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Red Hat Appoints Robyn Bergeron First Female Fedora Project Leader 146

Posted by timothy
from the cultural-barriers-be-damned dept.
darthcamaro writes "Red Hat is changing the leadership at the Fedora Project. Jared Smith is out after having been the Fedora Project Leader since June of 2010. In is Robyn Bergeron — who will be the first female leader of the open source project's history. Bergeron is well known in the community as she has most recently been the Fedora Program Manager."
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Red Hat Appoints Robyn Bergeron First Female Fedora Project Leader

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  • by Tanktalus (794810) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:18AM (#38954967) Journal

    The more we focus on the gender of the applicant rather than their skill in doing the job, the more we encourage people to treat others different based on gender. And the misogynists will continue to blame "affirmative action" for their lack of progression in their jobs. Seriously. Congrats to Robyn. I assume she's the most qualified for the job, though I have no idea who she is so shouldn't (and don't) have an opinion on the matter. But to focus on her gender rather than her skills will only focus attention away from what she accomplishes and to her gender. That doesn't do her any justice, women in general any justice, or Fedora any justice.

    • by noh8rz2 (2538714)
      I was going to make a joke about the Red Hat Society [redhatsociety.com]. But i realized i would be tearing down and marginalizing a woman for just being a woman. A agree with parent, I take on face value that she is the most qualified. I would ask all the lonely dudes on /. to consider this before interjecting thier jokes.
    • You are completely correct. My wife is a computer programmer and she has to deal with this crap all the time. Yes, we need more women in computing but we also need people to get jobs based on their skill set. I've met a lot of female programmers that can hold their own. Gender should not matter.

    • by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:34AM (#38955171)
      you are completely wrong. IT is 97% male. Famous Open Source project leadership is 99.9% male. It IS news, what other distro has woman leading? Answer me that question first, anyone who replies to me.
      • by Golddess (1361003)
        Sorry, but you've not managed to explain why it is news.

        "Person gets job based on qualifications" is not news.

        "Company hires applicant based on qualifications" might be news, if said company used to put qualifications second to gender/race/religion/etc.
        • by rubycodez (864176)
          you are wrong because our society hasn't evolved to that point yet. there are hardly any women in open source leadership at all (a bad thing). it IS news, she may be the first female leader of a linux distro (has that happened to BSD yet)? very very newsworthy. very very surprising. unheard of. unprecedented.
          • by rubycodez (864176)
            in fact, you seem oblivious to fact that in over half of planet earth, women are subjected, unliberated, partially or wholly enslaved, abused. Take the middle eastern cultures, latin ones, east asian ones together, the woman's lot largely sucks in those.
            • by Golddess (1361003)

              in fact, you seem oblivious to fact that in over half of planet earth, women are subjected, unliberated, partially or wholly enslaved, abused.

              "Company hires applicant based on qualifications" might be news, if said company used to put qualifications second to gender/race/religion/etc.

              s/company/country/i

              So no, I'm not oblivious as you seem to think I am. I know full well there are places on earth where women are treated like crap. One of those places suddenly treating women with respect would be news. However, I am unaware that Red Hat was one of those places that treat women like crap.

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              ...in over half of planet earth, women are subjected, unliberated, partially or wholly enslaved, abused. Take the middle eastern cultures, latin ones, east asian ones together, the woman's lot largely sucks in those.

              Watch out, some liberals are going to call you a "RACIST!" for saying anything negative about those cultures, and that those cultures are better than western cultures.

          • by Dog-Cow (21281)

            Why is it bad that there are few women in leadership positions in open source?

            • by rubycodez (864176)
              because it is yet another symptom of a terrible, ancient problem in this world of how women are treated
        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          "Company hires applicant based on qualifications" might be news, if said company used to put qualifications second to gender/race/religion/etc.

          To be fair, she didn't meet the "Cheeto-stained neckbeard" job requirement to be the head of a Linux distro, but they hired her anyway.

