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Mozilla not accepted for Google Summer of Code 2015 (queze.net)
352 points by robin_reala on Mar 3, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 138 comments



I love Mozilla, but it would seem that they have a large enough budget to pay for any student interns they want themselves? Happy to see this go to smaller, less funded open source projects.


Intern has a different aura to it, many students find GSoC to be an easier thing to try than an internship (plus, work from home!).

An "open summer of code" funded by Mozilla and other orgs themselves sounds like an interesting idea (one that's being informally bounced around on IRC in more than one place)

But yeah, I like that they're focusing on smaller projects.


Not just informally; X.org has actually implemented this idea: http://www.x.org/wiki/XorgEVoC/


Sorry if I wasn't clear, I was talking in a Mozilla-specific POV. Thanks for the link!


Mozilla has winter of security, which is basically GSoC for security related projects.


In fact, they should have their own "Summer of Code".


Codezilla


"Zummer of Moz"?


Why not have something other than Summer? No break?


It's meant to be for CS students.


Nothern-hemisphere CS students, since summer is on the opposite time of the year for the other hemisphere.


Don't CS students get two breaks? One in summer and one at start of year (albeit shorter).


GitHub has been selected though.

(Btw Good to see OSM, XMPP, and Tox there.)


I was hoping Tox wouldn't get selected again...


Care to say why?


Even if they didn't have a large enough budget, they have enough exposure, popularity, and structure to draw in people to contribute for free.


I was planning to apply to a project under Mozilla and was very surprised too. But I also fully respect Google's decision and let's not take their sponsorship to the open source community as granted.

I also wish we could have an alternative SoC organized by a neutral foundation, but it probably won't have as much extra revenue to spend on as Google :)


There is the European Space Agency's Summer of Code in Space [1]. Not as general, but hey, space is fun!

[1] http://sophia.estec.esa.int/socis/


This is brilliant. As a physics student who also loves programming and open source, I'm going to share this everywhere :D


GNU Octave has done SoCiS a few times. And we prefer the synonym "free software" for what we do instead of "open source".

If you're into maths and C++ and perhaps Matlab, look for us.


I like Octave. I'm a Mathematica user (sorry), but I've used Octave a bit and found it pretty nice :)


You don't have to apologise to me for using Mathematica. My professional goal is to make sure that you will some day have no need for Mathematica, just like you probably have no need for Internet Explorer in the face of Chrome or Firefox.

If my goal hasn't been met yet, it is me who should apologise. I'll keep working towards that goal.


Thanks for the information! I like how their idea of "space-related open source projects" seems to be pretty liberal; I see octave, among other general scientific computing software, in SoCiS last year. Unfortunately their timeline lags behind GSoC quite a bit (organization application ends at 15 Mar this year), so I am going to apply to GSoC anyway and only use this as a fallback :-|


Some alternative mentorship programs, possibly too late for projects to apply this year though:

* http://semesterofcode.com/

* https://www.gnome.org/outreachy/


This one is based in Canada and mentor presence for a code sprint is required: http://ucosp.ca/for-open-source/


> let's not take their sponsorship to the open source community as granted.

Let's also not take for granted the massive benefits Google gets from open source. Free platforms on which customers use Google's services, including a free, massive software infrastructure (the Internet and all its protocols, the Web, email, etc.), and free technology for use by Google, such as Linux in their data centers and at the core of Android.

Arguably, without FOSS there would be no Internet, no Web, and no Google.

This is not a criticism of Google, who seem to appreciate these things and pay it back in many ways. My point is, it's not charity.


What is most interesting to me is the number of accepted organisations is down significantly: from 190 last year to 137 this year, the lowest since 2007. Naturally, the question that arises is 'Has Google cut funding for GSoC, or is it adopting a significantly different strategy from what they have done the past ten years?'


I would not be surprised at all if the budget for this has been reduced. Google's profitability is under pressure from its decreasing search advertising margins. The story recently about how YouTube wasn't actually profitable points to how Google has struggled to find anything other than search advertising that could bring in the bacon, and well Facebook is nibbling on that bacon already.

That said, Mozilla (and/or Yahoo!) might be in a good place to host something. A "Get Your Social On" sort of thing with Twitter/Facebook could be intriguing. And generally a non-company specific 'Coding Man' (think Burning Man but with more screens and less dust) sort of festival might be quite the event to attend some day.


I haven't looked, but are each organization getting more or less slots than before?


We don't know, yet. That would be tell-tale if the number of students also dropped significantly.


Not sure why there was a decrease in the number of organisations, but for some time they have been not accepting organizations that have been in regularly before.

But there are a bunch of exciting new organizations - I am hoping to mentor for the first time this year for Lowrisc, which is a new organization (in both senses, GSoC and just started), see the projects here [1]

[1] http://www.lowrisc.org/docs/gsoc-2015-ideas/


If there really are a lot of new organizations, that confirms my theory on the GSoC board: they are trying to encourage student developers getting into less-loved open source projects. In comparison the big projects already get quite some love (likely still not enough, but already a lot), so dropping them once in a while is a reasonable tradeoff for helping out the smaller projects.


Last year there was a 10% increase in everything (orgs, students, money) as a commemoration of the 10th anniversary. That can explain the "decrease", since that increase wasn't permanent.

