Archive for the ‘Women Outreach in GNOME’ Category

Let’s Make Big Strides

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

I recently became an advisor for the Ada Initiative and I have been a proud donor since it was founded by Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner two and a half years ago to enable full-time work to promote participation of women in open technology and culture. As someone who is also working on increasing participation of women in Free Software, I know it’s an area we can make dramatic progress in in a few years, but it takes a focused and full-time effort to make this change.

Supporting and reaching out to women and other underrepresented groups is essential for extending the opportunities Free Software provides to more people and making our software better. This year, there were 41 women among 230 GUADEC attendees, which is 18% women attendees. Four years ago, there were 8 women among 160 attendees, or 5%. People often comment that it feels more natural that there are more women participating in the conference. I think it feels that way not only because the tone of the conference changes when more women are present, but also because it feels good to know that a whole segment of population is no longer staying out.

Women's dinner at GUADEC

This pent up demand is being echoed in other communities participating in the Outreach Program for Women. The Wikimedia Foundation has 7 women participating in its Google Summer of Code, while they have only ever had one woman participate before. The Linux Kernel had 39 Outreach Program for Women applicants, 11 of whom landed 148 patches during the application process, and 7 of whom were accepted for the program.

The Ada Initiative helps make conferences a friendlier environment for everyone, connects women and allies with its blog and AdaCamps, and helps fight the impostor syndrome which affects many women in technology. I have learned a lot from the Ada Initiative blog, used it as a platform to reach Outreach Program for Women applicants, and met new Outreach Program for Women mentors and coordinators at AdaCamps.

Camille Acey and myself at AdaCamp DC

Camille Acey and myself at AdaCamp DC

A post on the Ada Initiative blog about Courtney Stanton’s effort to attract women speakers to a game conference she organized taught me that even once women are participating in the community, they are hesitant to present at conferences and some encouragement can go a long way. With a supportive e-mail and some brainstorming, we brought the number of women who presented at GUADEC this year to 10, or 21% of speakers, compared to only 4, or 7%, last year.

The size of the strides we can make in increasing the inclusiveness of Free Software depends directly on the financial support the Ada Initiative receives during its current fundraising campaign, which will enable it to plan the breadth of its activities for the next year. Please join me in ensuring we keep making big strides.

Reaching out Together

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Applications for the new round of the Outreach Program for Women internships are open, and now the program includes not one, not two, but ten participating organizations! The participating organizations are: Deltacloud, Fedora, GNOME, JBoss, Mozilla, Open Technology Institute, OpenITP, OpenStack, Tor, and Wikimedia. The application deadline is December 3, and the internships will take place from January 2 to April 2.

Outreach Program for Women Flyer

Needless to say I’m very excited about this expanded effort and keen to see how it works out. Big thank you to Karen Sandler for the original idea to include multiple organizations in this effort, which she shared with me first time we ever talked on the phone, and for all the work she has done to make it possible! Thank you to Bradley Kuhn from the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and to Jessica McKellar from the SFC’s Twisted project for being our first partnering organization last round and helping us figure out how to scale up from one to two. Thank you to Sumana Harihareswara for committing to have Wikimedia participate in the internships and with that putting the wheels in motion for planning this round. She inexplicably thinks it was she who buttonholed me about this at the Google Summer of Code mentors summit, but I came looking to talk to her. Thank you to coordinators and mentors from all the other organizations who joined and are making this happen! Thank you to Máirín Duffy and Barbara Muraus, who updated our program flyer and cartoon, respectively! Thank you to Red Hat for supporting my work on this and committing to sponsor seven internships for the program!

Finally, the biggest thank you to the GNOME community – to all the mentors and past interns and everyone who helped – for being the first adopter of this program and showing it can run successfully!

We still need your help! Although now we have a mentors list with 44 awesome GNOME mentors whom interns can turn to for project ideas, it would be helpful if you added the ideas you have and are willing to mentor to the ideas list for this round. You can also help spread the word about this round by using the prepared e-mail, flyer, or social network updates from our spread the word page or personally encouraging someone to apply.