      • by AdamWill (604569) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @01:12PM (#38956853) Homepage

        It was rarely noted at the time, but Anne Nicolas was the head engineer (her job title changed a few times, but she was always in overall charge of all the engineers actually working on the distribution and hence arguably 'in charge' of the distro itself) at Mandriva for quite a while.

      • by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @02:06PM (#38957741)

        Famous Open Source project leadership is 99.9% male. It IS news, what other distro has woman leading?

        Albinos are even rarer project leaders than women. If an albino happened to become project leader of a "famous" open source project, would you expect to see similar "Holy shit, an albino!" news stories with prominent mention of it in headlines? I don't think that would happen. Certainly in the comments, but not in the headline. This isn't just about how rare female project leaders are.

        • by jrumney (197329)
          Albinos are extremely rare. Women are over 50% of the population. A lack of Albinos in leadership roles in open source projects is not in any way comparable to a lack of women in those roles.
      • Jane Silber, CEO of canonical.

        I think it's news.

      • by Larryish (1215510)

        OSX is based on UNIX, and Steve Jobs was kind of a girly-man.

        Does that count?

    • by Jawnn (445279)
      Agreed. If Robyn wants to crow about that distinction, more power to her, but the rest of us probably shouldn't care which bathroom a project leader uses.
    • Agreed.

      Another thing is the separatoin of the sexes for awards. Now, in the Olympics, this makes perfect sense. Men grow bigger and stronger, so the spirit of competition demands that runners and swimmers compete within their sex. Now, what about the Oscars? Why do they have a category for Best Female Lead and Best Male Lead? Men are not naturally better or worse than women at acting. There should just be Best Actor.

      Same with project management. Honestly, why should I care if it's a female? Is Red H

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Men grow bigger and stronger, so the spirit of competition demands that runners and swimmers compete within their sex.

        Yes, because the men could very well lose to the women in running or cycling, due to their excessive upper-body mass that contributes nothing to locomotion. Men are only 'bigger and stronger" when you look at the upper body; women frequently have longer legs proportionately than men.

    • No relation of course, genetically or content-wise, to Harrison Bergeron [wikipedia.org].

    • by rilian4 (591569)

      Hear Hear! Well said. I say the same about race as well. The more it is focused on, the more it will remain a problem. Stop taking race into consideration in any way. If you continue to give consideration(positive or negative) to someone based on their race (any race), you are promoting racism by definition.

      It's much the same with gender with the exception that a few jobs requiring physical strength (fire-fighter for example) are more difficult for the average female to perform (such as having to lift an u

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Yep, that's why it should be based on physical requirements, rather than the presence or absence of certain sex organs. If a woman can lift an unconscious person and pass the physical requirement, she should be allowed to apply for the job. Most women don't have the necessary upper-body strength. But that doesn't mean they all don't.

    • by Eevee (535658)

      Lets try it.

      :i

      Red Hat Appoints Robyn Bergeron First Female Fedora Project Leader<esc>

      :s/First Female/Robyn Bergeron as/

      Hmm, I get:

      Red Hat Appoints Robyn Bergeron Robyn Bergeron as Fedora Project Leader

      Perhaps you should try

      :s/First Female/as/

    • I agree that women holding leadership positions in open source tech should (and almost certainly will, eventually) be common-place enough to be unremarkable and not newsworthy. In the meantime, it is helpful to point out/celebrate steps on that road. Remarking on Bergeron being the first female project leader does not imply she was picked for that reason, so the misogynists' "affirmative action" claims would simply look silly.
      We shouldn't avoid drawing attention to the gender issue just because we feel it s

      • by Tanktalus (794810)

        I don't know if you've noticed, but a lot of the misogynists likely don't care about looking silly, as long as they appeal to each other, and, as a voting block, to their government representatives at all levels (municipal, state/provincial, federal/national, and any others that their jurisdiction may have). And, in my experience, it is awfully hard to tell the difference between "promoted on merit" and "promoted for reasons other than merit." Is she sleeping with the boss? Probably not in public. And r

        • by retchdog (1319261)

          since the gender emphasis seems to have been added exclusively by slashdot, you can stop weighting it, unless you think slashdot controls redhat management. i'm sure you'll find something else to fuel your paranoia though.

