Philosophical Geekess – Did she or didn't she?

Sam Varghese is one of my favourite writers. He tends to hit the nail on the head. Hard. The nail usually doesn’t enjoy the experience.

Today he posted an article titled ‘An insight into wrangles in the Ubuntu community‘ about issues with women and the Ubuntu community. It’s an interesting read, covering one woman’s complaints about how the leadership selection process worked, denying her a chance to play a larger role in the community.

Sam’s article is accurate. I’ve read Melissa Draper’s blog, including the posting about the community elections, and her somewhat panicked response when Sam sent her an email about the article he was writing. But while his article is accurate, it misses a couple of points.

I’ve been active in the Free Software community for four or five years now, including the Ubuntu sub-community. Like all such communities, there are certain people who seem to think that they have more rights than others. There are certain people who think that they should be leaders because of who they are, not what they do. There are certain people who think that they have the right to determine who is a ‘real’ member of the community, and who isn’t.

This is a problem with any community, whether it’s a volunteer effort, or a paid effort. There often is a self selected elite, and then there’s everyone else.

I don’t have a lot of patience for fools. I don’t have a lot of patience, period. I never have had a lot of patience, and the chronic pain has only made my temper shorter. This isn’t to say that the Ubuntu Community Council are fools. I don’t know any of them personally. Hell, they could be fools, and still be good people. The two positions are not mutually contradictory. I know people in several communities that I am totally incapable of working with, but who are nice people.

Since I don’t have the patience, while I take part in various efforts, I deliberately don’t get deeply involved. Instead I do my own thing, in my own way. If people don’t like what I’m doing, and I end up on an Enemies List, that’s fine. They have a right to an opinion too, however being me, I’ll happily correct them again, and again, and again, and again, ad infinitum.

So Melissa Draper, rather than defining yourself by the Ubuntu Community, why not force the Ubuntu Community to define itself by Melissa Draper? They may not like it, but you’ll have more of an effect, and have a lot more fun.

Frank Sinatra did a beautiful song called ‘My Way‘ – I think it’s fantastic inspiration.

Wayne Borean

Sunday March 14, 2010


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