This has nothing to do with Linux or Open Source

Story: So, about this Googler’s manifestoTotal Replies: 7
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Aug 11, 2017
9:26 PM EDT
And it's just asking for a political flame thread. It should probably be removed from the newswire. Besides, it's already been covered ad nauseam elsewhere.

Aug 12, 2017
1:24 AM EDT
it has to do with women in IT, which we have discussed here before.

i chose this particular piece because not because of its criticism of the manifesto but because it illustrates why we need women in IT.

for the manifesto itself, i do not agree with the criticism that it receives here. in fact, when i read the manifesto, i could not understand what the fuss is all about. i can't see much wrong with it, except its conclusion. the same conclusion that some people draw here on LXer, namely that women don't want to go into IT because they are not predisposed to, and that any action to change would be wrong.

for anyone wondering why the guy was fired, here is a good explanation: google effectively had no choice.

the above piece says as much. he would have him fired too. but again, after reading the manifesto, i don't agree with that.

here are a few more opinions that treat the manifesto more fairly:

note that all of the linked responses agree that there are differences between gender. so this claim isn't being criticized.

i'd also argue that for the question of whether women should be in IT or not, it is quite irrelevant where the difference is biological or through socialization. it does not matter. because regardless of where they come from, we need those female qualities in IT, and in Free Software and Open Source.

the posted article gives a good explanation why.

again, i do not want to discuss the manifesto itself. which is why i didn't link to it directly.

i want to discuss why we need women in Free Software and Open Source.

Quoting:2. What I am is an engineer, and I was rather surprised that anyone has managed to make it this far without understanding some very basic points about what the job is. The manifesto talks about making “software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration” but that this is fundamentally limited by “how people-oriented certain roles and Google can be;” and even more surprisingly, it has an entire section titled “de-emphasize empathy,” as one of the proposed solutions.

People who haven’t done engineering, or people who have done just the basics, sometimes think that what engineering looks like is sitting at your computer and hyper-optimizing an inner loop, or cleaning up a class API. We’ve all done this kind of thing, and for many of us (including me) it’s tremendous fun. And when you’re at the novice stages of engineering, this is the large bulk of your work: something straightforward and bounded which can be done right or wrong, and where you can hone your basic skills.

But it’s not a coincidence that job titles at Google switch from numbers to words at a certain point. That’s precisely the point at which you have, in a way, completed your first apprenticeship: you can operate independently without close supervision. And this is the point where you start doing real engineering.

Engineering is not the art of building devices; it’s the art of fixing problems. Devices are a means, not an end. Fixing problems means first of all understanding them — and since the whole purpose of the things we do is to fix problems in the outside world, problems involving people, that means that understanding people, and the ways in which they will interact with your system, is fundamental to every step of building a system. (This is so key that we have a bunch of entire job ladders — PM’s and UX’ers and so on — who have done nothing but specialize in those problems. But the presence of specialists doesn’t mean engineers are off the hook; far from it. Engineering leaders absolutely need to understand product deeply; it’s a core job requirement.)

And once you’ve understood the system, and worked out what has to be built, do you retreat to a cave and start writing code? If you’re a hobbyist, yes. If you’re a professional, especially one working on systems that can use terms like “planet-scale” and “carrier-class” without the slightest exaggeration, then you’ll quickly find that the large bulk of your job is about coordinating and cooperating with other groups. It’s about making sure you’re all building one system, instead of twenty different ones; about making sure that dependencies and risks are managed, about designing the right modularity boundaries that make it easy to continue to innovate in the future, about preemptively managing the sorts of dangers that teams like SRE, Security, Privacy, and Abuse are the experts in catching before they turn your project into rubble.

Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and empathy for both your colleagues and your customers. If someone told you that engineering was a field where you could get away with not dealing with people or feelings, then I’m very sorry to tell you that you have been lied to. Solitary work is something that only happens at the most junior levels, and even then it’s only possible because someone senior to you — most likely your manager — has been putting in long hours to build up the social structures in your group that let you focus on code.

All of these traits which the manifesto described as “female” are the core traits which make someone successful at engineering. Anyone can learn how to write code; hell, by the time someone reaches L7 or so, it’s expected that they have an essentially complete mastery of technique. The truly hard parts about this job are knowing which code to write, building the clear plan of what has to be done in order to achieve which goal, and building the consensus required to make that happen.