Though it's less than 2013 too IIRC>


Plan 9 got refused too, the first time in 10 years,.just my luck now I finally qualify as a student instead of a mentor.


Is Plan 9 that operating system that Bell Labs (or Alcatel-Lucent) is developing? I didn't realize they were pulling interns on-board.


Plan9 is an open source project since 2000


GSoC != intern.


There are several organizations with minimal funding (like OSGeo) that will benefit from this. There are several infrastructure libraries under that umbrella... A geospatial data abstraction library is not as sexy as an end-user app with a GUI, but pretty much most of the reason of why you can open a satellite image in your favorite desktop app (open source and proprietary) is because of libraries like GDAL. A single student, for a summer, for a project like that makes a difference. Thank you to the GSoC organizers for this!


The GWT Project didn't get accepted either. I'm not sure what process they use, but we didn't get any favoritism despite >100k active monthly devs.

Perhaps they decided to promote orgs that were even more underserved?


Like github?


Kinda sad, but at least Postgres is in.


Disappointed ReactOS didn't get in this year, but at least Wine did.


Not too surprising... their search engine is no longer the default in FF and there are legal justifications not to support directly (FF) or indirectly (YHOO) a competitor.

Could YHOO jump in with a similar program?


That's one possible explanation, but I think it's equally likely that they thought some smaller project needed the help more than the already big Mozilla Foundation.

Besides, so far I didn't get the impression that Google really sees FF as a competitor (at this point in time). Google is not in the business of making browsers, they make a browser because that happens to be the best way to steer the future of the web. Mozilla seems to have similar views for that future and together they are beating IE into submission.


Mozilla is also not in the business of making browsers per se, fwiw; it's making a browser because that happens to be the best way to steer the future of the web. See the Mozilla Manifesto.

And while Google and Mozilla agree on some aspects of the web's future, there are other parts (fingerprinting, tracking of users) on which there are pretty fundamental disagreements.


Hmm..competing browsers, phone platforms, javascript engines..I'm sure google didn't take this into consideration. But yeah Mozilla is large enough to have their own MSoC.


Do the organizations submit specific projects with their GSoC application? Perhaps Mozilla's proposed GSoC projects were deemed to be not worth funding, not the organization itself. Here is a list of some GSoC projects that Mozilla suggested for 2015:

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Community:SummerOfCode15


This is much bigger than just Mozilla: https://www.ostraining.com/blog/general/gsoc/

Lots of big-name projects were dropped.

In total, over 130 projects were dropped and over 80 new projects added.


Those lists aren't even close to being correct. For example, Clojure was accepted last year and this year. syslog-ng, Python, and X.org were all accepted this year.


Clojure yes. But not a single LISP. 3 ruby, but no perl, no Java, no javascript core.


Mozilla competes with Google in the web browser market and is moving into mobile operating systems. Why would people expect Google to commit resources toward helping them do those things?


They've been sponsoring them for years, they also still sponsor OpenStreetMaps which is a competitor used by bing and apple https://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/org2/google/gsoc2015/ope...

They also sponsor Github and many others.


Better mapping data from OpenStreetMaps can facilitate better data in Google Maps. Maps are still in the data collection phase.The long play is self-driving cars not an app in the app store.

It's hard to see a business case for Google that includes supporting Mozilla. That Google has done it in the past may be more symptomatic of big dumb inertia than anything else.


GSoC isn't something which is done because of an immediate "business case", aside from some long-term industry health stuff that benefits Google (and everyone else in the industry).


Don't assume this is something political. A lot of very good organizations were not accepted this year, Mozilla being one of them.


Don't assume it isn't. In previous years they saw Chrome and Firefox as combined bulwarks against IE's dominance of the browser market.

Now that Chrome dominates and Mozilla is working on a competitor to android, well...


I'm not making political assumptions. I am assuming that businesses act to protect their business interests and that assisting a competitor compete in core markets is not in a company's interests.

I'd be happy to see a business case put forward for Google helping Mozzilla develop a mobile operating system to compete with Android.


I doubt they run any of the GSOC decisions through any sort of business case analysis. $150,000 is tiddlywinks to a corporation that generates billions on a monthly tempo. Hand wavy good feels are plenty enough justification for that level of spending.

(That's a ball park estimate of how much it would cost to fund and administrate several projects)


Your premise that Google contains enough business incompetence in enough of the right places to fund a direct competitor explains why they have funded Mozilla in the past. It doesn't really offer much explanation as to why Google did not fund them this year.

Conversely, even the minimum business process of some VP looking at the list and saying, "We are not going to fund a competitor," Occam Razors this year's events.


Your premise, that the only possible reason to fund a competitor is incompetence, on the other hand, strikes me as absurd.

If they weigh business cases at all, they might have considered the value of goodwill they generate for funding competitors to outweigh any loss(es).

Aside: how does Google benefit from sponsoring Blender3D, in your immediate-profit-driven opinion?


I don't think anyone is claiming that they benefit from sponsoring non-competitors, only that they would suffer a disadvantage from funding a competitor, and that this MAY have weighed into their decision-making.


Google haven't supported a number of major projects this year (including some that they directly benefit from), it's not just Mozilla. One assumes, therefore, that the GSoC management decided that GSoC should support more smaller projects this year.

EDIT: If Google only wanted to fund things that directly benefit them, you'd've thought they'd do just that, none of this faffing about with an application process and only funding student work, no?


