Ada Lovelace Day 2010
Today is Ada Lovelace Day, “an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science”. By participating in this event, and blogging about women in these fields, my hopes are:
- to credit individual women for their achievements, which are often undervalued (both by others and by the women themselves)
- to raise awareness of the presence of women in technical fields, who are often presumed to be few or nonexistent, or only included by association with a man
- to remind men in technical communities that women are unquestionably capable of high achievement, and deserving of professional respect in their fields of excellence
For Ada Lovelace Day 2010, I would like to honor two women in the free software community who have made a strong impression on me in the past year: Akkana Peck and Miriam Ruiz.
I became aware of Akkana’s work through Planet Ubuntu Women, which is something of a year-round Ada Lovelace Day as it aggregates the blogs of many of the women of the Ubuntu community. As a senior engineer at Netscape, Akkana was instrumental in the development of the Linux port of Mozilla. Having developed a number of extensions to the GIMP, she went on to write the book on using it as well.
I met Miriam through the Debian Women project. Her profile there seems to be out of date, as it says she is not an official Debian developer yet, but she was officially recognized over two years ago as a trusted member of the team, through Debian’s notoriously thorough New Maintainer process. Miriam has been particularly interested in game development, and as the founder of the Debian Games Team has been responsible for uncountable hours of pleasant distraction for Debian users and developers. Thanks to her leadership, the Debian Games team has been exemplary in terms of cross-participation between Debian and Ubuntu.