All of which is why the conclusions of this manifesto are precisely backwards. It’s true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to people’s emotional needs and so on — this is something that makes them better engineers, not worse ones. It’s a skillset that I did not start out with, and have had to learn through years upon years of grueling work. (And I should add that I’m very much an introvert; if you had asked me twenty years ago if I were suited to dealing with complex interpersonal issues day-to-day, I would have looked at you like you were mad.) But I learned it because it’s the heart of the job, and because it turns out that this is where the most extraordinary challenges and worthwhile results happen.

there are also some interesting thoughts in the comments:

Quoting:Lunch discussions at the now almost forgotten Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) used to be filled with questions like: “How can we use computers to improve people’s lives?” and “How will people use computers in 20 years?” But, many of my lunches during 8.5+ years at Google were spent talking about the relative merits of C++, Java or Python, how to write tough interview questions, or the merits of “agile” programming methods. I used to be in a business where everyone talked about “why” we were here. More recently, the talk has been largely about “how” we do what we do.

(replace business with Free Software and Open Source:)

Quoting:The challenge for the software business isn’t to convince women to get back in the business. The challenge is to move the business beyond its current adolescent, macho fixations and build a healthier, more mature business that better balances insight and craft.

i have experienced this forum as a place where this topic has been discussed fairly and without insult. i hope this trend continues and i look forward to a fruitful discussion.

greetings, eMBee.

Aug 12, 2017
5:41 AM EDT
There is a lot of babbling about this subject, but I have to say: it has EVERYTHING to do with FOSS. It's about pushing a flawed ideology onto a community (I quote, because I could not have put it together better myself):

"If different groups have minds that are precisely equivalent in every respect, then those minds are functionally interchangeable, and diversity would be irrelevant to corporate competitiveness. For example, take sex differences. The usual rationale for gender diversity in corporate teams is that a balanced, 50/50 sex ratio will keep a team from being dominated by either masculine or feminine styles of thinking, feeling, and communicating. Each sex will counter-balance the other’s quirks. (That makes sense to me, by the way, and is one reason why evolutionary psychologists often value gender diversity in research teams.) But if there are no sex differences in these psychological quirks, counter-balancing would be irrelevant. A 100% female team would function exactly the same as a 50/50 team, which would function the same as a 100% male team. If men are no different from women, then the sex ratio in a team doesn’t matter at any rational business level, and there is no reason to promote gender diversity as a competitive advantage".

So either you accept that sexes are different and have different qualities OR you can safely discard "diversity" as a concept.

If we do the former, we have to accept we will never achieve this magic "50/50" ratio, if we do the latter, it burns down to the same thing.

If I learned one thing during my biology study it was that mother nature doesn't care about justice or ideology. It is a shrewd, wasteful shrew that cares about only one thing: does it work. Given that the human species is sexually dimorphic I think it's unlikely that this ideology has a chance of proving itself on the long run. If we were dogs or horses, maybe. But humans, nah...

Note that this witch hunt is not new. I remember that I had lectures that were very hush-hush, because they were not "politically correct". Scientists who publish on controversial subjects are condemned even before any research on the merits of their findings can be done. In the Netherlands we had a scandal on that years ago (you may have to machine-translate it from Dutch

What particularly BOTHERS me is this ideology, that was FORCED upon our community may drive us apart. I, for one, do not financially support any FOSS project with a "reach out" program anymore after the Gnome scandal. I don't give money for a pursuing a political ideal, I want to support free software. I might support such a program if "Dr. Dobbs" (it's dead I know - highly unfortunate) outsells "Vogue" in the female demographic and "Women garage" is the highest rated show on TLC.

And while people are whining "we're losing precious resources when we don't include women", they seem to be perfectly happy to discard half the population who do not support their ideology.

Anybody can start a project at Github. You don't even have to disclose your gender. You can wipe any monkey from the earth who even gives you a false stare at your forum. Any women has the same chances as the guys in that regard. Still, of the over 20,000 single developer projects, only 5% tops is woman. It may be wise to close with a statement of feminist Camila Paglia, who stated "women should not depend on the help of men to achieve what they want to achieve". So girls, it's your problem. Start coding.

