[Announce] Nomination: Jenn Vespermann for the ACM Eugene Lawler award

Val Henson val at nmt.edu
Tue Aug 5 18:38:27 EST 2003

Note: This is bcc'd to announce at linuxchix.org - discussion should
happen on grrltalk at linuxchix.org.

Award description:


"Some examples of the types of contributions that this award is
created to recognize are: application of computer technology to aid
the disabled; making an educational contribution using computers or
Computer Science in inner city schools; creative research concerning
intellectual property issues; expansion of educational opportunities
in Computer Science for women and underrepresented minorities;
application of computers or computing techniques to problems of
developing countries."

Jenn has made LinuxChix a very effective vehicle for "expansion of
educational opportunities in Computer Science for women."  In the
directions for nominations, it says to include "The name(s) and
address(es) or telephone number(s) of others who agree with the
recommendation. Supporting letters from such persons are useful."

If you agree, please send me your name, address and/or telephone
number, and a supporting letter if at all possible.  Here are some of
the high points of Jenn's work so far to assist you in writing a

Took over LC when Deb Richardson left
Devoted considerable volunteer time, money, and resources to LC
Reorganized LC to make it more scalable
Helped grow LC into an active worldwide volunteer community with
 hundreds of members
Encouraged other women to create new projects and gave them resources
Made it possible for the following to happen:
 - Multiple free on-line courses including
   - Programming in C
   - Linux Kernel Development
   - Security
   - Python
   - LaTeX
   - UNIX File Systems
 - Women in Linux BOFs at Ottawa Linux Symposium
 - Multiple friendly technically oriented mailing lists to help women
 - Multiple socially oriented mailing lists for same purpose
 - Growth of local LinuxChix chapters
 - Regular face-to-face meetings between women in Linux (wow!)
 - Women-only mailing list for women in Linux
 - At least one HOWTO (I think I remember others coming out of LC)
 - Increased visibility of women in Linux through interviews,
   appearances at conferences, the BOFs, HOWTOs, and more
Created IRC server where women can feel comfortable
Wrote a book (_Essential CVS_) and numerous articles making it easier
 for people in general to get involved in software development
Overall, helped nurture and grow a vibrant worldwide online community
 of women working to making computing more attractive and accessible
 to women worldwide

I'm sure I missed some things - feel free to add them to this list.

Also, here is the nomination I wrote for Jenn for another award, for
further inspiration.  I haven't yet written the nomination for the
Eugene Lawler award, but I will post it when it's ready.


Jenn Vesperman is the maintainer of LinuxChix, an international
community dedicated to encouraging women who are interested in Linux,
and to making it easier for everyone to contribute to free software.
LinuxChix is run entirely on volunteer effort, with Jenn Vesperman
donating hardware, bandwidth, and considerable system administration
time out of her own pocket.  The LinuxChix community has, since Jenn
assumed leadership, produced a huge variety of freely available
technical documents, book reviews, HOWTOs, classes, and mailing lists,
all aimed towards helping people who want to contribute to free
software but are having trouble overcoming the initial hurdles.

Frequently, the hardest part of a free software project is both
encouraging and allowing contributions from as wide an audience as
possible.  Jenn has displayed a masterly hand in her role as LinuxChix
maintainer, giving LinuxChix volunteers the tools and the authority to
accomplish much more than any one person could by herself.  Under her
leadership, LinuxChix transformed from a passive and only sporadically
active organization to one that is changing the face of Linux and
giving people worldwide the education and the tools to make it
possible for them to contribute to free software.  The name
"LinuxChix" has become a little bit of a misnomer lately, since the
organization is helping people learn everything from Python to
political activism.

In addition to the many hours she puts into LinuxChix every week, Jenn
also contributes to free software as a prolific writer.  She has
written a variety of technical articles freely available on the Linux
Documentation Project and the O'Reilly web site.  Her writings on CVS
have helped make it a more appealing alternative to non-free software.

In the end, the work that Jenn is doing could potentially double the
ranks of free software developers.  I think that's an incredible
contribution to free software.

The LinuxChix web site:


Some of Jenn's articles:




Get me those letters! :) Thanks,


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