The open source space remains a sometimes privileged place, but the Linux Foundation hopes to add diversity by partnering with two community groups, Blacks in Technology and Kids on Computers.

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

March 29, 2016

2 Min Read
Linux Foundation Continues Push to Make Open Source World More Diverse

The open source space remains a privileged place, but the Linux Foundation hopes to add demographic diversity by partnering with two community groups, Blacks in Technology and Kids on Computers.

On Tuesday, the Linux Foundation announced that it will engage with each of these organizations to help spread open source software to demographics among which it has so far seen comparatively little adoption.

Blacks in Technology aims “to increase visibility and participation in technology among people of African descent and to change the perception of this group through community focused activities, events and media,” according to the Linux Foundation.

The organization does not focus exclusively on open source, but founder Greg Greenlee says the collaboration will help bring more people of African descent into the open source ecosystem. “Our partnership with The Linux Foundation will open new doors for our members and give us an opportunity to make an important contribution to the Linux and open source communities.”

Kids on Computers hopes its partnership with the Linux Foundation will deliver on similar goals. The group provides access to technology for children across the world by building computer labs that are powered by open source software, making it a natural fit for the Linux Foundation’s efforts to increase access to open source.

The reasons why the open source world has not traditionally been very demographically diverse — even compared to the technology sector in general, open source programmers tend to be disproportionately male and Caucasian — are complex and little studied. What is clear, however, is that the Linux Foundation and other organizations have become increasingly invested in addressing the lack of diversity in the past two years or so. The new partnerships announced this week build on similar initiatives, like a collaboration with Women Who Code.

So far, the Linux Foundation’s efforts have amounted mostly to community partnerships and the extension of free open source training and event opportunities to certain groups. While initiatives like these will not revolutionize the open source community overnight, they lay the foundations for gradually changing the longstanding demographic trends in open source.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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