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Tech talk bloke compares girlfriend to irritating Java tool – did he deserve flames?

Joke or brogrammer idiocy – you decide

Seven Steps to Software Security

Poll A programmer was given a right shoeing on Twitter and various blogs for a classy move at a tech event – comparing Apache Maven to a beautiful-but-annoying girlfriend.

Jonathan Doklovic, principal developer at software-maker Atlassian, made the comments while giving a thrilling talk about plugins at the AtlasCamp 2014 in Berlin this week.

On a slide titled "Maven is my girlfriend", he presented a number of bullet points that compared the Java build tool to a lover. Here's his reasoning:

  • Looks beautiful
  • Complains a lot
  • Demands my attention
  • Interrupts me when I'm working
  • Doesn't play well with my other friends

The moment was photographed and tweeted by an attendee.

It went downhill from there – and the backlash eventually prompted an apology from Australia-based Atlassian.

Atlassian declared the slide-deck to be "simply not OK" in an apologetic blog afterwards.

The presentation was packed full of "inappropriate content", claimed CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes, who said the slides in no way indicated that his staff were angry sexist nerds.

"We are going through all the events that allowed this slide to reach the public," wrote Cannon-Brookes.

"We’ve already started immediate action. Where our organisation and process were lacking, we will add oversight. Where our culture is at fault, we will change that culture.

"It’s times like this when your culture and values as a company must guide your decision making. If they are true, they will shine through. We take our values seriously. We apply them to everything we do. We endeavour to ensure all Atlassians live and represent our values.

"Clearly today we let ourselves, our team and our industry down. We’ll continue striving, growing and learning."

So, in your opinion, dear reader, did the bloke in question fuel the "zomg all women are sooo annoying" brogrammer stereotype, or was this simply that most innocuous of things: a joke. Woddyafink? Let us know in the comments and vote below. ®

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