Aug 12, 2017
7:19 AM EDT
> i chose this particular piece because not because of its criticism of the manifesto but because it illustrates why we need women in IT.

OK, flame on it is.

It's the ramblings of a relatively intelligent man so blinded by is ideology that he can't compose a coherent argument.

Read the comments. All of them in favor of his statement are either blind repeats of the same garbage he's spewing or thanks for saying what they were even too more incoherent to say. The only reasoned arguments point out that he has no idea what he's talking.about or that he's lying through his teeth about what he wants and why he wants it (see the Beez's comments above). My lone comment pointed out that his statement merely demonstrates that he has absolutely none of the empathy he claims to value, as he has no understanding of Damore or why he wrote his memo.

LX'er isn't the place for these discussions, which almost always divide cleanly along political (the Ctrl-Left which now runs most of the leftist parties versus the Alt-Right movement on the right) lines. But if you want to destroy the forums, be my guest.

Now, if you want to discuss whether Damore should have been fired for his memo, that at least touches on free speech, which hopefully we can all agree is part of the framework required for free software.

Google had to choose between a loyal and honest employee who sincerely wanted the best for the company (regardless of whether his comments were wise or not) or a bunch of non productive, prima donna, rainbow haired twits. They chose, poorly. Now they can watch as the majority of their productive employees (who do value an open and ideologically diverse environment) leave the company for places where their contributions are actually appreciated. It'll take years, but this marks the beginning of the end of the Google era. They just put a gun to their head and pulled the trigger.

Breitbart has a series of interviews with Google employees on their site. They're worth reading:

There are also a long series of discussions of the matter at Vox Day's blog, where I'm also a regular:poster

Though given Google's actions in this case, who knows how long the blog will be at that location.

Aug 12, 2017
9:54 AM EDT

Camilla Paglia is one of my favorite philosophical writers.


There's simply no way to force humans into a monolithic philosophical position. Society simply will not accept whatever some "smart" people believe is the answer to "fairness" ... It's just not going to happen. In most cases where totalitarian governments have tried to stamp out dissent, society rebells and diverges from the regime ideals when the regime crumbles. It happens in every case... when the control system is removed, people do what they do and the diaspora of thought ensues.

Make no mistake about the Google decision, it's the enforcement of idealogical monoculture through a corporate totalitarian police state. If that is what is desired, then I would not be surprised at all if corporate failure occurs relatively rapidly as workers abandon the job and customers abandon the products.

There's a point where a certain amount of pragmatism is required. The question should never be: "Is society fair?" ... it should rather be: "Is society fair enough?"

This is not the same as the statement: "You can't please everyone."

Rather, it is a statement of averaged societal respect for others.


It's unclear what might be an "appropriate" web location to discuss controversial issues. There are certainly other forums which may be titled more appropriately, but then the commenters in those forums tend to be single sided. It's always a good idea to attempt to read the other side and then try to communicate... It's debatable whether or not such debate is fruitful, but I would like to believe that shifts occur and we, as a society, may have more common ground then it appears at first glance.

Aug 12, 2017
5:25 PM EDT
I'm about to stop visiting here, because I am sooooooo tired of seeing all the posts on this subject now.

Aug 12, 2017
5:37 PM EDT
The subject is definitely as dead as Jud Fry:

"... but it's summer and we're running out of ice."

:-) Coveffe anyone? ;-)

Change of subject... a long time ago I ordered a Pocket Chip computer. It was delivered sometime ago as well... I'm finally getting around to playing with it. I'll post a review here.

Aug 12, 2017
6:00 PM EDT
Thank you, for the subject change .dotmatrix!

I look forward to reading your review of the Pocket Chip.

I just finished setting up a box for a client starting a new carpet cleaning business. He loves Linux, but needed QuickBooks (didn't want the cloud version with subscription - just the pay-once desktop version).

So, I setup a Core i3 with 12GB RAM and 1TB HD with Linux Mint MATE and 3 VMs...

1 VM with a clean Windows 7 Pro installation. 1 VM with a clean W7Pro and clean QuickBooks installation (no customizations) and 1 VM clone of the 2nd one, that he can use for setup.

I reminded him that Win7 will stop receiving support from MS in 2 years, but he didn't care - he hates Win8 and 10.

And yes, I told him about TurboCash - which supports Linux natively.

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