Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Women in OSS deserve respect

Melissa Draper recently did something that took both courage and intelligence to do.

Her recent letter to the Open Source Software community (click on the title to read it) makes a clear and shocking statement. Here it is coming to the end of the first decade in the 21st century when equal rights, opportunities and acceptance for and of women should come without question.

I don't agree with all aspects of the sexual revolution, as it were, but I definitely feel that women have rights equal to any man. Among those is the right to be accepted for talent, ability and effort without being harassed because of gender.

Melissa, Celeste and other women I know of in OSS have my utmost respect as individual contributors. I certainly could not do some of the things they do, nor would I want to. Celeste is a interface designer. Uhm I'm surprised the poor lady isn't bald sometimes after reading some of her blog entries.

The point is these ladies work hard at what they do for the community. They should not have to endure sexist remarks and comments from those who can't see past their bust lines. (Sorry ladies I could not think of a better way to phrase it.)

I know its a males natural tendency to first see the woman. That's not the issue. It is however an issue when we men don't check our libido before we open our mouth or put our fingers on a keyboard and make rude, crude and in some cases obscene comments. The males in the OSS development community certainly should know better.

Yes men and women are different, thankfully. However, the differences go beyond the physical and women are able to see things in ways we men never will. Its those different perspectives we need in the OSS community for Linux, KDE, Gnome and whatever other projects you can name to stay fresh and growing. Matter of fact I would like to see more women become involved with OSS development and design.

The ladies deserve our utmost respect and acceptance. They do not deserve lurid comments and attitudes which lead to open letters like Melissa wrote. Hopefully, that will be the last such letter.

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