  • by crath (80215) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:18AM (#38954971) Homepage
    And what is the point of putting her gender in the headline? Are women generally less capable than men and so it's a miracle that she made it to project leader? I don't believe that is the case; so, why emphasise her gender? This is a non-story and shouldn't have made it to the front page of /.
    • Slow news day? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:24AM (#38955053)

      Agreed, I work in IT and have had several top level managers who are female. It's the 21stC and should be no surprise that a woman should have risen through the ranks of Red Hat.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        I think what's news is not that it's a female in IT, but that it's a female in an open-source project. The male:female ratio in OS projects is even worse than IT in general, and women are even more rare there than in other software fields.

        • Sure, but Fedora is a Red Hat sponsored project. Thus it's only natural a Red Hat employee take the reins. I'm not saying we shouldn't celebrate her appointment, clearly she's risen through the ranks.

          Nevertheless, to open source it may like admitting female priests in Rome but in the context of a work environment it's hardly unusual and why I question why it's headline news.

          A bigger question would be why outside of employer sponsored projects, participation rates are so skewed in favour of blokes.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            Sure, but Fedora is a Red Hat sponsored project. Thus it's only natural a Red Hat employee take the reins.

            Yes, but RH is an open-source company. I don't know for sure, but I'll bet if you got the employee records for Red Hat and for Microsoft, you'd find a greater ratio of female programmers at MS than at RH.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:29AM (#38955119)

      Are women generally less capable than men.

      No, but they are outnumbered 50:1 by men, so yeah, having a girl as a project leader *is* kinda big news.

    • ...that the Open Source industry is finally on the verge of catching up with the rest of the tech and software industry in matters of gender equality?

      The whole headline is a perfect example of back-handed praise. It's got to be Editor-Trolling because even Timothy can't be that naive.

    • by sohmc (595388)

      It's important only so far as that the public should know that she's the first woman to do (fill in the blank).

      Just like Barack Obama was the first black man to (fill in the blank).

      It's PR. They have to make things interesting.

    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      and besides, the glass ceiling is only 3 atoms thick now. [slashdot.org]
    • by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:55AM (#38955539) Homepage Journal
      Because it is news when a women breaks the gender barrier in IT. Just read this thread, or any thread on Slashdot, the hostility to women and belittling our achievements is an very ugly part of technology culture. Something wonderful just happened. Let's celebrate it.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Well, it's a non-story in the sense of turning it into a discussion of gender in IT, when we should be doing is celebrating the fact that Robyn really knows her stuff (at least, based on a few interactions I had with her at a FUDCon a while back) and got a good and well-deserved promotion.

    • by jjohnson (62583)

      Her gender is important because technology is one of the last areas where sexism is respectable and defended. In business, law, and medicine, the same tired stereotypes used to be operative, and are no longer because women like Robyn Bergeron stuck it out.

      Her gender is news because it's a sign of progress.

    • Are women generally less capable than men

      Yes. Look at the physical fitness standards and scoring for the military if you don't believe so.

      • by AdamWill (604569)

        Fortunately, being FPL doesn't involve a whole lot of 30 mile forced marches with heavy backpacks.

