Women in open source panel at Grace Hopper

A couple of weeks ago I got to go to the Grace Hopper conference for women in computing. It was a great conference. My favorite talk was one I happened on by accident, "I’m an imposter," where some of the most successful women I’ve ever met in person got up and talked about how they often feel like they are in the wrong place or got there by accident or are being asked to do something they have no idea how to do. It was really funny and very motivating. (If they have self doubts and got to where they are at, well then … For example, the president of Harvey Mudd College talked about how she sat between two billionaires at lunch and asked for $25 million for her school. If she can do that, I should have no problem asking for very modest – comparatively – donations for the GNOME Foundation!)

I was on a panel about women in open source. We weren’t as funny but hopefully we were as motivating. Our goal was to encourage women to participate in open source so we all started off by sharing our stories of how we got involved. A good many of us originally got into open source through our jobs, as opposed to as a self started hobby. I wonder how that would compare to how men started.

Our session was standing room only and there were lots of questions – hopefully we talked at least one person into working on open source software!

Here’s the panel.

Myghcpanel

Kristen Carlson Accardi
(Intel), Meenakshi Kaul-Basu (Sun Microsystems), Stormy Peters (GNOME
Foundation), Valerie Fenwick (Sun Microsystems), Zoë Slattery (IBM), Kathryn Vandiver (NetApp)

(Picture from Meenakshi’s camera taken by somebody in the hall. 🙂