My premise is that it is not incompetent to ignore the business impact of GSOC.

If giving $150,000 to Mozilla materially erodes Google's business, giving $150,000 to Mozilla isn't the actual problem.

"Every thing was going fine for us, but then the CEO didn't pick up a penny he saw on the street and the whole thing fell apart."


Looking over who else was not accepted and who was I would guess this more about spreading the love around than blocking out the competition. TFA says Mozilla has been in several times in the past and is encouraged to do so again next year.

I'm pretty sure the bad press generated by Google singling Mozilla out would be far worse than any gain they would get.


> Why would people expect Google to commit resources toward helping them do those things?

Because Google doesn't care how people use the web and they want them to use it as much as possible, whether it's with FF, IE, or Safari.

Once they get to the web they will be using Google products, and that's what they care about.


> Because Google doesn't care how people use the web

What you say matches Google's marketing copy, but the aggressive marketing of Chrome (up to an including shady deals with other software to install Chrome in addition to itself) suggests to me that their marketing copy doesn't match their actual actions (though it may match what some of the engineering team on Chrome _thinks_ is going on).


At the moment they had been (in this context anyway) doing it for a number of years.


I am aware. I read the article.


So did Google suddenly realize they are competing with Firefox? Proof by contradiction says your theory is wrong (true for n=2015, false for n=2014 & earlier)


Reductio ad Absurdum [1] is available for deductive reasoning [2]. The inductive step is available to inductive proofs [3], but the difference between 2014 demonstrates it inapplicability here [via contradiction no less!].

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deductive_reasoning

[3]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematical_induction [3]


honeybadger. doesn't seem like the scope of gsoc.


Linux Foundation and Tor Project were also not accepted.


Nor GNU Octave, but this makes me kind of glad. We have enough donation money to sponsor a student of our own. I think we might do it through the Outreach Programme for Women.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_Open_Source_Software_...


>I think we might do it through the Outreach Programme for Women.

Because nothing says "I'm for gender equality" quite like a "boys not allowed!" sign.


Sigh, this again... I'll reply, against my better judgement.

Boys are plenty allowed everywhere else. They're allowed in GSoC, just as the girls are. However, the gender inequality is already staggering in favour of boys. Having a tiny programme with 40 female students allowed instead of the hundreds (thousands?) of mostly boys in GSoC does not mean that the horrible women are out to destroy all manhood.

Or in the words of HN favourite Julia Evans, "women-only spaces are a hack":

https://medium.com/@b0rk/women-only-spaces-are-a-hack-a548c1...


Before I compose this reply I want to mention that I'm a woman of color in case anybody needs to do a privilege check to see if it's okay for me to speak on this issue or whether it's acceptable to silence me because I'm "obviously" a white cis het male.

>The gender inequality is already staggering in favour of boys.

Serious question: Do you think this is a conscious choice made by those in the tech field?

I ask because my lived experience is different than that, and yes, it's a serious question even though my response may have been flippant above.

>Having a tiny programme with 40 students allowed instead of the hundreds (thousands?) of GSoC does not mean that the horrible women are out to destroy all manhood.

That's not what I said at all. I'm asking why champions of gender equality seem to favor the tactic of exclusion.


> Serious question: Do you think this is a conscious choice made by those in the tech field?

I don't think it's conscious, but I do think it's something that can be consciously averted and I don't think it's okay in 2015 to be ignorant of how aggressively people want to hire people like them. It's not just male/female, it's white/nonwhite, American/non-American. If you have a shop of white American dudes, then virtually everybody, under what I would call "pretty average" management, will be within one step of that.


I don't get why this is being downvoted. There's substantial research to indicate the strong hiring biases at play in standard American hiring practices. Study after study after study. I get why we would all like to think ourselves virtuous. But the problem here isn't a lack of virtue, it's the zillion cognitive biases that creep in unless we take active countermeasures.


> Serious question: Do you think this is a conscious choice made by those in the tech field?

I personally find it to be similar to racism:

- Some are willfully ignorant

- Some don't care and want to keep the status quo

- Some don't care but try to appear to care for social reasons

- Some care, but are quiet for social reasons

- Some would care if they understood

- plus many others, but I think the above are most popular.


(Completely stereotypical middle-aged white dude speaking here; consider my privilege checked.)

> Serious question: Do you think this is a conscious choice made by those in the tech field?

I've always been more inclined to believe what Philip Greenspun wrote a long time ago:

http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science

He's talking about professors, but his point that 'men tend to lack perspective and are unable to step back and ask the question "is this peer group worth impressing?"' still applies. Women are a majority of undergrads now; they're more socially and emotionally mature in the critical late teenage years, and it's starting to show as discrimination fades.

In any case, complaining about a lack of women in tech is an easy way to appear to care about women's pay now, during the "dot-io bubble." Much harder would be looking at actually important fields that are majority-female, e.g. "Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations," "Education, training, and library occupations," and trying to get them to pay better:

http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat09.htm


>I'm asking why champions of gender equality seem to favor the tactic of exclusion.

The link the person you replied to posted seems to explain just that.


The position taken in that link is completely and utterly sexist, and here's why.

