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Named Innovators/Developers of Color? 213

i_c_andrade asks: "Apple and other tech companies were in the past called to task for the lack of Hispanics and African-American's on their Board of Directors, so after doing some research I came to the conclusion that I just did not know a lot of named IT/OSS/Web/CS innovators/developers that were not white (or American) specifically Hispanic or African-American. The first (and only) name that I could think of was Miguel de Icaza, and well I can only blame my own ignorance for not knowing any more, or are there? I know there is a big BSD movement in Brazil (they created the The FreeBSD LiveCD Project; but where else are there developers 'of color' and what are they working on?"
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Named Innovators/Developers of Color?

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  • by heinousjay ( 683506 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @03:51PM (#13776054) Journal
    I have sort of a pinkish tan hue.
  • I haven't seen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jessecurry ( 820286 ) <> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @03:51PM (#13776057) Homepage Journal
    I haven't seen anyone "of color" in the entire computer science program at any of the three colleges that I've been at, except for four Indians, but they obviously aren't black/hispanic.
    Maybe they aren't represented in the industry because they aren't entering the industry in significant numbers, but I may have just been at three colleges that were unrepresentative of the nation as a whole.
  • Marcelo Tosatti (Score:3, Informative)

    by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <agnosticpope@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @03:54PM (#13776075) Journal
    Marcelo Tosatti, who's the maintainer the 2.4, has lived in Brazil his whole life.

    Interview and pic can be found here [].
    • BZZZZZT ... Umm .. sorry ..

      Living in Brasil doesn't make you a person of colour. Brasil has a very mixed population from very white to very dark.
      • Re:Marcelo Tosatti (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hey! ( 33014 )
        Dunno. It's all a social construct after all. We do stupid things like tell a Panamanian to check off a box to say whether he's black or latino, when in fact he's a Spanish speaking person of mostly West African descent, some Spanish and a bit of several Indian tribes (who don't see themselves as belonging in the same category than a Irishman thinks of himself having the same ethnicity as an Albanian.

        If he's mostly European, Tosatti would be stuck having the check of the Latino box. But who knows? I wo
        • Re:Marcelo Tosatti (Score:3, Interesting)

          by humblecoder ( 472099 )
          I knew someone at school who was Caucasian who came to the US from Egypt. During the height of the Political Correctness movement on campus, he wrote a letter to the school paper mocking the phrase "African-American". His point was that, technically speaking, he is more "African-American" than most people who claim the title, since he was, in fact, born on the continent of Africa (Egypt being his birthplace), but he had emigrated from there to the US.

          He also asked the question as to whether he should be a
  • by Wally4u ( 603232 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @03:54PM (#13776084)
    Does it really matter who (in the sense of ethnic diversity) writes the OSS code or makes a important innovation? The only thing that should matter (at least thats my opinion) is what they did (ie the result of their work). I wouldn't even care if the creator of my next email application is white/black/yellow/blue, I only care about the quality of their work. And I think if they do a good job they should be proud of themselves, because they did a good job and not because they did a good job and they were [enter whatever color you want].
    • I don't know about blue though. I mean, I don't want Brainy Smurf [] writing the documentation [] and using the word "smurf" to describe every function I'll ever use.

      For example: "To smurf a new file, open the smurf, then adjust the smurf as you desire, if the file is smurf-only then you must smurf to smurf smurf..."

      But then again, I have been biased against the smurfs since the 80s.

  • by KilobyteKnight ( 91023 ) <> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @03:54PM (#13776085) Homepage
    Everyone on here looks like black text on a white background to me.
  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @03:58PM (#13776123)
    In an online world like development, especially open source, color is a question thats outdated. I have no idea what color someone I read on a miling list, IRC, email, or slashdot is. I don't particularly care. He has good ideas, I'll listen to his advice in the future.

    Same at work- I know my teammates, but for other groups unless their names are a giveaway I don't know if he's white, black, purple, polka-dot, or the flying spaghetti monster. I don't really care either- I'm paid to deal with them, thats all I need to know.

    The better question is- more than a century after the end of slavery, 50 years after segregation ended, why do people still ask this? Who cares what color your hero is? He's your hero, thats enough. It seems to me that the biggeswt problem in race relations these days isn't the white man looking gown on the black, its the minorities who keep seeing themselves as different, with questions like this.
    • The better question is- more than a century after the end of slavery, 50 years after segregation ended, why do people still ask this?

      Well, why do people still ask about women getting into IT? Because representative numbers of that type of person just aren't around.

      Put it the other way: if people are looking around for developers other than white, and not finding many, doesn't that strike you as odd? Don't you want to know why it is, given we're in this "colour-blind" age? If there were any gro

      • If someone applied for a job and was denied due to his skin color (assuming he was truely the best interviewed candidate), I'd be furious. I'd also advise him to sue the pants off of the company, and cheer them on.

