Recent blog entries for aicra

Sexism: Wikimedia Foundation – We will keep you in mind for “LESS CODE RELATED TASKS”

As a woman in the FOSS communities for over 15 years, I know the issues and have experienced sexism within and from without the community.

Some are ridiculous to me. Some are serious offenses. This time, I was offended.

In fact, one of my best friendships was forged in IRC in 2000 with someone who had no idea I was not male and made the statement that “women belong in the kitchen”. Of course, I demanded an apology, thus exposing myself as female.

You see, that is the great thing about IRC. That 1337 programmer giving assistance with C++ or Java, that could actually be a female and you had no idea!

I saw there was an opening for a Technical Writer at Wikimedia Foundation. You know… the Wikipedia people.
I had all the qualifications. So, I applied. Sounded righteous. It was remote with a few days in San Fran. I met all the requirements. On the first interview, I was asked if I used IRC. IRC! Of course. I was using IRC when lilo was running freenode. Tragic.

So, imagine my surprise when I received a reject notice from Wikimedia Foundation.

I was surprised. I had the experience and skills.

What happened here?!

Keep in mind, I have worked as a programmer, have a degree in computer science and a Masters in IT from ASU. I have written more programs than I can ever count in C, Java, C++. I have written a few database driven apps for work, using PHP and SQL. I have several Droid Apps I created on Google and I also have written Linux installers and ported software to GNU/Linux distros. In fact, I am working on a mobile Moodle app right now and have a distro PicLE (Pic learning environment) I am working on. I have embedded (mostly microcontrollers from Microchip) and know 8086 assembly. I could go on and on, but I won’t. All of this is on my resume and was emphasized in the interview.

Yet, I received a rejection letter. A nice one… So I found Quim Gil, the Lead who was available in IRC, and asked him what happened.

Around 2:13pm MST 12/17/2013

I hoped, maybe they didn’t go with the project. So, I decided to find the lead, Quim Gil (qgil) on IRC and ask him.

aicra: Hi Qim. I was wondering. Did your team decide not to go with a technical writer at all for the 3+ month contract or was there some reason I was not selected

qgil: we haven’t selected a candidate yet, and I can’t comment anything to anybody at this point

qgil: or.] wait

qgil: did you receive a notifcation?

aicra: yea

aicra: I was surprised

qgil: what is your real name?

aicra: and disappointed but from your response, I see that there are possible candidates so it was probably me

aicra: Marcia Wilbur

aicra: worked at the FSF

aicra: Community minded

aicra: Free speech advocate

aicra: :)

qgil: I remember, not all the details but I remember

aicra: I was hoping it was that your team decided not to select a tech writer. But I see. It was something I lacked, something about my qualifications that did not fit

aicra: Appreciate your time

qgil: you can send me an email asking for details, I would need the time that I don’t have now to reply properly

qgil: I think your qualifications are good, but this 3 month contract has a very precise goal where developer experience is appreciated beyond technical knowledge

aicra: No, Funny thing was I was trying to reach out to you on irc earlier but never saw you on until today. Maybe we have different IRC hours

aicra: Appreciate it.

aicra: Good luck. If it doesn’t work out, please keep me in mind

qgil: I actually marked your application as someone to keep in mind for more community and less code related tasks. True it is! :)

qgil: tech community, I mean

aicra: Great! Thanks!

aicra: :)

qgil: thank you for your interest in contributing to Wikimedia

aicra: hold on a second

aicra: Sorry but did you write less code related?

aicra: I see

aicra: Can I ask what language?

I did not receive a response. I waited several minutes. Had to run anyway.

So, I did email him as a follow up before running out the door. Here is my response.

Hi Quim,

I just wanted to follow up on the comment made about “less code related tasks”.

In fact, that is more disappointing than if the reason had been something else.

I have a 2 yr. degree in computer science with data structures, assembly and database which means I am very knowledgeable and experienced with:



I also worked on the Gentoo fork. I have created database driven applications and Linux installers as well as Android applications.

I have not worked as a programmer, except at Aries and my resume does not reflect a lot of programming but unless it is Python (which I haven’t touched since 2005)...

However, I would think that with a degree in Computer Science one might know that I have coding skills.

Very disappointing.

Shortly thereafter, I received an email that my reject letter was a mistake. Actually, I received an email that the reject letter was an “ACCIDENT”.

Hi Marcia,

I am so sorry – I rejected you by accident! We actually want you to have a conversation with Quim this week if you are available?
Akshata will get you scheduled once you send us your availability.

Sorry again for the error.

Was it really? Or was it to cover themselves so people wouldn’t learn about what transpired?