There are many in the hacker community with varying forms of social anxiety who are not comfortable around anybody of the opposite sex. Does that mean that segregation for the comfort of everybody is the solution, or the "hack" to get us to a better place? We'll never get to a better place if we exclude those things that make us uncomfortable. I dare you suggest a men-only hacker convention because women make some men feel uncomfortable. Let me know how that goes.

Before it's brought up, yes, we should exclude from our lives things that are dangerous, but just discomfort is a terrible reason to exclude something from your life.


> Serious question: Do you think this is a conscious choice made by those in the tech field?

Why does the fact of it being a conscious choice matter? Institutional discrimination is in fact a thing.


Institutional discrimination is a thing, but segregation (either voluntarily or by force) only makes that problem worse, not better.


At the risk of going all hn on you — citation?


In what way does a program for women to get involved in open-source software even slightly resemble "segregation"?


In these comments I'm specifically addressing the currently "in" movement of having gender segregated events (but apparently only no-men events) as a way to paradoxically increase diversity, not of segregation as a systematic policy of dividing groups as a form of control as in the Jim Crow regime in the American South from Reconstruction through the Civil Rights era. Sorry if that was not clear.


Obviously, if women-only events encourage women to get into the larger tech scene as a whole, then that increases diversity. There's nothing "paradoxical" about it. It's very straightforward.

The idea isn't that we create a bunch of events so that women can program/hack without ever interacting with men. That should be obvious.


As a guy who attended an AdaCamp, which was a women-only main event with a small side event for guys, I say this is horseshit.

For the first time in my life, I was the visible minority at a tech event. And it was fucking intimidating. Even though everybody was perfectly nice and tried to be inclusive, I felt the odd person out.

But despite my personal discomfort, I could see how amazing this event was for the women involved. Suddenly they were in the majority. They felt safe: nobody was going to hit on them, stalk them, or stare awkwardly at their breasts. They were no longer women in tech, they were people in tech talking with other people in tech. From the Ada Initiative's reports and from talking with attendees later, it's clear the events make a huge difference.

After that experience, I am a huge supporter of events that are exclusively for minority groups. I think it's a great way to increase diversity in tech.

Oh, and as to your analogy to Jim Crow: you're trying to frame yourself as a virtuous anti-racist. But by trying to prevent minorities from meeting and organizing, you are replicating the behavior of the white people who helped build and maintain the Jim Crow regime. E.g., the slave patrols, a main job of which was keep blacks from revolting by breaking up meetings.


It doesn't even resemble that in the slightest. Jim Crow was meant to oppress, not empower. That's like saying white pride and black pride are the same thing.

Yeah, your writing is unclear, but that's not why people are disagreeing with you.


> Serious question: Do you think this is a conscious choice made by those in the tech field?

Every time I see people on HN discussing feminism, my answer leans more and more towards, "Yes." Without HN, I would never have realized the sheer depths of the deliberate sexism in tech on top of the unintentional and unconscious bits.

Really, I mostly hope that HN is non-representative.


> Every time I see people on HN discussing feminism, my answer leans more and more towards, "Yes."

Anecdotally speaking I've found HN to be much better than say Reddit or other popular tech communities.


>Serious question: Do you think this is a conscious choice made by those in the tech field?

>I ask because my lived experience is different than that, and yes, it's a serious question even though my response may have been flippant above.

Your anecdote is not data.


> I'm asking why champions of gender equality seem to favor the tactic of exclusion.

b0rk addresses this in the post above.

In the case of GSoC, I expect it's not so much about harrassment but intimidation. When there's nothing but boys doing something, many girls think to themselves, "this is not something a girl like me should be doing."

Btw, why do you consider yourself such a patzer? I do hope it has nothing to do with your gender or skin tone, and that it's just a harmless joke.


>b0rk addresses this in the post above.

And makes a completely sexist hash of it. Just suggest that because there are some male hackers that are uncomfortable around women that there should be man-only events. Let me know how that goes for you.

>When there's nothing but boys doing something, many girls think to themselves, "this is not something a girl like me should be doing."

It's not just boys and men in the tech community, as anybody who would expend five seconds looking at the subject would see. We champion people like Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper.

>Btw, why do you consider yourself such a patzer? I do hope it has nothing to do with your gender or skin tone, and that it's just a harmless joke.

Do me a favor next time you want to make a comment like this - Google the term you're referring to. A patzer is somebody who lacks skill at chess. It's not a racist or sexist term. I just happen to be awful at chess (and much better at Go).


> Just suggest that because there are some male hackers that are uncomfortable around women that there should be man-only events. Let me know how that goes for you.

Either you completely misunderstand the issue and/or this is a straw man. It has nothing to do with comfort. It is the case that, because of institutional discrimination, women have a much higher mountain to climb as it were, to achieve success in the tech field. (If you dispute this, then you'll have to revise your reply to my other comment in which you acknowledge the existence of institutional discrimination.) Outreach to women, in this case, simply works towards helping them up that mountain a bit. The justification for that help is that for women the mountain is in fact higher than for men.

So, yeah, a man-only event doesn't make any sense. If you can demonstrate that men are at a net disadvantage in some way and could use help compared to other groups, then you could justify a man-only event.


>> Just suggest that because there are some male hackers that are uncomfortable around women that there should be man-only events. Let me know how that goes for you.

>Either you completely misunderstand the issue and/or this is a straw man.

