[Announce] Election of new Coordinators - Election Statements from Candidates

Chix Elections chixelection at googlemail.com
Mon Jul 23 19:31:50 UTC 2007

Apologies to those of you who are receiving multiple copies of the
election mailings - they are being sent to all relevant Linuxchix
mailing lists, so if you are subscribed to more than one list you will
receive more than one copy.

All candidates were asked to provide a statement of not more than 500
words, and were warned that statements longer than 500 words would be
'chopped' at the 500 word mark.

As promised, here are the statements from the 5 candidates.

*Received from Sulamita Garcia*

Hi, I'm Sulamita Garcia, I'm Brazilian and I'm turning 30 in 13 days.
I'm the responsible for Linuxchix Brazil chapter for 4 years now. I
did a lot of things professionally; I was Unix
engineer/consultant/sysadmin most of the time. Now I work with open
source strategy for Intel, and I really love it.

My first FOSS conference was very very scaring, I saw half dozen women
in a 1200 people conference. It was truly the "stranger walks into a
bar scene in a western" experience. I did my first talk, and there was
a thread of about a hundred posts discussing if I was hot or not hot,
no one paid attention to the subject of the talk. When we started to
raise articles and talks about "Why there is so few women in Linux",
there was threads of almost 200 mails where guys used to claim "women
just don't care", "women are not as good as men in science" and "women
should just shut up and go to cook". That was my beginning.

I decided to use my strong personality to fight for the girls I
thought were too afraid of confrontation. We have changed so much from
the beginning. We have a lot of guys fighting back with us when those
clueless guys say something like that, and we have a strong and
successful group. We did four conferences, where each had a number of
300 attendees, and we are organizing the conference for this year.

Linuxchix is a very sensible community. Almost all of us here need to
prove every day that we can, that we are intelligent and competent.
All of that in an open source community environment, and we don't have
a technical project to show "that's what we do".  Open Source
community is, from my perspective, the hardest community to deal with,
but also the greatest. You can copy, fork, translate, do whatever you
want with the code, and that creates also an environment where anyone
can just do whatever they want. To all that, you add the issues
related to being a woman inside this community. So to be able to
aggregate all this differences and create real actions are a real art.

What I believe I can help Linuxchix is with this experience. We are
the first group intended to encourage women. Several times I saw new
*-women groups initiating and talking about the same things we talked
like years ago, starting all over again. How can we really serve as a
base for all groups that are more oriented to a project or
distribution? We learned so much, and we had for so long talking about
the same issues. Can we move on?

Also, I would like to produce actions to change the ridiculous number
of 2% of female open source developers. We can create official
documentation and spread the work, go after universities and secondary
schools, create an awareness that "computers are for girls too, and
open source [chopped at 500 words]

*Received from Isabelle Hurbain*

My name is Isabelle Hurbain, I'm 25, I'm french, and I'm currently living
near Paris.
I'm working as a contractor in the bank domain, and my job mainly involves
designing and coding in Java and SQL (Oracle).

For my academical training, I spent four years in an engineering school. I
also got a master in automatic control, with a specialty in robotics.
Finally, I got a PhD. scholarship in computer science. I spent three years
there, but I still have to finish my dissertation and defense.

Concerning my FOSS community contribution, I'm not really a great coder,
I'm more on the documentation side. I'm a part of the association
traduc.org that manages the translations for free documentation and
software from English to French. I also worked for two editors on
translations and on some books.

I guess I'm more a "Linux-advocate" than a "Linux-for-women" advocate. I
try to explain as much as I can to everyone. But, as women still represent
a bit more than 50% of the population, easing access to women seems an
obvious step to attain the general goal. Plus, as a woman in a masculine
tech environment, what has recently been called "horror stories", if it's
not everyday, is common enough to bother me.

As for Linuxchix, I really like the fact that we're from quite different
background, interested in different things. I like the fact that I can
learn something new almost everyday, just by hanging on the lists. I
really like the "be polite, be helpful" motto, that I made mine a while
ago. Not always easy, but I still prefer to teach people how to do things
than doing it myself!
So, I like Linuxchix as open and knowledge-thirsty than it can be, and
moving forwards in this direction.
As a "coordinator-wannabe", I'm well aware that conflicts are
unfortunately inevitable. I guess it is our job to make things happen the
best they can. It does NOT imply making unilateral decisions, but it can
be to:
- sing the "be polite be helpful" mantra when needed
- facilitate and moderate the discussions (meaning ensuring they stay in
the field of idea-debate and not personal attacks)
- being able to "stop" a discussion and invite people moving it in private
when it clearly goes off-bounds. Actually, I don't remember a case in
Linuxchix history where this kind of decision would have needed to be
I also wish to discuss and work on a wider topic which is the constitution
of an official non-profit organization for Linuxchix. In my opinion this
needs to be discussed, in terms of what is desirable, what is feasible and
what is to be done.
I want Linuxchix to be a reference, to be a dynamic group (which it
already is) and... to contribute changing the world for a better place for
tech women.

*Received from Akkana Peck*

I'm Akkana Peck, "akk" on IRC, a 42-year-old programmer and
writer living in San Jose, California, US.

