Women In, Near, and Around Ubuntu - Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day - Part 1

Last year at this time, I had only been involved with Ubuntu and the Open Source community a little over a month. All things Ubuntu and Open Source in respects to my personal involvement were new, exciting and awesomely overwhelming and I hate to admit it but, I did not blog about anyone for Ada Lovelace Day 2009.

That said I have to admit in the last year I have been given the opportunity to meet and get to know so many amazingly talented and skilled women who are in Open Source and more specifically the Ubuntu Community. The women I am writing about make the work and contributions they provide to Ubuntu, Open Source Projects, and initiatives to increase the visibility of women in open source, seem effortlessly awesome!

In, Near, or Around Ubuntu - not all of the women who are listed below belong to the Ubuntu Women Project, but I wouldn't have gotten to know any of them but for my involvement in Ubuntu - so in my book they all belong In, Near, or Around Ubuntu. Irregardless of their proximity to Ubuntu each one has inspired, encouraged, educated and challenged me to become a better me throughout this last year and I'm hoping that they continue to do so in the future. "Thank You" can't begin to express my appreciation and I am not sure I can even express properly the admiration I have for their abilities and accomplishments in the Ubuntu and Open Source Communities. Follow along as I to try to express my gratitude and share a little about each of these women in hopes that you too can understand, appreciate, and come to admire these women and why I consider these women my mentors In, Near, and Around Ubuntu .

Akkana Peck (akk) - I had the opportunity to meet Akkana at OSCON last year though we had talked/chatted in IRC prior to that. Akkana is an excellent public speaker and funny as heck too! Anyone who can make me laugh and understand GRUB a little more in under 5 minutes is awesome in my book. (side note - Her mom is cool too!!!) When I meet her at OSCON and then saw her again at SCaLE 8x - I told her "I want to be more like you. You have a quiet confidence about you that I would love to have." We laughed, you know that laugh that says, "Bless your heart! Good luck with that." I am too much of a loquacious people person to be associated even remotely with the word "quiet", but Akkana she says a lot without ever saying a word. I admire that quality more than people know. Akkana, in addition to being an active Ubuntu Women Project team member, is also an active member of the Ubuntu California LoCo Team as well as one of the leaders of the Silicon Valley California Chapter of Linux Chix. Akkana is also the person who inspired me to stick with GIMP and keep trying. I am not an expert at it, like she is (I mean she wrote the book), but I no longer say I hate it and I am using it almost everyday now. - Thanks Akkana! I can't wait to hear more of your talks, especially those really funny 5 min lightning one, as well as participate in another of your IRC GIMP classes (ps Open Week starts May 3rd - just sayin :-D ). Akkana's Blog can be found here .

Belinda Lopez (dinda) - I was able to meet Belinda while attending UDS-L in Dallas Texas only a few short months ago. (Gosh it seems like forever now, but I digress). Belinda is also someone I had chatted with in the Ubuntu IRC channels as well as interviewed for Full Circle Magazine. While preparing to interview Belinda I asked her if she could send me some interesting links (blogs, wiki page, articles about her) that I could read over to make the interview a little more personal and one of the links she sent me was her CV. I gotta' tell ya' reading it was totally WOW moment! I mean it's not every day I get to talk to someone who worked at NASA. Belinda works for Canonical as the Training Project Manager, and is very passionate about all the possibilities there are for elearning opportunities and Ubuntu. I love elearning - you can't beat attending class in your PJ's while drinking hot chocolate out of your favorite mug! Belinda is one of the driving forces behind the online training opportunities that Canonical offers and that is just cool. Having taken the desktop class that is based on Ubuntu 7.10 and looking forward to the one based on Ubuntu 10.04, I can appreciate even more of the role Belinda plays in making this happen. Belinda is an active member of the Ubuntu Texas LoCo team and enjoys talking to the community about Ubuntu. Belinda is, in addition to being an elearning goddess, hilarious and helpful. I am looking forward to our paths crossing again (Texas Linux Fest - just sayin') Thanks Belinda! I can't wait to talk online training, share some laughs, and see what else you can teach me about Ubuntu. Belinda's Blog can be found here .

Elizabeth "Lyz" Krumbach - (pleia2) - Lyz was one of the very first people I spoke to in the Ubuntu IRC channels. I have to admit Lyz really has the patience of a saint! I mean she has to - a year ago - Ubuntu IRC channels, Forums, Mailing Lists , not to mention those beloved wiki pages and I were not sharing any love - I was then and in many ways today still identify with the novice NTEU (Non-Technical End-User) persona. I think I must have PM'd her 15 times a day (I think I am down to like 5 now :-D) to ask everything from "How do I register my nick *again*?" to "Wiki Pages hate me! How do I (insert anything to do with a Wiki page)" to "Hey, we're setting up an Ubuntu Booth at SELF will you be there?" Lyz has really encouraged to try new things in the community. If it had not been for her I would not have given my very first BOF session while attending my very first Linux Fest ever! Lyz was a very active part of the Ubuntu Pennsylvania LoCo Team before moving the California, now she enjoys the warm California sun and is active in the Ubuntu California LoCo Team. Lyz is also a member, and not just any member either as she is the first female member, of the Ubuntu Community Council. In addition to that role she actively participates on the Ubuntu Women Project, US Teams, Community Learning Project, Ubuntu Classroom and Beginner Teams . - WOW! Lyz ROCKS! What else is there to say! Thanks Lyz! You do a lot for Ubuntu and greater Open Source Communities I am not sure how you manage it all but I am glad you do! Hope our paths cross again this year as you're encouragement, mentoring as well as a few sanity checks mean the world to me thanks. Lyz's Blog can be found here .

