OTW board chair Naomi Novik on NPR

March 25, 2009 – Our own Naomi Novik appears on today’s broadcast of NPR’s All Things Considered, in a a story called Will E-Book Anti-Piracy Technology Hurt Readers? The aired program, as well as a shorter print version, is now available at the NPR website. Naomi is speaking against the DRM [Digital Rights Management] protection on e-books that mean that they can’t easily be transferred from Kindle to Laptop to iPhone. Naomi notes that: “The biggest danger to most authors, to most storytellers, is not that somebody is going to steal your work and pass it along — it is that nobody is ever going to see your work.”

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Please join the OTW in celebrating Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. The OTW is an overwhelmingly female organization whose major projects include open source software development & design, as well as the administration and technological maintenance of our production servers, content management systems, and other software packages, including MediaWiki, the software that runs Fanlore, OJS, the open source journal software we use to run Transformative Works and Cultures, CiviCRM, the constituent relationship management system we use to manage our Development and Membership drives, Request Tracker (RT), our current ticketing system, and our Drupal-based website. Our staff is made up largely of female coders, sysadmins, webmasters, designers, and others of considerable technical skill.

We at OTW would like to give a particular shout out to:

ADT, or the Accessibility, Design, and Technology Committee, is the team responsible for the Archive of Our Own. If you’ve ever wondered What On Earth ADT does, you can get a graphical representation of the answer here. The Archive of Our Own may be the largest woman run and staffed open source software project on the web. 1134 revisions have been deployed to the Beta Archive to date, and we have had five major releases and innumerable small ones. 150 volunteers have worked on AD&T/Code/Test, many of whom we have trained ourselves in Ruby and other languages; we aim to teach and mentor all, women especially, who want to learn. You can see our code here.

Systems: Four out of five of the active sysadmins for OTW are women. Our servers were built (mostly) by women, for women, and maintained (mostly) by women to create amazing things upon. Xen’s current uptime: up 132 days, load average: 0.44, 0.31, 0.22 AOOO: up 30 days, load average: 0.03, 0.06, 0.0100. Xen came alive in November of 2007, which means approximately 1.5 years that no one has done a cd / ; rm -rf * That’s something to brag about, because let’s face it: usually the only time folks notice the Systems team is when something has stopped working. (tongue>cheek)

Webmasters: Since the OTW Webmasters (our friends call us Charlottes) were established as a committee, we have had seven members and all have been women. When we started, we had no experience with Drupal, the open-source content management system we use for the main OTW website, or with PHP, the primary scripting language used to create dynamic web pages. So we learned collaboratively, together, on the job, supporting and teaching each other as we went along. We picked up a number of new skills, including how to work with an open source community, how to find and interpret available documentation, and how to contribute back to that community with proper bug reports and bug fixes. We even found, to our surprise, that we were attempting things with both internationalization (content translation) and localization (interface translation) that appear to be unique in both the scope of languages we have implemented and the complexity of the website to which it has been applied. We continue to develop, just as our website does. We value accessibility, broadly defined, and towards that end, we are working to make transformativeworks.org truly multilingual and international, pushing our boundaries as well as that of the software. We’re proud of our accomplishments, and we admire each other and the OTW for valuing the technological work of women.

Our Tech Heroines are the Technical Women Of the OTW: the women of ADT: black_samvara, Naomi Novik, Elz, Cal, Lim, Zooey, Sidra, Beate, Highlander_II, Julieann, shrift, Caitlin Shaw, Amelia, Betsey, Isis, Jennifew; our magnificent Webmasters: jinjur, Kristen Murphy, Sharon, & Blue_meridian; the women of Systems: Sidra, Arrow, Merry & ChrisJay, as well as JadeLennox, former Systems chair; Coders Enigel, Flamebyrd, Amanda B, thedeadparrot, Afuna, Velocitygrass, gwumpybear, KendappaOu, Bingeling, Krytella, Sica, Betty, Rustler, & garlicbug; Karen Hellekson, who wrangles OJS, for Transformative Works and Cultures; Vera from Dev/Mem, who was the lead on the CiviCRM customization for our recent membership drive; Hope, Melina, Rache, and the wiki committee, who wrangle the MediaWiki software; all our members and users; you.

Sign my pledge at PledgeBank

Links to posts by OTW staffers: (more to come!)

By Black Samvara – Chair of ADT: Ada Lovelace Day and the OTW
By Arrow – Acting Chair of Systems: Ada Lovelace Day
By Cal – Coder: Ada Lovelace Day
By Rustler – Coder: Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day
By Elz – ADT, Coder: Ada Lovelace Day
By JadeLennox – Former Systems Chair: No Quarter Asked or Given – Ada Lovelace Day: Sidra@OTW, Afuna@Dreamwidth
By Lian – Translation: Ada Lovelace Day
By Enigel – ADT/Coder: Eve’s Daughters, Ada’s Daughters
By Kirrily Robert: Ada Lovelace Day: Two ground-breaking open source projects
By watersword: Something tells me that together, we’d be happy
By jinjur – Webmaster Chair: Ada Lovelace Day
By Zooey Glass – ADT/Coder: Happy Ada Lovelace Day!
By Betty – ADT: Ada Lovelace Day
By Kristen – Webmasters: Ada Lovelace Day
By Naomi Novik – Chair of the Board, former Chair of ADT: Ada Lovelace Day: being the only woman in the room

Thanks To Everyone!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the OTW’s recent membership drive: by posting about the drive or about the org, by sharing one of our awesome lolcats, and most especially by donating. It will take a few days for the last promised donations to clear, and then your humble DevMem team will take a few days off to decompress, but we hope to post soon with some nifty statistics and graphics so that you can share our glee.

A few folks contacted us late in the drive to say, “I’m not able to donate now, but I hope to have the money to donate sometime soon — can I still donate after the drive is over?” The answer is yes! Our formal March 2009 membership drive has ended, which means we’ll stop proclaiming the awesomeness of the OTW quite so loudly from the rooftops, but you can support the OTW with a donation at any time.

Thanks for being a part of the OTW!

The Development/Membership Committee of the OTW: Carla, Elizabeth, Ignaz, Monica, Rachel, Shoshanna, and Vera