Aled Morris aledm at routers.co.uk
Sat Jul 15 00:39:04 BST 2000

On Fri, 14 Jul 2000, Helen McCall wrote:

>  when we try to offer the fruits of our experience on any
>of the user lists, we tend mostly to either get ignored 

No danger of your message being ignored I think!

>The freebsd-users list does not help in this, with its "Beer and Curry"
>clique appearing to totally dominate any discussion.

I think it is inevitable that you will get a "core" of regulars (along
with their in-jokes) sustaining a discussion list, which is the definition
of a clique, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing.  One puts up with it
because the quality of the "content" of the list outweigh the "noise".

>I find the general ethos in the freebsd world so embarassing

I, like I guess most people reading this, are amazed and stunned that you
think this.  The FreeBSD project is different from the mainstream open
source community because of the professionalism of the participants and
quality of the product.

> that I do not
>like mentioning the name "Freebsd" to my commercial clients, preferring to
>refer to it as "Berkley UNIX" instead.

Actually I have the same problem for different reasons.  Most of my
"corporate" clients haven't bought into open-source, so the name
"Free"-something puts them off.  I am trying to introduce FreeBSD systems
as embedded, standalone devices (DNS, TACACS, SYSLOG etc), but it is an
uphill struggle that isn't helped by the name.

> The ethos as seen by myself and
>other women is that of teenage boys with all the naivity of youth, getting
>drunk on lager, filling up with curry, and then as all women know probably
>being sick on the pavement. The name "FreeBSD" tends to conjure up the
>image of little pools of vomit in the street!

Again, this is just so off the mark that I wonder if we are talking about
the same FreeBSD!

I urge you to attend the next meeting, and I am sure that as the meetings
become more formal there will be a more formal dining arrangement!  In
fact, I'm sure that the organisers would welcome your contribution in
helping to arrange such an event at the November meet.

>Even the very professional Debian project tends to put women off with the
>amount of flaming on the developers' lists.

To be honest, I would expect the Linux community to suffer more from the
image you describe of inexperienced youths dominating the proceedings.  I
don't think I've ever seen a "flame war" on any FreeBSD mailing lists.  

freebsd-hackers is a truly civilised place for professionals to discuss
the technical details of the operating system which has rightly earned a
position of respect in the community.

> Please also remember that
>us veterans very rarely ask questions on these kind of lists because the
>kind of queries we see on the lists are the simple little problems which
>we normall solve in a moment due to our enormous wealth of experience;

I wouldn't have said that myself, but I do know what you mean.  I prefer
to think that my experience encourages me to work round a problem whereas
someone less weary would keep working on the "technically correct"
solution for longer, which all too often doesn't achieve the goal.

>which is why those of us old enough to be your mothers or grandmothers can
>offer some very useful advice, even if we do not know the latest slang.

Believe me, if you come to a FreeBSD meeting, most attendees will join you
in a Unix version of the four Yorkshiremen sketch.  Tell that to the kids
of today, and they won't believe you.

35, married, two children, hacking Unix since 1984,
SERCnet...ucbvax!ihnp4!seismo!...York Box...DIRFIL where are they now? etc. etc.

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