Laura Czajkowski - (czajkowski) - Laura and I had started talking/chatting in IRC either right before or during UDS Karmic (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UDSKarmic), Laura was able to participate in person and I was able to participate remotely. I *finally* had the opportunity to meet Laura in person at UDS-L in Dallas Texas. To say we had a blast and hit it off would be an understatement. Laura is a very active Ubuntu member. She contributes to many areas of the Ubuntu Project through her participation in the Ubuntu Women Project, the Ubuntu LoCo Council where she is not only a member, but the first woman LoCo Council member as well. Add the Ubuntu Ireland LoCo team, the Ubuntu NGO Project as well as organizer of the Ireland OSSBarCamp to her growing list project participation. To say she is busy is probably an understatement. Laura is a go-getter, she likes getting things done, and "getting on with it" as she puts it. She is not one to "let moss grown under her feet" that is for sure. Laura is always is always willing to lend a hand or an ear. She also helps quench any of those flames of self doubt and is quick to say, "You can do this?" Tis lovely." One of the qualities about Laura that I admire is that even when we disagree (and yes contrary to popular belief I do disagree with people ), the cool thing is we speak our minds, and move on - no hard feelings and usually with some food for thought all the way around. Whether you need a laugh (just ask her to say, "I'll throttle ya'!"), a kick in the butt, or information on planning events, Laura makes the best go person. Thanks Laura! You not only encouraging me, but countless others in the Ubuntu Community. You are really been a source of knowledge for how to do stuff in the community. Also, thank you for sharing you knowledge of event planning as well. I hope we get a chance to hang out and hash out new ideas for Community involvement this year. Laura's Blog can be found here .

Leigh Honeywell - (hypa7ia) - I have yet to meet Leigh in person but I hope I get a chance to someday. I like putting IRC nicks and faces together. The first time I really had a change to chat with Leigh was when I interviewed her for Full Circle Magazine. Leigh wears many hats - from University of Toronto student working to complete an Honours Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Equity Studies, to international super hero fighting MalWare and issues that surround that, as in her day job she does everything from testing the security of clients' applications, to validating the effectiveness of commercial security products. Leigh is also a co-founder and board member of hacklab.to. I think it is AWESOME - really *AWESOME* - the stuff she builds. Heck, I can tear stuff apart, but she tears stuff apart and re-purposes it ways I don't even think of. It's prety darn cool! Leigh is actively participate in the Ubuntu Women Project where she helps with the IRC channels, the Forums and mentoring Ubuntu users, contributors, and developers. Leigh has often helps me run through ideas from brainstorming to implementation, helps critique and polish presentations, as well as me giving honest and open feedback as well as encouragement. Thanks Leigh! I really appreciate your mentoring, support, feedback as well as your contributions Ubuntu and the greater open source community. Leigh's Blog can be found here .

Mackenzie Morgan - (maco) - I met Mackenzie at SELF in 2009. Mackenzie is one of the first folks who offered me feedback on my blog posts, tips on how to be a better Ubuntu User, and how to navigate the community better. Mackenzie recently became an Ubuntu MOTU, and is active in several areas of the Ubuntu Community. In addition to MOTU, her active Ubuntu community involvement includes the Ubuntu Women Project where she is and IRC Op and Forum Moderator for the UW Project, she also an active member on the Ubuntu DC LoCo Team, and a Kubuntu developer as well. Mackenzie manages to contribute to Ubuntu while balancing the schedule of a full time college with Ubuntu contributor. She is quick to help those in need, she is a willing to mentor women who want to become MOTU's, and she also helps develop new sign language technology signs ( I hope I said that right). Thanks Mackenzie! I really appreciate our conversations that are laced with excitement, encouragement, feedback, and ideas for improvement to the Ubuntu and Open Source Communities as well as to me personally. Mackenzie's Blog can be found here .

Stay tuned Part 2 of Women In, Near and Around Ubuntu will include some more amazing women whose contributions to Ubuntu and the Open Source communities inspire me as well. Maria Randazzo, Melissa Draper, Michelle Hall, Rikki Kite, Emma Jane Hogbin and Leann Ogasawara.


Follow along as Ubuntu enthusiast and Community organizer Amber Graner helps put the "You" in Ubuntu.

Amber Graner is an active Ubuntu community member and organizer who encourages everyone around her to participate, support, and learn about Ubuntu and Open Source. With a smile and a sense of humor, Amber reminds people that there is a place for everyone in the Ubuntu community – regardless of technical skill level (or lack thereof). She is constantly looking for people, places, and events within the Ubuntu community that help inspire Ubuntu users to participate actively within the Ubuntu community. Email Amber at amber AT ubuntu-user DOT com.


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