Faking It Til I Make It: A Woman On The Fringe Of Open Source

Accepted Session
Short form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 18, 2009 from 3:50 – 4:35pm in Steel


As a long-time user of open source software, I've often considered myself an advocate but not necessarily a participant. Over the last year and a half, my own search for technical inspiration has led me full-circle to the realization that I'm an active member of a vibrant community of technical women.


This is a three-part presentation, beginning with an introduction of my personal experiences with open source:

- early exploration of open source software
- technical journey, from sales to support, administration and finally, engineering
- the danger of “laying low”
- challenges and successes
- how failure led to the need for inspiration
- how inspiration led to community

The second section will explore the community I’ve discovered:

- local groups for women in tech
- vast resources on the web
- support and recognition within the sub-community of women in tech
- what’s next?

The last section invites the attendees to participate:

- Q & A
- Invitation to share women-in-tech events
- Invitation to share additional experiences
- Comments and suggestions

The entire presentation gives voice to my own experience but more precisely how I believe it parallels that of many women in technology: we think ourselves on the fringe, but in fact, we are active participants in an ever-growing community.

Speaking experience


  • Maria headshotb wweb

    Maria Webster

    .51 - Geekspace for Women


    Maria Webster, aka Ubergeeke, is a development engineer for a small software company as well as a freelance writer, and is the editor of “.51 – Geekspace for Women”.

    Maria has been an open source supporter for over a decade, and is on her way to becoming one particularly handy DIYer. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, and is a member of the IEEE as well as the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

    Maria’s primary interest is spreading the word about the pursuits and accomplishments of geeky women everywhere. Additional interests include amateur radio (she holds a Technician class license as KE7SLS), science fiction gaming, the San Francisco 49ers and amateur rockets (Portland State Aerospace Society). She also plays the guitar, reads too much, and generally spends a lot of time surfing the web.