Torvalds has publicly posted thousands of scathing messages targeting programmers who submit what he deems flawed code to the Linux computer-operating-system kernel, which he brought to life more than twenty-five years ago and now administers as a collaborative, open-source project. Today, the Linux kernel is famous, running the enormous computers of Google, PayPal, Amazon, and eBay, and the two billion mobile phones using the Android operating system. Torvalds, though, retains final say over each precious line of code, just as he did when he first started working on the system as a graduate student at the University of Helsinki. For years, he has been known as Linux’s “benevolent dictator for life.”
The point isn’t to have an Indigenous woman’s voice on the panel so we can get ‘the Indigenous women’s perspective’ and hit a check box as if an obligation has been fulfilled. This approach essentializes the diverse experiences of Indigenous women. Instead, the reality is that the selection of which voices are permitted to participate has long been a rigged game to systematically – and often violently – exclude groups of people who the right-wing (and sometimes the socialist left) now accuse of playing “identity politics.”
Has the technology industry truly embraced diversity? What more needs to be done to make it a more inclusive industry? Inspired by Black History Month, Jordan Erica Webber and Chella Ramanan try and answer these questions.
In this episode of Chips with Everything, Webber and Ramanan talk to Carlton Cummins of Aceleron, junior software engineer Bukola Thompson, and Tom Ilube, founder of the African Science Academy. Many touch on the need for diversity, particularly when personal biases are often baked in, a point David Williams makes on the Team Human podcast.