It is neither me misunderstanding nor is it a strawman. For context, I'm responding to a post by @b0rk on medium that says, in part:

>If there are no men, nobody can get harassed by men. That’s it. That’s the entire hack. This has the unfortunate side effect of excluding all the delightful and wonderful men who would enrich an event. But it still makes people feel safer, and that’s what we’re trying to do.

>It has nothing to do with comfort. It is the case that, because of institutional discrimination, women have a much higher mountain to climb as it were, to achieve success in the tech field.

Except that this entire line of discussion does have to do with comfort...so I'm confused at to why you put it here (not that it's not worth discussing, mind you).


> A patzer is somebody who lacks skill at chess. It's not a racist or sexist term.

My apologies, I didn't express myself correctly. I know what the term means. It's the self-deprecating nature of it that got me curious. Have you ever felt unsuitable as a chess player because of your sex or skin tone? I didn't really expect you to say so, but I thought the possibility might exist; that you have somehow been excluded from chess by those factors, which could have made you internalise the term "patzer".

Of course, my armchair internet psychonanalysis was completely wrong, which makes me glad, and I feel humbled by you. :-)


>Have you ever felt unsuitable as a chess player because of your sex or skin tone?

No. I've never felt unsuitable as a chess player for any reason. I'm just not good at chess, but that's probably a function of not spending more of my time on it.

I have never seen myself as 'unsuitable' for any task due to who I am. Why would I? It's part of what makes exclusionary outreach programs infuriating to me. Yes, have a fund that tries to encourage engagement of an underrepresented crowd, but don't make it exclusionary to all others. Else the appearance (to me) is that you're saying that the only reason that the underrepresented group could ever make it is at the exclusion of all others.


> Sigh, this again... I'll reply, against my better judgement.

a better judgment was to not bring up a controversial topic,not to bring it up and then not engage with those who are on the opposite side of the controversy.


Have you read the "Parable of the Polygons"[0]?

It completely changed my opinion about positive discrimination.

————

0. http://ncase.me/polygons/


One person's positive discrimination is another person's negative discrimination. Negative discrimination is seen by those its applied to as punishment. In their mind punishing someone for something that they had no hand in is a terrible technique to engineer a society and usually only leads to a backlash.

Further, it's easy to model what society should look like and how it should act by reducing it to mathematical models, but human behavior is not strictly dominated by mathematics.


Personally speaking, as the kind of white guy who, nine years ago or so, should have in theory been being negatively affected by programs like this, I don't find a meaningful dose of negative discrimination in "dudes are welcomed with hugs and handpounds pretty much everywhere, let's make sure there's a place for women too." I respect your stance and your viewpoint, but I think you're worrying about folks who don't need much worrying done on their behalf. We dudes will be just fine without being the implicit focus of every place we go.


>I don't find a meaningful dose of negative discrimination in "dudes are welcomed with hugs and handpounds pretty much everywhere, let's make sure there's a place for women too."

Since things are the way that they are its wonderful that you feel that way. Personally, it smacks as a bit sexist for organizations to say to me 'we created this program to get women into things' because it reads to me like them saying "we created this program to get women into things because they can't hack it any way else". That's how minority outreach programs read to me as a woman of color.

>I respect your stance and your viewpoint, but I think you're worrying about folks who don't need much worrying done on their behalf.

If you've read my posts as "but what about the menz?!" (as I hear often) then I'm afraid that it looks like you're being reductionist. My position on this issue is both a combination of my lived experience having never felt discrimination in the tech community while simultaneously watching several of my equally qualified colleagues be denied opportunity through no fault of their own because somebody thought I deserved a better shot so their percentages looked better.


>it reads to me like them saying "we created this program to get women into things because they can't hack it any way else".

While you might feel that way about it when you see it, it's neither the reason for nor the intent of the groups running the programs. There are a lot of real and ugly issues that exist that keep women (and minorities) out of the tech industry and push them out that have nothing to do with the qualifications or abilities of anyone.

Trying to increase opportunity to help balance the actual institutional sexism, racism, unconscious biases, hostile environments, and other factors that keep valid candidates out of tech isn't sexist or racist, they are an effort to counter the effects of sexism and racism and bring more people in who are just as qualified, capable, and talented but who despite those factors have added barriers to entry and added pressures to push them out. Those core problems can't really be addressed until there's enough diversity.


> Personally, it smacks as a bit sexist for organizations to say to me 'we created this program to get women into things' because it reads to me like them saying "we created this program to get women into things because they can't hack it any way else". That's how minority outreach programs read to me as a woman of color.

First off:

"because they (Women)" can't hack it any way else" puts the blame on the wrong party.

The fault is that of society, not of Women.

It reminds me of how a family member blamed me for the problems that arose my current relationship with a black woman.

"Didn't you think of how getting in a relationship with a black girl would affect your family?"

At first I wondered if this was a valid viewpoint, but I quickly realized that the blame was pushed to the wrong party. It wasn't my fault that the family member had a network of (consciously and unconsciously) racist people they called their friends.

So all fault is that of the sexist, racist, homgeneous reality of the tech community that exists now.

Women (even moreso Women of Color) "can't hack it like a white male would".

