November 3rd & 4th, 2023
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A division of labor: Attempting to measure free software

SeaGL 2017

We like to think that diversity has increased over time–contributors have stuck around as they age, students are excited to get started, initiatives are making space for people of color, trans* individuals, women, and other groups underrepresented in free software. We like to think we are doing better at recognizing the wide range of contributions and that more people are getting involved from all spheres of skill type, level, and experience.

But is this true? Molly de Blanc, a free software activist with a fondness for numbers and data, analyzed the results from four community surveys from 2003, 2013, 2016, and 2017 (as well as other bits of data around the internet). With fourteen (incomplete) years of community data, she’ll attempt to quantify the ways the make up of free software has changed, where we’re not doing as well as we’d like, and how we can do better.

We’ll be asking (and answering) questions like:

  • Is more non-coding work being done by women?
  • Are people coding and also doing other things?
  • Who is not coding? Who is doing nothing “technical?”
  • Are we doing a good job trying to understand our community?


M. de Blanc

M. de Blanc

M. de Blanc is the Strategic Initiatives Manager at the GNOME Foundation. As a member of the Debian Project, she works on the Community Team. She was a director on the Open Source Initiative Board of Directors and served as President of the Board. She is a graduate student of bioethics at New York University. She is interested in digital ethics, ethics of technology, autonomy and consent, and really quite a number of other things. She lives with a cat named Bash who swears he has never been fed before.