Women’s Invisible Contribution to Free and Open Source Software.

15.11.2011 | 18:00

Hörsaal der Informatik, Takustr. 9

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Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) development is seen by many as a technical, but also social phenomenon of the past several decades. The FOSS community bases itself on collaborative principles which lead to fast code evolution, a diminishing distance between users and developers, by allowing them to work together in order to produce a high quality code, available to all through a free license.

Even if the FOSS community values inclusion and cooperation as basic principles, it persists as being rather homogeneous by its social structure. There are many challenges for women to join the FOSS community. Research shows a one per cent participation of women in the FOSS development projects. Even if many do not agree with this rather reductive number, we recognize women represent a minority in FOSS.

This lecture will propose a critical point of view of the free software development contribution model, and will focus on some of the reasons of the absence of women into FOSS, of the way the code-centered philosophy of development that exclude or invisibilize many users and contributors, including women. In a follow-up discussion will be identified some of the possible ways FOSS communities could act to include more women and marginalized groups among the contributors.

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