Seriously, though. I started to wonder about how many female developers are at the Wikimedia Foundation? What was the attitude toward female developers in our community?

I kept thinking about those words:

…developer experience is appreciated beyond technical knowledge.



So, before committing to an interview, I asked about diversity. The response was as professional as any corporation or organization.

They do seem to have somewhat of a diverse workforce.

All the while, all I could think of was…


I believe that Quim’s first response when he saw my name was female was to let me know I didn’t have the coding ability they wanted. Really?

Great assumption! Am I to give him the benefit of the doubt?

…developer experience is appreciated beyond technical knowledge.

I don’t think my developer experience is appreciated or could be appreciated!!!

No. I’ve been a female developer within this community for well over a decade. There were no females at Slashdot, Tina was the lone female at NewsForge and the only reason I got as far as I did was because in the beginning, these guys had no idea I was female in IRC, I was a computer science major at Arizona State and I love to code.

So, thanks Wikimedia, but no THANKS!

Side note: I believe Wikipedia has lost it’s connection to our community and the support. The point is, “Why are they paying someone to do this gig if they had community support!” Forking has already been suggested and as I write this, Wikipedia is being decentralized and will soon be available P2P as a community effort, not managed by Wikimedia Foundation.

As for me, I’ll keep focusing on Free Speech, censorship and maybe scandalous behavior (cough – Wikimedia)!

P.S. Not to be crude, but really, just because I have the ability to Quim, doesn’t mean I can’t code… Quim!

Well, I did get my git going. I like to work locally. However, I realized that should something happen to me or my machine, those files and apps might be lost.

So, it is a great way to get organized. I like subversion but I'm enjoying git.

For now, I'm working on a mobile app for elearning. Let's see how it works with my current LMS on Faqlinux. No learning up there just yet.

Ultimately, I would love to see shared learning. However, I don't know if that can happen yet.

There are so many other outlets for people who are creative.
I had efront set up on FAQLinux but something happened and I decided to go with Moodle. I had a few honest users on there .

Now, with Moodle, I have trolls.
That reminds me, I have to clean up dmcasucks.

This has been a crazy week with the Zimmerman thing, Farm Bill, and such. I don't know what to think. Violence is not the answer.

Last night I was able to reclaim

We are far past the times when the site was used to inform people that a DMCA existed.

We are far past the times when the site was used to inform people about the potential dangers to the DMCA.

We are past the times when the site was used to invoke people into irl protest action against the DMCA and censorship (unfortunately).

The new focus must be:

Impact of the DMCA on others - even though there is plenty of information about it out there

- Collaboration of individuals to speak up against the DMCA via video to be used in the Documentary Project to create a DMCA documentary

- Written/summary of personal DMCA stories from individuals impacted

- Interviews via webcam with individuals adversely affected by the DMCA

So many DMCA Notifications are looked over for the basic requirements and then that information is used to take down a website or blog. Other items need to be taken into consideration. One particular case in point is where a false DMCA notification is sent against someone. In one case a false notification was sent with the sender being the same person as the receiver. Yes! This was not caught. The blog was taken down and the content not recovered. When content is not recovered, Limitations on Liability are revoked.
- Training center for DMCA Agents
- Free Copyright training (Moodle)
- Training about the DMCA

All training will be delivered electronically

- Any DMCA related protests that might come about

News Blog
I will blog about current and relevant DMCA related "situations". RMS said to me over 10 years ago, just keep writing...

Links - Similar relevant links: EFF, DRM info, Chilling, FSF - GFDL, Public domain sites

No ADS! :)

Again, it has been awhile.

Today, I had an interview with a company that needed a technical writer who knew Unix. While I could go into the differences between UNIX and GNU/Linux, I would rather focus on what is happening within our community.

We used to be a community. We worked together on projects and we lifted each other up. What happened today was a complete shock to my system.

I have never been a system administrator. It would be a lie to say I had not thought about it. Instead, I spent my time advocating for freedom and coding. Why? I love it. Why else would you do anything? Oh... yeah. For $$

Well, since I had been using Debian all these years, I had a chance today to look back on some of my work. I have created installers and programs, I have ported applications that were only ported for Red Hat to Debian and got these to work. Upon contacting the companies, they told me... we don't care if it works on Debian, only Red Hat.

Before it was commonplace, I was making isos and using cdrecord to burn CDs, showing anyone who would listen how. In fact, I was instrumental in the first installfest in Phoenix. Yes, I have been a part of the community both online and in real life.

Yet today, I felt like a luser, a newb and why?

Because I am not a sys admin and I was applying for a job where I would work with server babysitters.

I believe my expertise is in the mid to high level. However, I was asked questions about things I never use, like /op. (Don't use it because really... it's all about me.)