If your company is able to sponsor one or more internships, either for GNOME or other organizations, it would be really helpful. Each organization only has 1-3 internship spots funded at the moment. Please let Karen and me know if you can help.

We are planning to have another round in the summer, so if your organization would like to join the program then, please come talk to us too.

Mentoring in GNOME

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The application deadline for Google Summer of Code and GNOME Outreach Program for Women this year will be April 6, and the internship dates will be from May 21 to August 20. Organizations accepted for GSoC will be announced March 16, but we need to start encouraging the potential applicants to prepare to apply for both programs as early as possible.

In OPW, connecting applicants who are new to the project with mentors who can help them with their first contribution is an important part of the process. For a student, connecting with a mentor and starting to contribute to a project is the best way to prepare to apply for GSoC as well.

The big change for this round of OPW is that, instead of the dedicated list of mentors, we now point the applicants to the GNOME-wide list of mentors. I moved the OPW list of mentors there a few months ago, and people have been adding themselves to it. With this list, we now provide all newcomers with a way to find a mentor in GNOME who can help them with the first contribution! Please add yourself and your project to it.

I created an information page for mentors in GNOME with ideas that have proved to be important for OPW, such as requiring the applicant to contribute to the module they are applying to work on and encouraging manageable projects with commits throughout the internship period. Please help students interested in working on your module, make sure they have the necessary skills by having them fix a small bug, and guide them in proposing a viable and manageable project.

I have also encouraged other organizations to create lists of mentors or provide links to other ways newcomers can connect with mentors in their organization. These are compiled on a GSoC wiki page and will provide a way for more students to gain the necessary experience to successfully apply for GSoC. In particular, we will spread the word about this resource among various technical women groups, which will help encourage more women to participate in GSoC.

Four creative OPW interns – Liansu, Christy, Meg, and Tamara – made an awesome cartoon to better explain the OPW application process. Their collaborative work spanned 90 e-mails over a course of a month.

GNOME mentors, can you spot yourself in the cartoon? In addition to mentoring, please help spread the word about GSoC and OPW by sending a prepared e-mail to your university’s Computer Science department or to a local FOSS group, distributing flyers on campuses and at events, and posting updates on social networks.

My Ada Lovelace Day Heroines

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

I’d like to tell you about four women who have inspired me to no end with their work, insight, and community outreach. Every interaction with them has motivated me in my work. Essentially, by being as dedicated as they are, they bring out the best in other people. I’m lucky to have met all of them and to have worked with them on community outreach efforts.

Joanmarie Diggs has worked for the Carroll Center for the Blind for the last 14 years, helping visually impaired people learn to use assistive technology. She decided to teach herself programming in order to contribute to Orca, GNOME’s screen reader. She eventually became the maintainer of Orca. Exactly a month ago, she was hired to work on GNOME accessibility at Igalia within 4 hours of posting on Twitter that her grant-funded position at the Carroll Center had been cut.

Joanie’s tweets are always infused with a great deal of humor. She says “Random thought: I wonder if I’ll ever shovel snow again….” in the wake of her move from New Hemisphere to Spain. Joanie has been a very caring mentor for one of the participants in the recent round of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women. She is the best role model I know for any woman getting involved in GNOME development.

Máirín Duffy is an interaction designer at Red Hat. She has a strong commitment to graphic design with free software. She has been using 100% free software to create her designs for many years now and has created many resources and opportunities for others to learn free software graphic design tools.

Máirín created the Fedora Design Bounty project to provide people interested in contributing to Fedora design with well-defined tasks suitable for beginners. She created some great flyers and art work to promote the Fedora Design Suite spin at SXSW. She ran Gimp and Inkscape classes for local middle school students and for Girl Scouts, creating great resources for both. Helping Máirín with the Girl Scout classes and going over these resources was actually how I learned do useful things in Gimp and Inkscape.

Máirín has showcased 17 open fonts in an “Unpackaged Font of the Week” series in her blog. There is always some fun and inviting project she talks about in her blog, accompanied by great pictures, designs, and educational resources.