  • by walkerp1 (523460) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:19AM (#38954985)
    So next time we don't have to wonder about the motivation of the first X to do Y when Y has no performance correlation to X.
    • by bieber (998013)
      Right, because it's not like abhorrent attitudes towards X in the Y community have had anything to do with the colossal under-representation of X in Y, and seeing Xs begin to break through those barriers is a big deal or anything. Today I learned just how thoroughly ignorant the average Slashdotter is of his male privilege...
  • New logo (Score:2, Troll)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717)

    I think the red fedora is about to become a pink glittery one :P

  • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:23AM (#38955039)

    Bergeron is well known in the community as she has most recently been the Fedora Program Manager

    And a ton of other simultaneous jobs listed at:

    http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Rbergero [fedoraproject.org]

    From the outside, I've never heard anything bad about her. So, good luck!

  • by SpaghettiPattern (609814) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:24AM (#38955063)
    In the name of science! Let us capture this specimen, lock it up in a laboratory and conduct experiments on it!

    Is it big news that the first female is appointed to any function at all? Emancipation has come a great way and nowadays female lead is business as usual. Admittedly there are a less females in IT but that's more to do with it being less appealing to women. Not because the male majority keeps them from career opportunities. There are enough examples of women doing more than fine. In fact, using this tone is rather patronizing and I wonder whether Ms. Bergeron really appreciates the attention on the sole base that she's a lady, doing lady's things.
  • I've worked with many wonderful managers, male and female. I've also worked with a few awful managers, male and female.

    Hmmm - actually most of the bad managers were male. But let's move on - nothing to see here.

  • Call me when a woman goes into space...

    Oh, wait...

    The title takes women's rights back several decades.
    Oh, yeah, its a big post, uncommon for the likes of the womenfolk ehh? Oh, that's not all, it is also *techy* eehh? Right, because we know how it goes with women and technology - har har!. What? Linux is involved? I' d never...! Wow, Congrats slashdot.

    And this post would not be complete without some lame predictions of future /. articles - shall we?
    -Fellulah Davidovic, first woman to load a file onto emacs

    • by bieber (998013)
      You're completely missing the point. No one (at least no one with half a brain) believes that women are under-represented in technology because they're somehow inferior at it. They're under-represented because it's a subculture loaded with misogyny and sexism. Seeing women begin to break through those barriers and attain high ranking positions in what has traditionally been a boys only club is kind of a big deal. I'm sure this is a significant personal achievement for Robyn, but it's also a great achiev
  • by p0p0 (1841106)
    Just keep her away from Stallman. http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/EMACS_virgins_joke [wikia.com]
  • by Dareth (47614) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:42AM (#38955317)

    http://fedoraproject.org/en/using/life/robynbergeron.html

    Recovering sysadmin indeed.

  • ...has just hired its first left-handed Lithuanian. Get over the gender and racial/ethnic background issues! They're not important! You're just going to get Robyn labeled as the 'token female'. It's disgusting!

  • All I want to know is her position on Gnome 3. Is she going to be the one who stops it?

  • by kiwimate (458274) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @12:02PM (#38955669) Journal

    1. I'd imagine that the news that a major distribution has a new project leader is what people should be discussing.
    2. Yes, it is shameful that Slashdot felt they should emphasize this in the headline.
    3. But, to be fair, it is mentioned in the linked article...

    She will be the first (what took them so long?) female leader of Fedora

    4. ...which isn't any better. ("What took them so long?" Maybe because they had a habit of picking whoever was best for the job regardless of other characteristics?)
    5. Futile discussion. Everyone is now focused on the sexism. Way to go, Slashdot editors. And Slashdot readers. And whoever wrote that quote in the linked article.

  • First woman in charge of Red Hat and her name isn't Carmen?

    Video games lied to me again.

  • The NERVE of these misogynists to claim a mere XX female is a significant step toward true diversity!

    Wake me up when there's a pentasomy X WOMAN [wikipedia.org] in charge of the Fedora project.

    zzzzzzzz.....

  • That could a little bit creepy.

