Feeds

Nut launches death threats at Debian women

'You're killing freesource'

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Exclusive Women working on Debian have been getting death threats from a nut job who believes they're killing free software.

A poll by new project leader Steve McIntyre into whether people are happy on Debian revealed one female coder had been getting the threats as thanks for her hard work.

Further daggering soon revealed she was not alone.

McIntyre told The Reg: "I have since discovered that several of our female developers and documenters were threatened. It was some kook in the US who made quite a name from himself harassing women for supposedly destroying the free software movement."

In an email to the Debian community McIntyre promised to "track down and deal with the perpetrators" in future incidents. He told The Reg the women pledged to stand together and not to be intimidated. Which is good, "because we want more women to be involved in open source," he said.

This is not the first time the fringe elements of the open source movement have revealed their taste for intolerance and juvenile attacks. Blogger and author Kathy Sierra quit blogging and canceled a planned appearance at a Tim O'Reilly conference last year after she received death threats.

Turning to Debian, McIntyre told the community: "Many of our developers are used to strong discussions and technical arguments in the course of Debian and free software development, but I was shocked to hear that one of our community has been the target of death threats as a thank-you for her work."

Overall, the survey of the Debian community found the overwhelming problem is there just aren't enough developers involved.

"I wasn't aware of just how badly some of our teams were performing. Quite a few are barely functional at all. In more than one case, I had responses like 'team? what team?'. Several are technically made up of a group of people, but only one person is doing all the work."

Nut jobs attacking women in open source should remember that it's easy to kill their precious projects by turning people off through their antics. Getting people to participate becomes that much harder (see here and here).®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.