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Linux, Unix, and *nix like Operating Systems Forum

The *nix gender gap, why?

 1:31 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

I know there are women into the nix's, but the ratio must be 500/1. So, why is it this way?



 2:48 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)


Politically correct or not, men are risk-takers. We leave the tribe and set out on our own much
more readily that women. Undoubtedly goes back to cave-man days and well beyond... That's why
our car insurance rates are higher, we die young in larger numbers, get arrested for breaking the
law, and often prefer to fight rather than to compromise. It's genetic, it's hormonal.

That said, I love women who can shoot, drive fast, change a tire, write code, and dual-boot to
Linux :)



 1:41 pm on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

*nix systems are most often used by people who are trying to understand how computers work. Windows is most often used by people who don't care how it works and like to have what everybody else has. Macs are most often used by people who don't want to know how they work, but like to do things differently. Of course I'm generalizing a lot here, but I believe that those basic assumptions correlate well with reality (the members of this board don't reflect the general population).

Looking at the women I know who do care about how computers work, pretty much all of them prefer *nix and run/administrate it themselves. Of course, traditionally, women were discouraged from developing interest in technology at all, so my examples might be the exception. But I don't think that the male/female rate between *nix users is any different to the male/female rate between educated computer users in general.

The real question would be, why is it still such a small fraction of females that get interested in technology?


 2:02 pm on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey...new marketing idea for linux : "Are you still using them girly computers?"

Seriously, linux is a bit schizo, it seems that the folks who contribute and make it happen also want to keep it close to the vest. There is way to much techno jargon to wade through, "compile the binaries" will stop even the most brazen of "risk takers".

I've said it before, I'll say it again, AOL needs to distribute the OS on their CDs. Just strip out all the non-consumer stuff and install a nice desktop with icons. They already have the "update agent" stuff down cold.

AOL/Linux would provide the comfort level needed by most consumers (even the gals). ;)


 5:31 am on Aug 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think some of it has to do with what you started with and why. I used Windows because most of the software I used all the time was most readily available for that platform, though most people in "my" line of work use Macs. At the time, Windows allowed me to do the artsy stuff and then write code without missing a beat. Being inherently lazy, I just went with it.

Now, with two men in the house (Mr. Iditogirl and Techno Son Of Idiotgirl), I also have a Linux box at my disposal. Can't say I like to open the case or install a danged thing, but I can appreciate it for what it can do. However, I'm still stuck doing artsy stuff too much of the time to really put the pedal to the floor on the Linux box and see what it can really do.

Other than that - I did race cars in road rallies, replaced starters in the pouring rain kinda deals (more than once), painted cars, silversmithed, built furniture, sew... and wear spurs in my off time. I'd say I'm wild and woolly enough for Linux, just don't have enough free time yet. And I bet there's a lot of other gals that would say that's the same reason they haven't switched.


 12:45 am on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I actually don't know any girl that's interested in computers beyond simple use of available apps and such.

I started with Mandrake and I think most people will really like Linux if their first one is Mandrake, RedHat, SuSe or other GUI oriented one.

idiotgirl: I once opened up my CD-ROM because it couldn't read the CDs and it was Friday evening and I just couldn't wait till Monday to get it fixed - the funny thing is I really fixed it ;-)


 1:07 am on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

>women who can shoot, drive fast, change a tire, write code, and dual-boot to Linux

Sounds like my daughter, who was a *nix network admin for volunteer organization while in Texas, can put a computer together with just the bare components and no book, and can do anything windows, including having done tech support and consulting. But she was raised right. She spent her pre-school years on my lap in the computer lab at LA Valley College and at 2 sat down in the grease at my brothers auto shop in the dress I made her and picked up a screw driver to help him fix a car.

A big part of our handicap comes from the fact that men treat us differently than they treat males. A lot is conditioning, the degradation that comes from men discrediting us and treating us as inferior beings.


 1:23 am on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

"A big part of our handicap comes from the fact that men treat us differently than they treat males."

They probably learned that from mom.


 1:59 am on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

This thread is on a topic that could easily slip into a "gender battle" garbage heap -- lets avoid that and stay on topic please.

Any female *nix users out there? If so I'd like to get your take on the subject.

Also, do you all think that *nix stuff is still perceived as being part of the "pocket protector" culture?


 2:34 am on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I don't think it's part of the pocket protector culture by a long shot. Most people on this board are peripherally familiar with Linux, and understand its potential. But I believe one of the valid reasons men outnumber women as users is that the majority of women didn't start out as techs, are more comfortable on Win & Macs, and just haven't had the opportunity (time) to switch over. Alot of the apps the women familiar with using those OS's weren't previously available for Linux. As that changes, I'm sure there'll be a steady upswing of female users. As I said, *I* have a Linux machine to use - but have not used it anywhere near the amount of time as my Win machine, nor am I yet as comfortable with it.

Someone donate to me the full Abobe suite for Linux and we can all meet for coffee...


 3:24 am on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I find myself with both too little hardware and too little free time to bother learning a new OS when the OS I do use allows me to do everything I need to do.

OTOH, before you lump me in with women who are just interested in getting stuff done/what software is available, who don't care how stuff works: if a computer needs upgrading or repairing, or a car part needs replacing, I'll do it myself, thankyouverymuch. ;)

If I worked at home, and could afford a second machine, I might take the time to set up a linux box, and teach myself how to properly administer a web server... that would be a very useful set of skills to have.

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