Technically speaking, any woman can "hack it" just as much as any man could or more. Sadly I've found that getting jobs is very little to do with technical aptitude these days however. It's more about people thinking they'll communicate well with you (looking like them makes them think this), that you'll share their ideals to some extent (they think looking like them means this), you'll be technically adept (looking like them is of course a plus), and get along well with the other colleagues (looking like them is a plus).

I'm sure you've heard the term "work twice as hard to get half as far before". Well these events exist to try and redefine that to "work twice as hard to get just as far", then maybe even eventually "work 1.5x as hard to get just as far".

> My position on this issue is both a combination of my lived experience having never felt discrimination in the tech community

There is possibly colorism at play here too, at least anecdotally speaking my Biracial friends seem to corroborate your viewpoint of "never felt discrimination".

I've personally witnessed discrimination and racism in most of the places I've worked, but just as much I've seen sexism.


> My position on this issue is both a combination of my lived experience having never felt discrimination in the tech community

So something that just happened, I was looking through local meetups and the second picture was a white dude with a HUGE oversized afro and headphones on... if you came upon this wouldn't you find it a little unwelcoming?

I know I personally do.


> That's how minority outreach programs read to me as a woman of color.

I am 100% hearing you, and I understand how you get to that position. Here's where my head's at: if, as a culture, we think that diversity of self, thought, and action matter, then we have two options. One, which I think is relying on the better angels of natures that haven't proven to have them, is a sea change of culture where the usual bullshit is not tolerated, the casual sexism that I've heard (and objected to, and become the No Fun Guy for) amongst just-us-guys is stamped out. The other is to facilitate a demographic shift, to offer early, supportive services (I mean, even internship programs are fairly introductory). I tend to see these programs as doing the latter towards a goal I find to be a net positive and, additionally, beneficial to me, in the long run. I understand the potentially problematic nature of such programs and I think it's important for folks to keep those potential issues in mind, but I disagree with you in calling these programs, the ones that I am personally aware of, problematic in that way.

> If you've read my posts as "but what about the menz?!" (as I hear often) then I'm afraid that it looks like you're being reductionist.

That wasn't my read, and "worrying" was flip, I apologize. Let me try again: I come at solving social issues from an economic point of view; while it's not zero-sum, something's got to give to get things moving and to make the multipliers work. In the aggregate, I find it very unlikely that white dudes are going to have problems finding opportunities. And so, I, personally, am okay with making that trade and theoretically (but, I continue to think, probably not really) causing low-level harm to a few folks in a privileged position in the pursuit of a better end state for everyone.

And I respect that you haven't felt discrimination in the tech community. I'm glad you've had better experiences than the folks I know, and whose experiences have soured me on a lot of what I see as the insular nature of tech. In particular I am thinking of two of my dearest friends, two of the most level-headed people I know, who exited stage right because the trouble of being a visible member of outgroups wasn't worth the benefits of working in tech. That irks the shit out of me, and I want it to stop. (It's with this in mind that I try to put into practice what I say, and a major red flag for me is a homogeneous development group. I want to work with people unlike me, because in the long run it's better for me, too.)

> several of my equally qualified colleagues be denied opportunity through no fault of their own because somebody thought I deserved a better shot so their percentages looked better

Can I flip this around for a second? Because I don't think these feelings are restricted to a single "side" of anything. I've seen candidates lose out because they're not enough like the pack of white dudes doing the hiring decisions, too, and I'm certain I've benefitted from those same things too. You don't want to benefit unduly, and I respect that. But neither do I, you know?


Also, @patzerhacker, I'd be interested in talking about this offline if you're up for it (there's no email in your profile). My user page has the usual ways to get in touch.


I was a white guy who was (mildly) negatively affected by affirmative action in high school, and only by luck wasn't more strongly affected.

Way back when, I'd applied for a position at a local university's geek-kids summer programme (I'm keeping this as non-specific as possible). I never heard back from them with an acceptance or rejection, until days before the programme started. 'You're in,' they said, and so my folks had to scramble to readjust our summer plans, arrange their finances to cover the program and so forth. Not really a big deal, but a bit of a nuisance.

What's the affirmative-action angle? Well, it turns out that I'd been on the alternates list because I'm a white guy, and the programme wanted more girls and non-whites. One of the accepted folks had cancelled, and so I got a spot after all.

It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that this programme changed my life. It opened my eyes to what eventually became my career. It exposed me to other high-schoolers like me. It made me friends I still have today. It still stands as one of my most formative experiences.

Now, in this programme there were some students who clearly didn't belong. They were fundamentally unprepared (i.e., they had never been taught the fundamentals of the material). They didn't understand the material. They cried because they were failing what was for everyone else and easy pass (literally, as in not even bothering to worry). They held the entire class back because the professors had to spend so much time trying—and, mostly, failing—to explain basic concepts to them. The programme was a waste of their time: they learned little, if anything, and had an utterly miserable experience.

They were, of course, uniformly non-white, non-Asian girls.

I'll pause here to note that none of this is an attack on those students qua people. I'm sure that they were perfectly good people, but they had no business at a university geek-kid programme.

I'll also note that there were plenty of young women in the programme who were quite capable and intelligent and did just as well as the young men. The poor students weren't poor students because they were female, or because they were non-white, but because they were unintelligent and/or uneducated.

Now, each spot once of those poor students occupied was a spot which could have been occupied by an excellent student. Each of those spots represented a young life which wasn't changed like mine was. Which of those students, unaccepted because of their gender or colour, dropped out of high school, never applied to college, committed suicide or majored in some non-technical field? How dare anyone think that's right?

