2008-10-22 08:33:43

Free Software Mag: "10 ways to attract women to your FS project"

The Free Software Magazine has published an article about Ten easy ways to attract women to your Free Software project.

Judging from the suggestions, it is absolutely unclear if the article is for real or just a prank. Some arguments are perfectly valid, such as ”Informal apprenticeship with men may be awkward“. One can observe the effect at geek events already; women are usually asked which man they ”belong to“, apparently people find it hard to believe that the woman might attend the event out of interest. This goes so far that women even introduce themselves as ”the girlfriend of …“

Other arguments just appear to be plainly insulting (such as women having less time due to childcare, an argument which appears to regard women as ”birth giving machines“. Following this argument, women would not be present in any job) or simply bullshit (such as avatars in web fora giving people a ”face“ – a lot of women actually appreciate the anonymity of the web because it protects them from seduction-seeking men).

Some people even go so far to say that only women can really judge the problems. While they certainly cannot be excluded from the process, we cannot really expect the tiny minority of our community which they constitute to solve our problem for us. It is a bad excuse of men to keep out of the issue.

I have, myself, already invested a large amount of time into the matter over time, since I am also seeing the low percentage of women in the IT as a big problem. I see a lot of these points as well, but I am seeing a variety of problems here ranging from unfair treatment over stupid male procedures to simple education issues on both sides. My opinion on it all can, however, be summarized in two short sentences:

  1. Men should wisen up slightly and not treat the women in any special way. They don't need nor want it, it only drives them away.
  2. A little less conversation, a little more action, please (© Elvis Presley)

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: chaos

2008-10-20 01:32:38

Linux wrecking fest

On Saturday, I attended the Linux install fest of the GNU Generation at EPFL. Despite the fact that it was all about penguins, it was actually quite a bit of fun meeting all different types of people.

During the preparation phase, we wired all installation tables with power and ethernet cables of different lengths. For that purpose, we used GNU/multi power sockets.

GNU/multi power socket

Nathalie ensured that I got a sufficiently twisted case, so in my case it was not about an installation but rather to make a Firewire hard disk work on an existing installation. (Yes, Linux install fests are also for fixing problems.)

After ensuring that it is not a problem with the Firewire OHCI, I discovered that plugging the disk into the OHCI caused an interrupt storm. On some rare occasions, however, it would work as usual. On a Windows and a MacOS of nearby users, the same occurred. Thus, it seemed that the firewire client interface on the disk was broken.

Another patient nearby had problems with the network card not transmitting. After a reboot, it disappeared entirely from the PCI device list. Deactivating and reactivating it in the BIOS did not help, it remained gone, even on the Windows installation of the notebook.

But on the upside, I also managed to make a compiz installation work, showed people how to use zsh, SSH keys, sshfs and gmailfs, and apparently left a good general impression: my client gave me the best possible evaluation.

Other features from the event were an eekpc cluster…

EekPC cluster

…and a foldable keyboard.

Foldable keyboard

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: chaos

2008-10-19 23:52:15

Petition against biometric passport a success

The federal chancellery announced recently that the freedom campaign against biometric passports and ID cards was a success. The Freedom Campaign itself has a press release on the subject.

Out of 64'064 collected signatures, 63'733 signatures were considered valid. This greatly exceeds the 55'000 signatures submitted by the freedom campaign itself, apparently, signatures have as well been submitted by other campaigns.

Congratulations to such a great success! But the petition is only the first step. When the referendum takes place, it must be won, and should it be won, then alternative legislation should be proposed so we won't end up with the same situation in a couple of years.


Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: politics

2008-10-19 23:13:16

Military invasion at the local Coop

When my train arrived from Geneva tonight, I went to the Coop Pronto to get some bread. And then the Coop suddenly started to get crowded with military. As Miguel appropriately noticed, these people appear to live on shrink-wrapped sandwiches and barley juice.

Military invasion at the Coop

As it turned out, they were apparently all waiting for a train to take them to their training camp.


Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: general

2008-10-10 14:56:32

Ugliest code snippet of the day: MySQL initialization

The ugliest code snippet I could find today is the code required to initialize a MySQL database:

MYSQL *mysql = malloc(sizeof(MYSQL));
/* Note: we omit the NULL pointer check here because MySQL does it too. */
if((mysql=mysql_init(mysql))==NULL) { (error handling) }


Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: broken, programming