some really incredible women in the open source world. (Hopefully I’ll be filling the little void left in the hearts of feminerds since Jarrah Hodge’s series ended!) Open Source is a method of development that’s publicly available, collaborative, and peer reviewed. If you read the Bitch website on the reg (which uses Drupal), or browsed the Internet using Mozilla Firefox, or blogged with WordPress, you have used Open Source software! Wikipedia is an example of open source content, where users peer edit the work of others publicly.
Like a lot of cool things that should be open to everyone, the open source community can be a bit of a boys’ club. I spoke with Valerie Aurora, programmer, Geek Feminism contributor, and, with Mary Gardiner, co-founder of the Ada Initiative, a “non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the participation of women in open technology and culture.” We spoke about how the Ada Initiative came about, the anti-harassment conference policy she helped put together, and how the tech world can be hostile to women.
Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of women in open source, which will feature Sumana Harihareswara of the Wikimedia Foundation!