So no, I don't think 'we dudes will be just fine.'


> They were, of course, uniformly non-white, non-Asian girls.

> The poor students weren't poor students because they were female, or because they were non-white, but because they were unintelligent and/or uneducated.

And why is that? If you reject the absurd notion that there's some causative relationship between technical ability/intellect and gender/race, what's the explanation, other than the possibility that those people didn't have the same exposure to the subjects that you did? And that's not even including the confidence factor: Of course a white dude can do this stuff, they do it all the time. Your story seems to suggest we should actually be doing this long before university. I would agree with that.

This part will probably be unpopular, but I'll say it anyway: What makes you so special, that your life is the one that gets to be changed? If we were all on equal footing, who says you're even good enough for your university geek-kid program anyway? Or me, for that matter - I was part of a similar program in high school[1]. What if we could be fifty years ahead of where we are now, if only we had an environment that was actually competitive across the whole breadth of our society, rather than jokers like you and me running the ship?

[1] http://www.usfirst.org/


> If you reject the absurd notion that there's some causative relationship between technical ability/intellect and gender/race, what's the explanation, other than the possibility that those people didn't have the same exposure to the subjects that you did?

For purposes of admitting students to special programmes, who cares? The only thing the admissions staff should have considered was admitting the most qualified applicants to the programme.

And anyway, you're ignoring the fact that intelligence is in part hereditary. It's not those students' fault that they had poor intelligence any more than it's my fault that I make a poor athlete; admitting them to a competitive academic programme was as foolish as admitting me to the Olympics.

> What makes you so special, that your life is the one that gets to be changed?

I was better-suited to that program that the ill-suited students admitted ahead of me were.

> If we were all on equal footing, who says you're even good enough for your university geek-kid program anyway?

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Maybe some of those ill-suited students were more innately intelligent than those who were unfairly rejected, and had simply had poor upbringings, but that doesn't matter: they were, at the point of admission, profoundly less-qualified than the rejectees.

And what was the point of admitting them in the first place? They were not helped by it: they had a horrible experience of unmitigated humiliation and failure. They didn't benefit, and others suffered.

All you can do is take everyone on his own merits, as he is. It doesn't matter what sex or colour someone is: if he's the best candidate, take him for the job or the codeathon or whatever; if not, don't.

> What if we could be fifty years ahead of where we are now, if only we had an environment that was actually competitive across the whole breadth of our society, rather than jokers like you and me running the ship?


> It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that this programme changed my life. It opened my eyes to what eventually became my career. It exposed me to other high-schoolers like me. It made me friends I still have today. It still stands as one of my most formative experiences.

The difference being that even if you had missed out on this one, you would have most likely had quite a few more as a white guy.

> Now, each spot once of those poor students occupied was a spot which could have been occupied by an excellent student.

Excellent student? Someone could be an excellent student that's never done simple addition before and look horrible in an algebra class because of that fundamental education not being there.

> The poor students weren't poor students because they were female, or because they were non-white, but because they were unintelligent and/or uneducated.

I find it interesting that you put unintelligent before uneducated, you might want to self-examine and see if you hold some prejudices. I've found that it's almost always lack of education and/or lack of opportunity creating the environment you've described.

> Each of those spots represented a young life which wasn't changed like mine was. Which of those students, unaccepted because of their gender or colour, dropped out of high school, never applied to college, committed suicide or majored in some non-technical field? How dare anyone think that's right?

You're right. See the thing is, for every white male/female that this happened to it happens disproportionately more to women, people of color , and women of color increasingly in that order.


> I find it interesting that you put unintelligent before uneducated, you might want to self-examine and see if you hold some prejudices.

What are you going on about? They didn't understand the material: either they were intelligent enough to understand it, but had been insufficiently educated, or they were unintelligent enough to understand it, and no amount of education would have helped. Regardless, they had no business being there.

> I've found that it's almost always lack of education and/or lack of opportunity creating the environment you've described.

Sure, but that's irrelevant: they should never have been admitted to the programme. They slowed down the rest of the class; they took places which could have been taken by others; they had a miserable time and hated the experience. Others were worse off; they were worse off. It was a lose-lose situation for everyone.

> See the thing is, for every white male/female that this happened to it happens disproportionately more to women, people of color , and women of color increasingly in that order.

So? The only fair thing is to do one's best to take everyone on his own merits. Those poor students should have been taken on their own merits, and not admitted; the students who were unfairly rejected should have been taken on their merits, and admitted.

Only an idiot would give me a slot on a professional football team in order to make up for my lack of sports privilege; only an idiot would admit an unqualified student to make up for his lack of privilege.


Personally speaking, as the kind of black woman who, nine years ago or so, should have in theory been being negatively affected by male culture like this, I don't find a meaningful dose of negative discrimination in "women are welcomed with hugs and handpounds pretty much everywhere, let's make sure there's a place for men too." I respect your stance and your viewpoint, but I think you're worrying about folks who don't need much worrying done on their behalf. We women will be just fine without being the implicit focus of every place we go.

See how that sounds.

EDIT: Please, kindly, don't speak for the entirety of your gender. Nor for the opposite gender. Don't speak in absolutes, just speak for yourself, thanks.


