Tracking gender diversity in the OpenStack developer community

The OpenStack Foundation has always tried to increase genders diversity in our community: we joined the Outreach Program for Women, established clear policies for our summits and in general we’ve been actively promoting good behavior across the board. A few weeks ago I realized that we were lacking of a decent way to track our progress in gender diversity in the OpenStack developer community and decided to improve the situation.

When Anne asked me for the number of women or non-male developers in OpenStack, I realized that we don’t have that number. When people register to become OpenStack developers they need to become members of OpenStack Foundation and have an account on Launchpad. Neither of them track gender information. The best number I had to offer was the t-shirt kind requested at our Summits. If you don’t measure it you can’t improve it, the saying goes. So we thought we need to offer the option for Foundation’s members to tell us their gender, if they want to. How do we ask for gender without being disrepectful to non-binary genders?

We did some research, discussed them on the bug and adapted the best practices to our case. We wanted to keep the choice short and not to offend anybody by leaving out options. An open entry form leads to hard to use data (people have very creative ways to spell just about anything), using pronouns would have made translations a nightmare. We need a way to restrict options so we can easily count them in the database so the binary options male/female were set first and ‘Prefer not to say’ was soon added as another option, since it’s really not mandatory to disclose that information. For non-binary genders using “Non-binary” sounded too geeky to me; using ‘other’ sounds weird, borderline offensive. We came to a consensus on my suggestion to have an open entry prefixed by “Let me tell you”. I liked this phrase because I feel like “Let me tell you” empowers the member to own their own gender definition. The new form is now live so you can now register or edit your OpenStack Member profile and add your gender (if you want to).

New MacBooks are Defective by Design

The new MacBook not only have reflective screens and miss a FireWire prot, but they also hide a stupid DRM locks in the video signal called HDCP. CrunchGear reports:

What is HDCP? It’s essentially a digital standard that tells your OS what you can display content on. If you connect your device to a project, as one high school teacher discovered while trying to play an iTunes video, the HDCP system will stop video from streaming to that device. If you connect it to an HDCP-compliant monitor then you’re in luck.

This means that even if you buy legitimate content but your TV is not HDMI capable you won’t be able to play the movie on it. The solution? I wish I could say simply ‘buy a GNU system’ that is cool and well designed, but I still haven’t found something I would tell my friends to put in their living rooms (I have my own custom made set-top-box, but it’s ugly).’  I cannot see why Dell or HP don’t bet on VLC+Elisa, which are 100times better than iTunes+FrontRow or the MS Media crap. So for now I’ll repeat what Crunchgear said:

Do a quick search on ThePirateBay. I’m sure you’ll find it in non-HDCP encrypted format.

Support Defective By Design campaign, donate to FSF

CrunchGear » Archive » MacBooks enter a golden new age of anti-piracy cruft: HDCP for all.

Free Software Foundation year end fundraising campaign

I had the feeling that 2008 was an important year for FSF. We’ve seen new campaigns take off, like End Software Patents and Support Open Document Format; the established campaigns Defective By Design, Play OGG, Expert Witness Fund have received good responses (if Google page rank is an indicator).’  We’ve seen also the first FSF Associate Members Meetings outside of Boston and I was lucky enough to participate to the first on in Portland this summer. And the best thing of it all was the FREE BEER! Look at the pictures, the free beer is visible there 🙂

This year marks a change, it shows clearly that’  FSF is reaching out to the wider community. The new structure is very community oriented and outreaching.’  FSF hired two campaign managers (Joshua Gay and Matt Lee), a membership coordinator (Deborah Nicholson). The organization has evolved into a campaign oriented organization and the results are visible. Charity Navigator has published its annual review of FSF fiscal reports assigning 3 stars (Exceeds or meets industry standards and performs as well as or better than most charities in its Cause.)’  Revenues increased 9.5% since last year (previous growth was 5.25%) and program expenses raised accordingly. Administrative expenses remained stable, showing that donations go’  to the operations, to support the FSF goals.

I will renew my membership this year and I think you should do that too. Click the image below, do it now!

Support freedom