Posted by: Anonymous
on September 29, 2007 01:40 AM
It goes beyond dumb, but I'm having trouble coming up with just the right word, so I'll attack some of the ideas in the article:
-It would reduce the gender disparity in Free software.
I doubt it. There's a pretty large gender disparity in proprietary software, too, and in IT jobs in general. Unless/until that goes away (and whether it's even a problem is a subject worthy of debate), the gender disparity in Free software won't go away, either. Not even if someone creates a distro for women (and stands by to watch it tank faster than Microsoft Bob)
-Women don't interact differently than men
As someone who is married, the father of two daughters, and who has several very close friends who are women, I find this statement to be nothing short of nuts, and find myself convinced that Bruce Byfield is single, has no daughters, and doesn't have an close women friends. The fact of the matter is that (most) women interact differently both men do, in their interactions with both other women and men. If he doesn't know this, he hasn't spent much time around women. Or maybe he only sees ones in the IT field; in my experience, many (but far from all) of them do interact in a somewhat more masculine way. Neither my wife nor my close female friends are in IT (although one of them is an electronics engineer for a major Japanese company and holds an master's degree in EE).
-The implied idea that because there are groups such as LinuxChix, KDE Women, and Debian Women, a women's distro is needed.
If that were so, doesn't he think that maybe - just maybe - at least one of those groups would have started their own distro?
All in all, the idea that a women's distro is somehow necessary is just whack. Sure, a group such as LinuxChix could do a distro if they want, for the purpose of teaching women Linux users about package building, project management, or whatever, but at the end of the day, that distro will still have KDE or GNOME or XFCE (and/or other window managers or desktop environments) and pretty much the same packages as any other distro. It will be based on Debian or Arch or Gentoo or Linux From Scratch or whatever. A "women's distro" isn' going to be as different from a "men's distro" as women's clothes are from men's clothes (and lest anyone say that's just a matter of color and style, let me say that as the husband of a designer and boutique owner, the differences are greater than that), unless someone actually does do an "OMG Ponies" theme <g> (I can agree with him at least on that point).