Jessica McKellar is a recent MIT graduate who works at Ksplice. She organizes Boston Python Workshops for women and their friends. These workshops assume no prior knowledge of programming and walk the attendees through the installation steps, basic Python constructs, interactive programming exercises, and small projects during a 1.5 day event. Jessica explains programming in an engaging way and she and other volunteers help the attendees with any stumbling blocks throughout the event. These workshops get filled up within days of being announced and, in response, have grown in the number of attendees they accommodate. Being able to learn how to program in a supportive environment where any setback is resolved within minutes is tremendously empowering to the attendees. Jessica has found a great approach for helping more women feel confident about learning to program and the detailed materials she has created are now used for similar workshops in other cities.

Jessica is one of the maintainers of OpenHatch, a community website that provides the information and teaches the necessary skills for getting involved in free software. Open Source Workshop is another event Jessica recently organized together with Asheesh Laroia, who is the creator of OpenHatch. This workshop walked the attendees through the basics of free software contributing and gave them hands-on experience with using IRC, working with patches, and triaging bugs. Participating in such events gives the attendees the necessary confidence to make their next steps in the free software world. The first step is often the hardest and the community events Jessica puts together help many people make it.

Stormy Peters is the Head of Developer Engagement at Mozilla. Before that she was the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation. After leaving that position, she ran for the 7 person GNOME board as soon as she had a chance, coming in first with the largest number of top votes. Stormy is also the founder and president of Kids on Computers, a nonprofit organization setting up computer labs in schools where kids have no other access to technology. Her leadership and ability to connect people is a great gift for all the organizations she is involved with.

Stormy has been my go-to person for the last two years in which we have been working on the GNOME Outreach Program for Women. She championed the need to revive the women outreach initiative in GNOME and has helped with everything from getting sponsorship to answering applicant inquiries. It’s a great luxury to know that I can get sound and helpful advice from her about anything related to the program. When not bouncing ideas off of Stormy, I like reading her blog posts. They are just as insightful, both on matters related to free software and on other things in life.

Would You Like an Awesome New Contributor for Your Project?

Friday, September 30th, 2011

We recently opened the application process for the new round of GNOME Outreach Program for Women internships. We already have 15 projects participating in the outreach effort, but it would be great to have more projects on board. As a mentor, you would help the applicants who select your project make a first contribution by October 31. An initial contribution is a required part of the application process. Then, if you get a strong applicant for your project who is accepted, you would guide her in her contributions to your project from December 12 to March 12.

Unlike what is considered typical for Google Summer of Code projects, you don’t need to come up with an idea for a stand-alone project for your intern. Instead, we’d like the interns to start with smaller tasks (i.e. bugs) and progress over time to more complex tasks (i.e. features), with each task being suggested by you based on the current priorities of your team. Ensuring that the interns work on manageable and relevant tasks helps with the important goal of getting their work incorporated into the projects during the internship period.

Having your project listed among the participating projects might help bring in a new contributor this round or at some later point. We encourage women interested in contributing to contact mentors for the participating projects at any time during the year. So please add your project now!

Just how awesome were the interns in our last round? Here is a summary of their impressive accomplishments. Thanks to them and to their mentors for making it such a successful round!

We had 8 Outreach Program for Women interns.

Aline Duarte Bessa wrote new topic-based help for Accerciser, an interactive tool that allows GNOME applications to check what accessibility information they are providing. She wrote documentation for the Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface (AT-SPI), which is used to provide a description of an application to accessibility tools. She examined the entire Accerciser bug list, provided feedback on all the bugs, and created patches for many of them. She also wrote a demo widget that explored accessibility issues. [1, 2, 3, 4]

Meg Ford created 81 new icons and edited 241 existing icons. Along with the Symbolic theme icons, they complete the High Contrast and High Contrast inverse themes for GNOME. [1, 2]