  • I'm just waiting for the day when a person's gender/ethnicity/religion/you-name-it... is no longer news. As a Fedora user, I really give a damn if the project leader is male, female, black, white, gay, straight, Mormon, Scientologist, or whatever. I just want to know that he or she is competent.
    • I'm just waiting for the day when a person's gender/ethnicity/religion/you-name-it... is no longer news. As a Fedora user, I really give a damn if the project leader is male, female, black, white, gay, straight, Mormon, Scientologist, or whatever. I just want to know that he or she is competent.

      So, you're beyond all forms of distinction except mental acuity? Who cares if they are competent, mentally retarded, brainless (a cybernetic state machine), or even a dead yet dreaming eldritch terror of the deep? No one cares HOW they get the job done so long as its done satisfactorily and consistently.

      I mean, no one made a big deal about it when Canonical appointed Cthulhu as Ubuntu's Lead UI Designer.

  • A few people have pointed out that we should not emphasize Ms. Bergeron's gender. In an ideal world, this would be true. But in THIS world, it's a big deal, simply because women in high IT positions are so rare. Having worked with some very talented female engineers, I can say that as skilled engineers, they brought more to the work environment than just engineering. Women are not inferior, but there are differences, some biological, some sociological, and those differences have huge benefits when it co

    • by vga_init (589198)

      Your comment about Islam is one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Before Islam came to Arabia, they were making 0 scientific advances and their civilization was in a state of wretchedness. In Arab society, tribes were constantly going to war with one another; they viewed women as property (as did Europeans), and it was popular for fathers to bury their female babies alive because they felt female children were too much of a burden.

      Islam arrived with a specific platform of demanding respect toward wo

      • by Theovon (109752)

        I'll have to do better homework on Islam. Your anecdote contradicts other anecdotes, and I need to wipe away all the anecdotes and read some real history.

        But is it a stereotype to notice that women are culturally conditioned to pay better attention to their appearance? It's a fact. Women are TRAINED to do that. This is evident in the fact that more women wear makeup than do men. I'm not judging women for putting effort into their appearance. I'm saying that that's how EVERYONE should behave. Men CAN

    • ...Since they don't think exactly like men, they solve problems differently...
      Women also wear better looking clothes, smell nicer, and have a penchant for adding things to the physical environment that make the workplace more pleasant.

      While I believe your heart's in the right place, you're still pushing those damn gender role stereotypes. Perhaps it sticks out like a sore thumb to me because all my life I've had friends of all races, creeds, genders and sexual orientations. In HighSchool a friend and I both liked the same subjects, activities, bands, and even fell for the same girl. She was a lesbian -- A woman who thought almost "exactly like" me, ie like a man. Not saying that she didn't, but not all women "smell nicer" than all

      • by Theovon (109752)

        You're right that NOT ALL women "smell nicer." I was referring to a statistical norm and my personal experiences. I believe what I was doing is called Synecdoche.

        The only way in which ALL black people are different from whites is that their skin tone is darker. And when suntans and albinos get into the mix, even that isn't necessarily true. All other characteristics are completely individual. However, there are certain common trends. For instance, africans tend to have different muscle tone. And soci

  • by DerCed (155038) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @02:28PM (#38958089)

    Cool, now we are all waiting for the first Black Female Linux Team Leader?

  • Breaking news... Fedora project leader has a vagina.

    Honestly I'm tired of sexism in our society. I don't give a damn if someone is a man or a woman. Period. It doesn't mean anything--it's not some amazing, wonderful thing to have a female in a position of leadership or power, nor can the same be said for a male. They're all just human beings.

    • I don't give a damn if someone is a man or a woman. Period.

      Before I got married - back when I was dating - I must say this mattered to me a lot.

  • Congratulations!!!!
  • That the article used the word "female", rather than misusing "woman" as an adjective.

    I guess it's a good day to be a grammar nazi.

  • fewer high level positions = a smaller sample size.
    Also, statistics wouldn't say why the bias exists.
    Perhaps there's a problem, perhaps it seems like a problem due to chance, perhaps small differences are magnified at higher levels

    as such, looking at the rank and file might be more informative.

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