I'll pretend you're not being disingenuous, because good gravy only one of us is saying things reflective of reality and you tipped your hand real hard, and point out the obvious: I'm not speaking for the "entirety of my gender." I'm speaking for me. And I'm saying that we have everything and that people like me can stand to give a little because we're certainly not going to be materially hurt by it.

And y'know? You can disagree with that all you want. I think you're wrong, and I think spinning up a new account to say something you fear is unpopular (but, let's not front, is so openly accepted here that I've exchanged some disappointed emails with dang) is real shitty, but you can disagree and I never said I spoke for you. You can hang yourself by your own words without my help.


Just to be completely honest and because I dislike mudding another person's opinion/posts/reputation, I am not a throwaway account made by the person you were originally replying to and I have nothing to do with that person. You can personally not believe this, a mod could verify it if it were that important, however please don't take it as such.

I think we all know why I made a throwaway account and why unpopular opinions are hard to express on a non-throwaway one.

I'm all for helping unprivileged classes and people, however there have been a lot of very dangerous thinking where privileged classes end up being discriminated in the first place. As the grandparent was stating, exclusion and segregation is not a solution for the 'privilege wars', we should be working towards inclusion and acceptance and not by forcing it by banning specific classes of privileged people. The privileged of today will be the unprivileged of tomorrow and nothing would have been solved, and I see this line of reasoning way too much to be comfortable.

Speaking as a so-called privileged person myself, I am all for acceptance and inclusion of those less fortunate than me, but let's not turn this into an unnecessary war of the least privileged.


> Speaking as a so-called privileged person myself,

Wait didn't you say you were a black woman? Why do you call yourself a "so-called privileged person"?


I didn't think you were patzerhacker. I don't agree with patzerhacker, but I think she's honest with her thoughts and feelings. I don't think the same of you. Men of today will not be the unprivileged of tomorrow by a few people saying "you know, it's probably not a bad idea to have a few places where it's not automatically expected that you're a man or you're The Other." Your post is the same kind of reductionist zero-sum crap that ruins everything it touches, and I wish you would stop hurting people in a worse position than you are with it.

And I've never, not once, had a problem with expressing unpopular opinions without a green username. See? Look elsewhere in this thread. Oh no. Somebody downvoted me for having the temerity to think bias exists. My life is now so hard.

Grow up.


I wish I could just read it instead of interacting with it.

Thanks for the link. I'll spend some time with it later. I did not understand their thesis from skimming the page.


Do you mind if I pick your brain? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts (more than just what you disagree with) and why.

E.g. Do you think institutional discrimination exists? Do you think it affects some but not others? Do you think these types of programs help minorities? Do you think they actually hurt minorities? Do you think these programs don't have any effect except to offend minorities? Do you think these programs help some and hurt others? If institutional discrimination exists, should we encourage minorities to integrate with the rest rather than segregate? Should we fight the subconscious component with awareness rather than affirmative action? Should we do nothing?

(I'm not trying to be combative.)


Interesting to see the XMPP foundation and Pidgin on the list in the light of Gtalk shutdown.


What they did was discontinue support for their old desktop client. Third party clients still use XMPP to connect with Hangouts. More on the subject could be read here: http://xmpp.org/2015/03/no-its-not-the-end-of-xmpp-for-googl...


If you read that blog post fully, it says that you can't connect to Hangouts with XMPP. See also: https://developers.google.com/talk/

"We announced a new communications product, Hangouts, in May 2013. Hangouts will replace Google Talk and does not support XMPP."

You can still connect to Google Talk (not Hangouts) with a third-party client, but Google has not kept up with developments in the standard (particularly the requirement for server-to-server encryption) and is no longer interoperable with most other providers.


Apologies for merging the two in my head. However, as of now, you can still connect to Google Talk and the shutdown that was mentioned did not affect third party clients. The conclusion is that XMPP is still used at Google to some extent (although there is no way of telling how well or how long it will be used and supported in the future, but that is beside the point).


Neither was Blender, after 10 years in the program.


Nor was OGRE, for the second time running. Haskell made it in, though.


I saw perl6 was not accepted too.


Nor Apertium, after taking part since 2009


Google no longer supports Mozilla in any way.


So much for "Don't be evil." That motto's out the door.

But on the other hand, this might quite exciting. More companies will now compete in the "don't be evil" space. And Mozilla can pick up the baton.


Apparently, not directly funding a direct competitor is now seen as "evil".

We're really letting the definition of that word slip, yknow? It used to be you had to actually hurt people some way before that label could apply, now I'm seeing it applied to the layout of UI elements on a screen.


I keep getting downvoted, which is why I'll reply:

I never knew that google funded summer interns to work on other's projects. Now that I know, it shines a different light.

I always thought that SoC program was a platform to encourage young coders of great feats to apply. Isolating any one company from providing work to young engineers on such a platform is not exactly fair, especially once it has been established and continues to be a center of attention.

But if it is a paid program from Google, I have mixed feelings at Mozilla being eliminated.


Why exactly would google view mozilla as a business competitor?


Because they are in direct competition for a product generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year?


+1


On the upside there will be less of JavaScript-your-only-best-choice type of pushing they are famous for.


This comment confuses me. They're currently in the process of building a new systems programming language (http://www.rust-lang.org/) with which to build the next version of Firefox.




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