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Chicks Love Linux -      

Chicks Love Linux
Increasingly More Women Join the Community

by Andrea W. Cordingly, for our Reality Mixed with Humor section -

There I was standing around the LUG booth at the annual Linux expo when I realised that unlike years past, there were considerable numbers of female attendants. No, I am not referring exclusively to those female models hired to promote an OS (I won't mention which one) wearing skimpy demon costumes.

I was truly encouraged to find that women from all backgrounds and ages were making up an increasingly larger portion of those attending such Linux conferences.

After speaking with three in particular I came to appreciate the women of Linux as passionate and techno savvy as any of their kernel compiling male counterparts.

What this means for Linux and the community as a whole I leave to your personal interpretation. But what it means to the individual women involved with Linux is unique and important.

Take Cheryl for example. Okay, don't “take her” literally, but consider her situation. She's a young grad student finishing studies in computer science with plans to work as a research fellow on a number of Linux driven technologies. She says, “My research goals certainly include Linux. I can't imagine progressing my career without the many tools I've come to rely on, all on the Linux platform.”

Her enthusiasm is contagious. As another friend named Karen arrives to add to the discussion, it becomes apparent that the women of the Linux community have come a long way.

Karen sees Linux as a “great way to meet smart people.” She's not as ambitious regarding career planning, but certainly is looking to improve her social network. “I hate doing the usual club scene. I end up meeting guys that have trouble with speaking words, let alone being capable of a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Leaving behind men that drool and consider T&A part of their regular vocabulary, Karen instead shows up to her LUG to enjoy company that operates on a far more refined level. And as she points out, at her LUG she can start conversing with someone who can speak without groping, use words with more than two syllables and actually be interested in what she shares.

Perhaps the biggest asset of such a social group as Linux users, Karen finds they are “very helpful and friendly.”

“I went to our weekly LUG meeting and was amazed to find out how many guys are willing to spend hours voluntarily trying to get wifi working in my new apartment.” The other day, she noted that three LUG members helped her jump start her car, while a fourth offered to buy her some more fuel “just to be sure she had enough to get home.”

The Linux community certainly does reach out and encourage women more than most communities, as is witnessed by Linda. Her personal anecdotes are both shocking and quite appealing. “There's nothing more fun than sitting on my bed late at night, eating some really rich dark chocolate and playing Frozen Bubble. Sheepishly, she admits that one of her favorite pastimes is playing Linux games or chatting with internet friends using her Linux driven laptop.

Linda ended up buying an ASUS mini running Linux out of the box and loved it.

“Not only is it ultra portable, but with Linux installed I ended my days dealing with idiotic messages, XP warnings, and security settings galore,” says Linda. Proof that Linux is going to benefit anyone trying to get away from the Windows related issues.

Listening to the details Karen shares, Linda also admits to taking up Linux partly because it brings her in contact with a “completely different world of men.” In a bar, the man who comes over to chat tends to stare at my breasts while talking about the weather. But at a Linux conference, the guys that come over to chat with me tend to be staring at my ASUS running Google's Picasa while asking about memory limitations.”

“When I spend time with a guy who knows his kernel parameters, I get this strange rather exciting feeling.” Linda isn't embarrassed to admit that men who are Linux professionals excite her because they “have money, clout, and job security.”

As with all of the women I met and spoke with, Linda spends most of her work fiddling with Linux servers and the people she meets are not only fun to be with, but frequently help her with job related issues.

“You learn a lot from the Linux community,” says Linda.

It is both refreshing and encouraging to see that many more women today are getting the picture that Linux is empowering and freeing. It grants access to a community that is helpful and intelligent. Finally, Linux is a highly useful tool for any woman to achieve goals, earn serious income, meet great people and get ahead. Smart chicks indeed love Linux.

Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Microsoft, Microsoft Windows and WindowsXP are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation both in the United States and Internationally. RedHat is a registered trademark of RedHat Inc., SUN and JAVA are registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks in this opinion piece belong to their respective owners.

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