        But this isn't the case. Show me a company you suspect of discriminating. Show me any evidence they are. Until then, I'm going to assume that racism isn't the real problem. The real problem is access to education, which is a class problem, not a race problem. Perhaps the lack of computers at
        • Show me a company you suspect of discriminating. Show me any evidence they are.

          Then take a look at See No Bias [] from the Washington Post Magazine. They describe (amongst many other examples) an enormous effect when studying callback rates from recruiters. The researchers sent out resumes and varied the names to sound white or black, they found that for similarly qualified resumes black sounding names were 50 percent less likely to get called back.
      • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @05:36PM (#13776934) Homepage Journal
        Well, why do people still ask about women getting into IT?

        It may have something to do with the fact that men and women are meaningfully different from one another, whereas "blacks" and "whites" are not.

        Put it the other way: if people are looking around for developers other than white, and not finding many, doesn't that strike you as odd?

        It certainly is odd. I find it much more striking that this is a racist attitude. I'm saddened that you seem to find this form of racism natural and acceptable.

        You have conflated equality of opportunity with equality of outcome.

        In any case the whole argument is difficult to grasp because of the sweeping generalities that are necessary to even have it. Stated differently; how do we know when the problem is fixed? Is it when all "black" people have jobs that are as good (by some yet undefined objective sense) as the average "white" person? Won't that mean that many "white" people are victims, since they will have less good jobs than any "black" person? If all "races" of people gained an equal footing in this country and then behaved in an equally racist way resulting in both equality of outcome and total factionalization of the nation would that constitute success in your eyes?

        The fact is that the only remaining institutional racism in this country is against strong performers in favor of lesser performers who will satisfy this pathological need for an equal outcome.

        The remaining racism is of a sort that can't be battled by legislation or quotas. It can only be fought one person at a time through human understanding. I think that if you can understand that you will have a more hopeful outlook and become a better champion of the disadvantaged.

    • You don't understand.

      Every career and profession and company has to have the proper percentage of each person that fits into categories such as various races, religions, ages, sexes and sexual preferences. Likewise, a certain percentage of inventions MUST be devised by an acceptable statistical alottment of each of these categories.

      I don't know if inventions are better or more useful depending on the race, sex or sexual preference and religion of the person inventing them, but if 12.85% of all inventions ar
    • He's your hero, thats enough.

      You mean he or she, you sexist clod.

  • Plus Three (Score:2, Informative)

    by Urban Legend ( 7340 ) [] - president is Hispanic, another one of the five partners (and a lead developer) is Alaskan Native. Plus Three has been around for over 3 years now, making us one of the old timers for Open Source.
  • so what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @04:01PM (#13776156) Journal
    Are you good close personal friends with all these "named IT/OSS/Web/CS innovators/developers"? Would you recognize them if you saw them?

    Do you really care if they're "of color", gay, jewish, albino, are incontinent, fear showers, or smell like alabama truckstop?

    I want software that works. Licensing is secondary; color of the developers isn't even a factor.

  • I read a lot of the *planet sites (like PlanetSuSE [], PlanetKDE [], and PlanetGNOME []), and know of at least two Hispanic hackers that seem really busy: Ximian's Federico Mena-Quintero [] and Rodrigo Moya [] (who I think is also a Novell employee).

    Then after clicking a few links, I found Fernando Magariños [], Ramón Morales López [], and Mauricio Hernandez [].

    I'm sure there are countless others...

  • If I do not count students from other nations, I cannot honestly remember anyone other than white guys (we prefer the term Cracker-American) in any of my CompSci or EE classes. Seriously, I can only think if a couple of girls as well. I did go to school in South Dakota...
  • by Zanguinar ( 60223 )
    but where else are there developers 'of color' and what are they working on?

    Why does it matter? I thought we were supposed to be racially unbiased and "color blind" these days. We're also supposed to be gender unbiased. Why do you care if the person who develops your FOSS is white, black, Chinese, Mexican, Portugese, Canadian, whatever? As long as it works...

    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

    • In liberal America being "color-blind" means doing lots of studies into peoples ethnicity and forcing it out as an issue. Then they say insulting things to "people of color" like "How does it feel to be a black foo?" as if it were any different for them than a white foo.

      Fscked up yes. But that's how it is. I'd be seriously insulted if somebody pulled that shit on me. "Oh, you're *white* and you managed to become a programmer? Good for you!"
      • "In liberal America being "color-blind" means doing lots of studies into peoples ethnicity and forcing it out as an issue. Then they say insulting things to "people of color" like "How does it feel to be a black foo?" as if it were any different for them than a white foo."

