AdaCamp and Haecksen


Saturday was the very first AdaCamp, an unconference set up by the Ada Initiative to talk about issues facing women in open stuff, here in Melbourne.

The event was well attended by awesome feminists from a breadth of fields and some geographic diversity within Australia (including a surprising number of people from Perth). There were open source people, Wikimedia people, librarians and academics.

There were 21 sessions in total, in 3 streams, so I don’t know everything awesome that was discussed. I think the most important session I attended was the first one of the morning on Imposter syndrome. Also the session on getting women involved with open source, where I talked about the GNOME Outreach Programme for Women.

[Unfortunately I forgot to bring a notebook with me, and tiredness has caused my memory to let me down.]

Brianna and I supplied the morning and afternoon tea, which was various combinations of vegan, gluten-free and fructose-free. Some people asked for the recipes used, which I blogged here.


I drove to Ballarat yesterday to give my panel at the Haecksen miniconf at linux.conf.au1 on gender-focused outreach in open source.

It was, in my opinion, an extremely good panel. I was originally daunted by appearing on a panel with Pia Waugh, Leslie Hawthorn and Selena Deckmann (all of whom are amazingly talented), but I think I did okay. We covered a breadth of mentoring from school age girls, to open source mentoring with Summer of Code and specific programmes like GOPW with a little bit about mentoring in organisations. Unfortunately I feel like the panel ran out of time just when it was getting interesting, and I didn’t get to talk about optimising your mentoring and the differences I’ve found in mentoring people from high-context culture vs low-context cultures [1, 2].

We also talked a bit about improving your diversity (which was a bit off-topic, more of a carry-on from the talk preceding the panel). Key point for me was: people from minorities tend not to ask (or apply), if you want diversity, you have to seek it out. Furthermore, people tend to know people who are like them, to seek out diversity, ask for recommendations from people who are least like the people you already have.


Unfortunately, I’m not at itself, so if you’re looking for me, I’m not there. If you want to talk to a Collaboran about what we can do for you or how awesome it is to work for us, you can find Daniel Stone or Dario Freddi at the conference.

  1. Many thanks to my employer Collabora for letting me be there. []

The Ada Initiative Census

The Ada Initiative have just launched their first annual census — a broad survey of open technology and culture participants — to find out more about what projects and communities people are involved in, and how they feel about women’s inclusion and representation in the field.

Everyone involved in free and open software, open culture, etc. is invited to participate and I encourage you all to do so.

The census is short and takes about 5 minutes to complete.

Take the Census


The biographies of the advisory group for the Ada Initiative was recently announced and I’m extremely proud to say that I’m a part of it.

In other news, I merged support for contact blocking in Empathy 2.33.2, which will be in the Empathy 2.34 release (the gtk2 branch of Empathy), for Telepathy connection managers that support blocking (at least Google Talk). Hopefully my talented GOPW intern Chandi will find time to forward port that work to master (i.e. Empathy 3.x) before I do, so everyone else can enjoy it too.

Thanks to the hard work of other Collaborans (Emilio and Sjoerd), Empathy 2.33.2 also has experimental support for Call, the new VoIP API in Telepathy that supports a lot more than the older StreamedMedia API.

The Ada Initiative

A couple of weeks ago at I was invited to a meeting to help brainstorm on a new initiative being set up by open source contributors Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner. That initiative, the Ada Initiative, has just been launched.

The Ada Initiative is a new non-profit organization dedicated to increasing participation of women in open technology and culture, which includes open source software, Wikipedia and other open data, and open social media.

The Ada Initiative is focused on helping women get careers in open technology through recruitment and training programs for women, education for community members who want to help women, and working with corporations and projects to improve their outreach to women.

Get more information from the launch announcement.

N.B. The Ada initiative should not be confused with Ada Lovelace Day, which incidentally has been moved further back in the year to October 7.