Ekaterina Gerasimova wrote new topic-based help for the Vinagre remote desktop viewer and Brasero CD/DVD burner. She also was one of the key organizers of the Desktop Summit in Berlin. [1, 2, 3]

Julita Inca wrote new topic-based help for the Cheese webcam application and some general desktop help. [1, 2]

Yu Liansu created a comprehensive GNOME Visual Identity portfolio, including a lot of original art work, posters, brochures, presentation and web page templates. [1, 2, 3]

Priscilla Mahlangu added a Zulu translation for GNOME, translating over 35 core modules. [1]

Anita Reitere created guidelines and compiled resources for writing better help and for starting to contribute to GNOME documentation. She also wrote a detailed analysis of Empathy help. [1, 2, 3]

Kelly Sinnott wrote new topic-based help for GNOME System Monitor and some general desktop help. She identified the need to provide GNOME help on mobile devices and created a prototype website. [1, 2, 3, 4]

We also had 7 Google Summer of Code interns, who were encouraged and supported by the Outreach Program for Women.

Tiffany Antopolski wrote a contact chooser for collaborative viewing of documents in Evince. She also wrote some general desktop help. [1, 2]

Tamara Atanasoska improved the Anjuta IDE integration with version control system operations and implemented opening an included file by clicking on the include statement. [1, 2]

Neha Doijode implemented correctly removing message sources from the message tray and showing images in notifications in GNOME Shell. [1]

Nohemi Fernandez implemented a full-featured on-screen keyboard for GNOME Shell. [1]

Raluca Elena Podiuc added the ability to create an avatar in Empathy with a webcam or to select an avatar from standard or previously used avatars. She also added support for video effects when using video chat in Empathy. [1, 2, 3, 4]

Srishti Sethi created 6 activities for children to discover Braille for GCompris educational software. [1]

Madhumitha Viswanathan added Google Calendar, Google Tasks and Tracks backends to the Getting Things GNOME! task management software. [1]

In addition to their contributions, many of the interns participated in GNOME events. Julita, Kelly, and Tiffany attended the Open Help conference and GNOME Documentation hackfest in Cincinnati. Ekaterina, Julita, Anita, Tiffany, Tamara, Raluca, Srishti, and Madhumitha attended the Desktop Summit in Berlin. Meg, Tiffany, and Nohemi are coming to the Montreal Summit. The new participants and their contributions are definitely energizing the GNOME project!

Please Spread the Word about OPW at SFD

Friday, September 16th, 2011

We are starting an application process for the third round of GNOME Outreach Program for Women internships just in time for the Software Freedom Day! Please help us spread the word about the program by bringing a few flyers to the event in your city or making an announcement about the internship opportunities at the event. You can just tell people to check out the main GNOME website for more information.

It is particularly important that people heading to the Software Freedom Day in places in the Southern Hemisphere help us spread the word. The December to March internship dates are aimed at the college women there who will have a school summer break during this time.

However, because any woman who is available for a full-time internship is welcome to apply, you might reach just the right candidate by letting people know about the program in Kokkola, Finland (the northernmost place on the SFD events map). For a similar round last year, we had two participants from Brazil and a participant each from Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Malaysia, and USA.

The application deadline is October 31. During the program, the interns work remotely, while being guided by a mentor. The participating projects include ones in programming, graphic design, documentation, and marketing.

GNOME Outreach Program for Women Attracts Many New Contributors

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

With the great work done by eight Outreach Program for Women interns last round, the GNOME 3.0 release has far more contributions by women than any previous release in GNOME history. With 15 female interns accepted for the Outreach Program for Women and Google Summer of Code, GNOME 3.2 will be in a good position to beat this record. Read more about this in today’s press release!

I would like to personally thank all program sponsors, Collabora, Google, Mozilla and the GNOME Foundation! Thank you to Red Hat for supporting my work on this program! Thank you to Máirín Duffy, Stormy Peters, Rosanna Yuen and the GNOME Board of Directors for the help and support in organizing this program. Thank you to Sumana Harihareswara, Dave Neary and Owen Taylor for helping me prepare the press release. Most importantly, thank you to all the program’s mentors for doing the essential work of helping the applicants and eventual participants contribute to their projects!