      • I agree with you, except for the "how does it feel" part. I think they're asking how it feels to be somewhat isolated (more than usual) in among all the white folk. Or whether they're being treated with respect or not. For example, when I go to a party and I'm the only white person there, it's perfectly fine for people to refer to me as "the white guy" and ask how it feels to be the only white person there. I guess it all depends on how it's phrased.

        BTW, white people should make an attempt every once in a w
        • I must be really weird because I've been that guy (both in groups composed mainly of blacks and of asians) and have felt perfectly fine. I admit that I tend to be a little strange in that there's not a whole lot that I worry about physically because I grew up training martially, but still...

          In fact, they usually wanted to drag me to their parties. *shrugs*
      • As a disabled person (ergo, a non-racial minority), it *is* different for me. I deal with prejudice that's explicit and open, prejudice that's quiet and subconscious, prejudice that people assume is "pro-disabled" - ignore the physical differences that make my life harder, and look at the way I'm treated by society, and you'll find that it *is* different.

        Granted, the "oh, you're foo and managed to become a programmer? Good for you!" sucks. But the fact that I find that patronizing doesn't mean my life an
        • I've always wondered why they started using the term disabled vs the term handicapped. Found that very weird when they switched.

          I thought handicapped was a much better term. Especially nowadays in the computer age, disabling something means totally turning it off. Whereas if you're handicapped it just means you are disadvantaged in some way.

          In golf, handicapping can be used to let people play the game on reasonably even terms.
  • I am recalling an issue that came up after the 2000 US Census. In previous censuses respondents typically indicated one racial category. In the 2000 census a substantial number of respondents indicated two or more racial categories. This led to an issue with calculating racial demographics in the aggregate. Specific racial identity (let alone skin color) at the individual level is nearly meaningless for a large number of people around the world.

    If you're looking for non-American people, I would recommend

  • Keep your ugly racial stereotypes off my free open source software.
  • Remember, if there's any shortage of any group somewhere, it's because of discrimination. (Unless it's a shortage of white people, then it's okay.) It's not due to any inherent differences in the given groups, because all people everywhere are all exactly the same!

  • by i_c_andrade ( 795205 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @05:01PM (#13776660)
    Basically because I get tired of seeing in Hispanic Business or other minority based trade magazines a total lack of innovators, they focus on COO's or some VP of finance. I tried to think of oh I dont know good role models for non-white kids to have when it comes to the tech world. My CS department [] and college graduate the 2nd highest number of hispanics in the US, and its just hard to think of people (due to well just know knowing of any) that I can point out to people and say "see they are a great [developer/innovator/developer] that you can use for a role model". Females have Admiral Hopper and Lady Babbige; who can minorities look to?
    • "Hispanic Business or other minority based trade magazines" are racist magazines, by definition. The simple test is replace [minority name] with "White" and see if it would be classified as racist. You would call anyone subscribing to "White Business" a racist, and so would I. Supporting these magazines and institutions is supporting racism.

      good role models for non-white kids...
      First, why are you singling out kids based on their race? Second, why are you telling these kids that race is important, and th
  • LOL! You really want to know about people with dark skin, right? You don't care if they are of African descent (more recently than the rest of us), or if they are American, or if they are African-Americans with light skin tones. You're looking for a chocolate-colored role model, regardless of anscestry or nationality.

    My girlfriend told me a story about a trip she took to Europe. Trying to point out a black man on the subway that she thought was attractive, she tried describing him (in German) to her frie
    • The term usually considered "correct" is "Der Afro-Deutsche" (Which is simply "African-German"). Will get you some weird looks still, because most younger people don't care about skin colour, ethnic group, religion, etc. too much (At least not in university cities, where there are way to many people from all parts of the world for that :-P) and most older people don't understand or appreciate political correctness (Which is often overdone, IMHO).
  • So long as you can get ACPI working on laptops I don't care if you're black, white, brown, yellow, green or pink with yellow spots. Just get it fixed, OK?

    Ed Almos
  • by Baikala ( 564096 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @05:36PM (#13776938) Journal
    This "ask slashdot" story is racist on itself. It would've been racist even the policaly correct term du jour (like "non anglo-saxon" or whatever) were used insted of the very racist "of color". Making a compleatly unfounded statistic remark about racial participation in "IT/OSS/Web/CS" projects is calling for more uninformed bable and flames.
    • This "ask slashdot" story is racist on itself.

      I don't see that at all. He spoke of his own personal experience, saying that he could think of only one notable non-white OSS developer, and asking for more. Racism isn't about noticing the very existence of race, it's about irrational bias based on it.

