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[ale] hear, hear for females and Linux!

> I have been reading the last few posts about young females learning Linux with
> great interest.  I am very impressed that so many of you have taken the time to
> teach your daughters/sisters/girl friends, Linux.
> In my family, my father (and mother) still don't understand why I like
> computers, bikes, and engineering.  Indeed, they view all of my interests as
> being "male".  I am sure glad that my husband doesn't see it that way! 
> Anyway, I am really glad to see some of you encouraging your daughters to pursue
> what my parents would label "male" interests.  Keep up the good work and I
> think the GNU generation will be the Linux generation - the ones that you've
> taken the time to teach!

I cannot resist the urge to second this.  As 

* probably the senior (in age) female on this list, 
* a longtime Linux user (since 0.99pl13 days -- see, I'm really senior!) 
* and the only pregnant person to attend an ALE meeting besides the lovely and 
talented Ms. Ayers,  

I have to say that much of what I learned from mucking around with
Linux and computers has carried over into other portions of my life.


Directly, Linux made my maternity leave much easier -- I ran 'term'
from the GT dialups and managed to keep up with project-related email
and a small bit of X development while on my leave.  Indirectly,
I have to say that "debugging" a small infant's cry has a lot in common
with trying to resolve problems with flaky hardware -- things that work
one time don't always work the next, and sometimes the problems go away
as mysteriously as they came.   As an aside, when my son was born, I
assigned him SCSI ID 7, the ID traditionally reserved for the
controller, since an infant is nothing if not controlling :-)

I've often thought about writing the "Sysadmins Guide to Motherhood"
and the first point I would make is that as a system administrator for
many machines, or even your single Linux box, you've already learned to
accept that something small (like a computer or a child) can rule your
life.  It can do something in less than a second which can ruin your
entire day.  On the flip side, it can make you deliriously happy when
it responds to you in the way you'd hoped :-) So, teaching the computer
skills now, IMHO, really does make a difference in the way you approach
problems in other arenas, some of those more traditionally female.

And as Lisa says, the support of a spouse/SO/family is key.  Because my
husband the English teacher respects and supports what I do, albeit
affectionally rolling his eyes when I say things like "Perl is the
Swiss Army knife of shell programming", I don't have to fight the battle
for my very existence.  

So Amy, when are we going to port all those children's software games
to Linux?  Alas, those are still limited to Windoze and Mac. I foresee
Jumpstart Linux in our future...


Susan Liebeskind (susan.liebeskind at gtri.gatech.edu) 
347 Ferst St
Atlanta, GA  30332-0832				 Phone 404-894-4266