What struck me while reviewing the applications was how this program presented a special opportunity for each participant. They all had previous experience with GNOME and Free Software, worked hard to prepare their applications, and saw the program as a great fit that will allow them to take their involvement in Free Software and their professional accomplishments to the next level. So far I shared two tips with them. Being told to read the code is normal. As are multiple passes in a patch review. Please welcome them when you see them on Planet GNOME and point them to the right line of code when they have a question on IRC :).

Everyone is Talking about GNOME 3

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Just look at the messages that were waiting for me in my Messaging Tray.

GNOME 3 IRC messages

GNOME 3 is awesome! We are already thinking ahead too.

OPW Internships are Done! Long Live OPW Internships!

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The eight GNOME Outreach Program for Women interns have just completed their internships! Congratulations to everyone on the job well done! We definitely hope this was a great experience for you and you will stay involved in GNOME!

The GNOME Foundation will be sponsoring three more internships for women from May 23 to August 22, 2011. These dates match the ones for the Google Summer of Code program, so that we can also encourage women who qualify for Google Summer of Code to apply for both programs. Google Summer of Code requires applicants to be students applying for coding projects, while Outreach Program for Women internships are open to non-students and non-coders. For example, three out of eight interns last round were non-students, and two others worked on the Documentation Project.

The application deadline is April 8, 2011. As part of the application process, we are asking women to take the time to learn about the participating projects and make a small contribution to the one they are interested in. These projects include ones in programming, graphic design, documentation, and marketing.

This deadline is a little over three weeks away, so immediate help with spreading the word about the program is hugely appreciated. You can e-mail the program information to the relevant departments at your university or to a technical women group, post the flyer at your university or hand it out at a conference you are attending. Perhaps, you even personally know somebody who should apply! The linked page has the text for the e-mail you can send to people, the flyer you can attach to an e-mail or print out, and even a sample dent / tweet :)!

As always, people are welcome to add their projects to the list of participating projects and add themselves as mentors. Companies are encouraged to sponsor additional internships on the projects of their choice.

Thanks to Máirín Duffy for updating the flyer during a stop-over en route to SXSW!

Outreach Program for Women internships poster

Meet the GNOME Outreach Program for Women interns!

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Today, the GNOME project announced eight participants of the Outreach Program for Women internships! The internships will take place between December 15, 2010 and March 15, 2011. In the next few weeks, we’ll add the participants’ blogs to Planet GNOME, so that they can introduce themselves as well as write weekly updates about their work. Say “hi” to them on their blogs or when you see them on IRC. Also, if you are at the Boston Summit this weekend, say “hi” to Tiffany and Eugenia who will be attending it too.

One of our requirements for applicants was to make a contribution to the project they are interested in. All of our selected participants succeeded in making a good non-trivial contribution, so we know they are ready to dive into their work! They all share great enthusiasm for their projects, GNOME, and free software. Please meet:

Tiffany Antopolski (mimico) has completed her third year of Software Engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, which is near Toronto, in Canada. She is taking this year to do a co-op position, in which she is teaching sessions and labs in a first year programming course. Tiffany has also helped design the curriculum for the course. She will work on the Documentation Project with Paul Cutler as her mentor.

Nanci de Brito Bonfim (nanci) is a graduate student in Computer Science at the Federal University of Bahia in Salvador, Brazil. As one of her previous involvements with free software, Nanci has been filing bugs and working on quality assurance tests for, a Brazilian Portuguese version of Nanci has used Anjuta before for programming in C. She will work on Anjuta with Sébastien Granjoux as her mentor.

Luciana Fujii Pontello (fujii) has graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 2006. Luciana is one of the main developers of Landell, a free software multimedia streaming tool developed using Python, GTK+, and GStreamer. She has also developed the cairoimageoverlay plugin for GStreamer for overlaying an image over a video. She has first peeked into the Cheese code earlier this year when learning how to write a GStreamer application. Luciana is leaving her current job as a developer working on Landell at Holoscopio, a small free software consulting and development company, because of her interest to work directly with GNOME. She will work on improving libcheese and GNOME Video Effects with Thiago Sousa Santos as her mentor.