      Making a compleatly unfounded statistic remark about racial participation in "IT/OSS/Web/CS" projects is calling for more uninformed bable and flames.

      Go back and read the post again. He made no such remark. Was
  • No reason to care about details such as race, religion, etc. On the net, I'm just interested in opinions and code, but people posting here (or on USENET, or on blog sites, or on any other online forum I can think of) could have three arms and a prehensile forehead for all I care...

    Oh -- I do hate militant Packers fans, though. And Braves fans, but they got theirs (again) so it doesn't matter. :-)
  • No quite in the IT/OSS/Web/CS category, but still technology, I've always been very impressed with the work of Bell Labs' James West [], best known for his work with microphones.
  • My skin color is (RGB) #d2b48c - "Tan"; likely due to the Shawnee tribe my family married into a few generations back. Does that count?

    Admittedly, after October it fades to (RGB) #f0f8ff - "Antique White", but that's because I'm no longer wearing t-shirts outside.

    • I finally figured out why I keep coming back to Slashdot despite the trolls and the dupes.

      It's because there are people, like young joelsanda here, who are geekier than me, and they are a thing of great beauty.
  • I hear Windows has some pretty colors. Red, yellow, green, and blue... and they're organized into a neat little pattern. Problem is that that's the only part that works; the rest is just plain blue. I can never see Apple's colors because the products are always so frackin' shiny. The glare is just too much to handle. Linux has colors, too, from what I understand, but my framebuffer broke long ago, and all I see now is black and white at 80x32.

    I can still compute on all those platforms. Their color really
  • Derek Smart is a developer, and he's certainly famous in his own way.
  • Fuck em (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I_redwolf ( 51890 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:24PM (#13778985) Homepage Journal
    Reading this thread is interesting. Most minorities posters are seemingly frustrated for no reason about this topic. This is specifically to you who come across this. I'm an African-American male and I also experience racism and discrimination everyday. Just recently I was stopped over the Brooklyn Bridge for no other reason than my skin color. In Dec of 94 I started using free software exclusively. Currently, I work for a server company, most of my time is spent screwing around the kernel/selinux and distribution related crap.

    I learned all I needed to learn the day I realized I could make anything that I wanted to with the tools provided to me. That day, sometime in Dec of 94 (my age 13-14 or so) I realized that worrying about discrimination and racism was unimportant in this arena. I had the tools necessary to do whatever I wanted while also be compensated for it. Also realize that the world is much bigger than the USA which is largely the most racist. (I've also traveled a bit) You'll find racism and discrimination elsewhere but your software has no color and will be warmly accepted by the people who need it; once it fits their needs.

    The racist and discriminatory persons should be of no matter or recourse to you. Ignore them for the most part when it comes to matters like this. Concentrating your efforts on your work are more important and will produce better results. I'm sure some racist and discriminatory people benefit from some of my opensource work everyday. What are you going to do? I see it as a win; win all around. People are entitled to their views and opinions. I'm not racist and discriminatory and I'll fight it where it makes sense. Here's not one of the places it makes sense.

    My views for everyone else are that there are less minorities in computing because the initial cost of computers were prohibitive for most. That combined with social stigmas, general disdain towards said groups and lack to equipment made it extremely difficult. I'm only lucky in the aspect that at the time my parents are what one would deem upper middle class and could afford to purchase me a Fountain PC 80286 with 5 1/4 floppy. As of current, its primarily an education problem but with free distributions and word of mouth I expect to see more minorities entering the arena in the next decade. Especially in their own countries.

    As much as i'd love to regulate this argument to being primarily a class issue (which would at least be better than what it actually is). That isn't fair. The class issue is part and parcel because of the race issue. A majority of poor which is considered "class" are also black/hispanic. They are poor because a majority of the wealthy are white who then predicate discriminatory and racist behavior.

    Free software changes all of this though. Minorities or people who feel oppressed economically now have all the tools needed in modern day to change that. No longer does one need to feel dependent on anything other than their capabilities and imagination to survive.

    So you can complain, or you can get a copy of binutils, glibc and gcc and get to work. It's not easy and nothing ever is. There will be days you wish gdb actually fucking worked and good days. Whatever the case; use your mind and creative talents to change the world.

    You'll find that the people who are really good at what they do don't care what your skin color is and if they do. You're better.

    As for naming inventors. Lewis Latimer was a black scientist that created the electric lightbulb and the first air conditioner. Worked with Edison. The house he did all of his work in was recently moved to Queens. Interesting fellow and i'm lucky enough to have met the person involved for a majority of this. I even got to see his original patents. GE donated to the restoration and we held the opening ceremony last year. All in all it was a fun ceremony and it inspired me even further.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel