A Series of Fortunate Events

On Wednesday, I found time to sneak over to the first formal Open Source / LibTech Chicas meetup coordinated by Sandra of OpenITP and some other ladies. I was really glad that they got this together since last year on the heels of AdaCamp, I’d tried to get a women in open source meetup going with sorta mixed success (full disclosure: I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy and battling nausea and fatigue!). So anyway, Wednesday’s gathering was well-attended with an interesting mix of women who’ve been in FLOSS for a while and a bunch who had relatively no experience and had no clue where to start. One woman asked me point blank, “How did you get involved in this; is it some sort of subculture?!” And in answering this question, I realized my involvement in FLOSS has been the result of a series of fortunate events, including but not limited to:

  • my dad encouraging me to use the computer as much as possible when I came to house – noodling around with DOS and BASIC, dialing into BBSes we’d find out about from free tech circulars in the Bay Area, and buying me copies of 2600 Hacker Quarterly
  • meeting Sumana when I was a student at UC Berkeley and learning about Linux (and meeting cool people like Leonard through her!)
  • Brian, who was a tough young brother from the Bronx that worked in the mail room when I worked at Davis Shapiro law firm, literally handing me an Ubuntu disk and telling me I’d be crazy not to run it and how he encouraged all his boys to use it instead of Windows
  • my Windows machine crashing in Slovenia and deciding to finally just start running Ubuntu….and then running into problems along the way and learning the true joy of the forums
  • coming back to NYC and reconnecting with Sumana
  • meeting and working for Karl Fogel
  • getting hired at OpenGeo
  • After a few of us at the gathering answered the question, the next thing that new people wanted to know was “Where do *I* start?”So I told people I’d send them some links and figured I may as well post them here so everyone could access them and any of the smart people out there who read this blog could chime in with even more suggestions. That post is here.

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