I've been a Linux user for about a decade, though I was using
free/open source software on Unix systems long before that.
I worked for a long time on the Mozilla project (as a Netscape
employee) and have contributed bits and pieces to various other
free software projects; I'm also active in the GIMP project
(though mostly not as a developer) and wrote a recent book on GIMP.

I've been in Linuxchix about five years, maybe more. I'm active
on the mailing lists and IRC, have been a list moderator in the
past (on kernelchix) and have contributed to the web site, where
I'm currently acting as content lead.

I'm particularly interested in education, and in helping chix learn
technical skills. Women have a lot less access to technical
education than men do, and in addition we're told throughout our
lives that we aren't as good at technical subjects as men are.
Linuxchix can help, both by helping women learn and by providing
role models and counterexamples. I'd love to see us do more in
education, perhaps some day reaching out to schools where we can
show girls at an early age that women can be just as smart and
technical as men.

The other issue in my "platform" is transparency: I'll be a pest to
make sure that all the Tres Chix' discussions and decisions are made
in the open, no secrets.  I feel strongly that groups benefit by
having most of the decision making out in the open, for the same
reason that software benefits from keeping its source open: when you
know everybody's watching, there's an incentive to do things right.

*Received from Carla Schroder*

I've been involved with Linuxchix for several years now; I'm not sure how
many. I started hanging out when Jenn was our ace Coordinator and still
writing "Essential CVS", LC was hosted on a computer in Jenn and Dancer's
house, and Dancer was our tireless server admin. It has grown considerably,
with official chapters all over the world, and all kinds of women coming to
visit and volunteer to varying degrees.

It's been a wonderful social outlet for me, a good technical resource, and a
lot of inspiration and support. I think the most important work LC has done is
to encourage and support women in tech. Our most important message is
"You are not alone."

I like that LC has mostly "just grown" from the bottom up. Someone has an
idea, someone else says "OK, it's your idea so you get to implement it", and
away we go. My idea of the Coordinator's job is pretty laid-back: wait and
see what bubbles up from the general membership, talk things over a lot so
that everyone gets a chance to be heard, and give it enough time for a real
consensus to form. "Consensus" means different things to different people, so
here's my definition: "General agreement or accord." It's not unanimous, and
it's not 51/49. The word "consensus" is a bit vague, so I have some criteria
for defining it a little more precisely:

-If there is controversy, we should not make a decision without more
discussion and investigation
-Unless the controversy is just one or two people, especially if they do not
contribute, but just like to have opinions
-Friends and people of goodwill can disagree and remain friends. If someone I
trust and whose judgment I respect is disagreeing with me, then I need to
take a good hard look at my position
-Coordinators should keep discussions on track and moving forward, and make
sure that the general membership is informed and invited to participate

It's OK for the discussion and decision-making to take some time. Our job as
an organization is not to be all brisk and efficient in decision-making, but
to carefully consider how we allocate our resources, what sort of demands we
place on volunteers, what sort of long-term obligations to place on the
organization, and how does it fit with the mission of Linuxchix. Some things
are easy; some things, like the recurring discussion on incorporating, need
very careful consideration. It's easier to not make messes than to clean them
up. After a decision is made, then we can go all efficient and make things

Like Akkana, I believe that all aspects of Linuxchix need to be open and
transparent, and the leadership is accountable.

I think the Tres Chix notion is an awesome one, and ideally the three will be
from different countries.

*Received from Valorie Zimmerman*

Greetings to all fellow Linuxchix. I'm a 54 year-old mom, and am about
to become a grandmother! I found Linuxchix a few years back, when my
oldest son began telling me that Linux on the desktop was getting far
enough advanced that I might be able to replace my quite icky WinMe
with Linux. I hated Me, but Win2K Pro was quite tolerable for awhile,
but eventually I thought it would be fun to make my laptop dual-boot,
so he set up Mandrake for me.

And I never went back to Windows! I still consider myself a beginner
in Linux, because I'm mainly a *user*, not a programmer, sysadmin or
any other sort of computer professional. So it is quite daunting to be
nominated as a coordinator of Linuxchix! But I am a people person, and
like conversing on the lists and in IRC. In this past year, I've
become a listowner for some of the lists, and have enjoyed working
alongside the other listowners. Just recently, I became an IRC Channel
Operator, and have enjoyed that work, and writing some of the
documentation about IRC on the new website.

I also enjoyed working with Mary and the rest of the Webadmin team on
moving the website into Drupal. I didn't do any of the technical work,
but contributed content and content editing.

I did attend a local Seattle Linuxchix Chapter meeting, but
unfortunately, came in at the end of that Chapter's life. I've been in
correspondence with those attempting a new Seattle Chapter, and hope
to attend those meetings once they get started. Our Chapters need some
energy and promotion, and I hope that we will work on that in the

So, I'm an older, non-technical Linux user, and I work well in teams.
I see all of these aspects as strengths which I can use for the
benefit of Linuxchix, whether or not I become part of the coordination
team. This is a wonderful group of women, and I hope I can help us
grow in both size and influence in the coming years.

In the rest of my life, I'm a PFLAG mom, and do genealogy. These
activities, along with Linuxchix, and family stuff take up most of my
time. See http://valorie.zimmerman.googlepages.com for a summation of
my life online.


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