sexist behavior in the free software community

So not even 3 months out from RMS's sexist Gran Canaria “virgins” remarks, we have another powerful leader in the Free Software Community making sexist remarks in a talk to developers (this time, it's Mark Shuttleworth). It's a shame that these two people have said stupid things that hurt their causes and their communities by perpetuating an unfriendly environment for women. And it's a bigger shame that neither leader appears to care enough about their community to issue a sincere public apology for their screwup (if i'm wrong about this, please point me to the apology — i've looked).

These guys are in a situation which is nowhere near as hard as writing good software or managing complex technical projects: if you make a stupid mistake, own up to it, apologize, and try not to make similar mistakes in the future.

Perhaps worst of all, are the remarkable number of unreasonably fucked-up comments on the blog posts discussing these unfortunate events. If you're in the habit of defending remarks like those made by RMS and Shuttleworth on the 'net, please take a minute and ask yourself a few questions:

Please read the Geek Feminism wiki and blog. Even if you don't agree with everything on those sites (hey, it's a wiki! and a blog! you don't have to agree with everything!), people are at least trying to address the problem of sexism in our community there. Engage constructively and don't hide or ignore problems!

UPDATE: I've asked the site admin to remove some trollish comments. If you want to use the comments on this blog to announce something like "i'd like for free software to be a boys-only club", that's fine, i'd like to know who you are so i can adjust my perception of you accordingly. Anything advocating or excusing rape and/or murder is way over the line and is not welcome here. i'm sure you can find some other place to troll.

Tags: community, conduct, feminism, free software, sexism