I have tinkered with SaaS, worked on embedded applications and hardware and the list goes on and on... boring, I know.

The point is that I *thought* we were a community. I *thought* it didn't matter whether one was a programmer or a sys admin or even a n00b.

Haven't these people read Emmett's Welcome Wagon?

Now, I see that there are many opportunists just using Linux for profit.

I have actually de-constructed several programs that use ffmpeg but do not include the GPL. A lot of companies are using our work and not including the GPL. One company that makes a good profit using FFMPEG and does not include the GPL is Articulate. Another is Adaptive.

There are companies that offer a "free" compiler. They do offer the code, but it is so obfuscated, it would be challenging compiling this mess. The product manager laughed as he told me this.

There are so many positives that have come from our community. Unfortunately, I am seeing a lot of negatives. Not anything we have done, but the unintended consequences of our pure vision.

Today is a sad day for me.

Perhaps tomorrow will bring more hope for community. At least I can say that we did have good intentions and made some positive changes. Unfortunately, the businesses and opportunists are dividing our efforts and our community with their labels as:
Power user
Super user

Any insinuation that a programmer is less valuable than a system administrator hurts our community.

Working together is what we did. It's how we succeeded and to see that change, even on a small level is devastating!

Let's get together and work together. That's how we are going to make things happen.

Well, it's been awhile!

I left Microchip a couple of years ago for many reasons, the least not being that my supervisor didn't know what an infinite loop was.

The fact is that the weeks prior to my leaving, I was set to teach a course at the yearly Masters conference on embedded and Linux. This course was cancelled. The reason, I was told that there just wasn't any interest.

At that time I was also working on a distro project aimed at embedded users. This project was scrapped at about the same time the class was cancelled.

Feeling stagnant and feeling that things were not going to change, I left to pursue other options. I don't regret that decision, as much as I did love working in an engineering environment.

I was looking for a job for my sister, who is in finance, so I looked at Microchip and found this post for a Linux Fellow. Ironically, I meet the qualifications. These big companies have no idea what they have. While Microchip was not at all the evil empire that other corporate entities are, they still failed to recognize the talent and skills of their current staff pool...

Microchip is seeking a dynamic open-source leader, speaker and developer to be our Linux Technical Fellow, internally and for the embedded Linux community at large. The individual selected for this position will be responsible for executing the following objectives:

1) Shape the strategy for Microchip to become a respected player in the embedded Linux community.

2) Working with architects, ensure that Microchip devices and software present a world-class solution.

3) Guide the realization of the strategy developed above, staffing and leading a team to do so.

4) Represent Microchip’s growing dominance in the community.

5) Improve and maintain Microchip’s relationship with key Linux influencers.

Key Responsibilities:

•Develop a viable, culturally-appropriate business strategy to make Microchip a vital force in embedded Linux.
•Ensure that Microchip’s silicon devices represent a viable vehicle for embedded Linux.
•Ensure that Microchip’s software offerings appropriately support the Linux eco-system.
•Ensure that Microchip’s Linux offering meets or exceeds the demands of our customer base.
•Represent Microchip to the community when necessary.
•Represent Microchip’s Linux offering to key customers as required.
•Coordinate the embedded Linux message with marketing professionals.
•Attract and build a first-rate development team and lead the realization of the agreed-upon strategy.
•Step in and provide hands-on guidance, including coding, when necessary.

Job Requirements :
•Bachelor’s Degree in a technical field, preferably an advanced degree.
•Proven, demonstrable track record bringing Linux to the embedded world.
•Minimum five (5) years contributing to the open-source, preferably Linux, community.
•Excellent verbal (including public speaking), written, teaching and presentation skills.
•Strong organization skills.
•Strong leadership skills.
•A team-oriented perspective.

Ok, so I just wanted to say something about the RTMPDUMP and Adobe thing.

Adobe claims that "The rtmpdump utility hosted on (see URL below) can be used to download copyrighted works"

Yea, well guess what... the following items can be used to download copyrighted works:

MS Internet Explorer Firefox Filezilla SFTP Opera Safari


This DMCA book is almost done.

Now... there are a couple of the sections of the DMCA I really don't give a shit about. Can I say:

Yeah, I didn't give a crap about these sections, so if you need the info, screw you.


This book is a real pita.

Today marks the 8th year of my posting journal entries here. Cool.

This DMCA book is really a PITA. I can see why someone would get depressed!

Also, there are too many cases to include. Who am I to choose which cases to include here. My resources are limited and I am running out of steam.

Don Marti came up with an excellent idea. Why not put DRM- Free on products that do not use DRM. I like it. people/

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