Eugenia Gabrielova (genia) has recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, which is near Chicago, in USA. She currently works as a Research Software Developer at the Northwestern University Medical Simulation Lab, creating a video game about emergency medicine for medical students. She is a sole developer on this project and is developing it on an Ubuntu system using Python. Eugenia has used Anjuta before for her school assignments. Eugenia will work on Anjuta with Johannes Schmid as her mentor.

Laura Elisa Lucas Alday (stringlau) is a fourth year Computer Science student at the John F. Kennedy Argentine University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Laura has five years of full-time professional software engineering experience using Visual C/C++ for applications related to video management and computer security. She has used many free software applications and libraries while working in the Windows environment and has been using Ubuntu at home. She is currently staying at home with her five months old son Rafael. Laura will work on Cheese with Daniel Siegel as her mentor.

Hellyna Ng (hellyna) is a third and final year student in the Digital Systems Security program at the University of Wollongong. She is taking her courses through the Singapore Institute of Management Global Education program. She lives in Johor, Malaysia and commutes to Singapore for school. Hellyna has used Arch Linux, (K)(X)Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Linux Mint, and Sabayon Linux distributions. She has previously compiled the kernel and built from scratch Arch Linux and Gentoo distributions. She’ll be taking a term off at school to participate in the program. She will work on GNOME Shell with me as her mentor.

Natalia Andrea Ruz Leiva (nruz) is a fourth year Computer Science student at the Federico Santa María Technical University in Valparaíso, Chile. Natalia participates in the development of the Guitar Boost free software video game for learning to play electric guitar by connecting it to the computer and following the tablature on the screen that shows how the song is played. Natalia will work on the Documentation Project with Paul Cutler as her mentor.

Chandni Verma (glassrose) has recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Dr. M.C. Saxena College of Engineering & Technology in Lucknow, India. She is particularly interested in data structures, algorithms and cryptography, and has worked on school projects involving them, such as an online national polling system. Chandni also maintains a library with her implementations of over a 100 different algorithms and participates in various online programming contests. Chandni learned about this internship program when already working on her first contribution to Empathy. She will work on Empathy with Danielle Madeley as her mentor.

There are many people and organizations I’d like to thank for making this program happen! Thank you to the GNOME Board of Directors for expressing a desire to run this program and for providing funding for three participants! Thank you to Google for funding four more participants and to Collabora for funding one more participant! Special thank you to Stormy Peters for providing me with irreplaceable feedback day in and day out! Thank you to Paul Cutler, Danielle Madeley, Johannes Schmid, and Daniel Siegel, who in addition to signing up as mentors from day one helped a lot with planning the program and working with the applicants! Thank you to Sébastien Granjoux and Thiago Sousa Santos who stepped in as mentors on a last minute request and saved the day! Thank you to Chris Ball and Hanna Wallach for running a trailblazing Women’s Summer Outreach Program in 2006, showing that it generates a lot of interest, and providing us with great input for this program! Thank you to Máirín Duffy for designing an awesome logo and flyer! Thank you to Emily Chen, Diego Escalante Urrelo, Amber Graner, Rikki Kite, Pockey Lam, Germán Póo-Caamaño, Izabel Valverde, Marco Villegas and everyone else who helped spread the word! Thank you to Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier for working on the press release with me and Stormy! Thank you to Rosanna Yuen for helping figure out how the payments for the program will work! Thank you to Jonathan Blandford, Jon McCann, and Owen Taylor at Red Hat for being very supportive of my work on this!

Finally, thank you to our participants for showing up and being so enthusiastic about this program! Congratulations and rock on! :-) Thank you to everyone else who applied and worked on project contributions! Please stay involved in GNOME and apply next time if we couldn’t accept you this time around.