Letters

LJ readers sound off.
We're Getting Better

You've just ensured my continued subscription.

Thanks for picking up Stan Kelly-Bootle. When I subscribed to UNIX Review, Stan's column was the icing on the cake; later, during UR's migration to “Performance Computing”, I found Stan's column was the only thing I was reading in that periodical. Now, I'm happy—no, ecstatic—to see that Stan is contributing to Linux Journal.

The content of Stan's first LJ column seems a little “dumbed down”; perhaps Linux users aren't as educated or sophisticated as UNIX users. Regardless of motives or machinations, I'm very glad to see Stan in one of my favorite magazines again.

—Sean Russell ser@efn.org

Maybe Stan was just getting his feet wet with that first article —Editor

Proprietary Software As God

I do not agree with your magazine's apparent worship of every proprietary software package released for Linux. It is good that Linux is growing in popularity, but you miss the point. Particularly in the February 2000 article in the Forum called “Matlab—A Tool for Doing Numerics”, you disappointed me greatly. GNU Octave is a great program that is a replacement for the proprietary Matlab. It is version 2.x, so it has been around a while and works. It can even import Matlab files. The Octave developers deserve our support and thanks for giving of themselves. The Matlab creators do not.

—Pat Mahoney pat13@gmx.de

In the July 1997 issue, we ran an article entitled “Octave: A Free, High-Level Language for Mathematics” by Malcolm Murphy. We have presented many articles on free software and how to develop it. Our column “Focus on Software” is devoted to free software. If you think we worship proprietary software, you obviously haven't read any of Jason Kroll's articles. Creators of both free and proprietary software for Linux deserve our support —Editor

How Many Daemons...

In response to Jason Schumaker's article “The Wide World of Linux” (/article/5381), there were only three daemon women and only one of them in latex, a custom outfit of her own choosing. She was a volunteer; the other two women were actresses from a local agency and wore normal red jeans and blouses. All three women enjoyed themselves immensely and expressed great interest in doing this again (it was the volunteer's second appearance; she also did this at COMDEX). Funny how it's always the uninvolved making value judgments about what's sexist and what's not—yet another common defect in human nature. :)

Anyway, since Jason felt compelled to rip on our booth, I figured the least he could do would be to rip on it accurately. Here's some photographic evidence which may also jog his memory for those all-important details: www.freebsd.org/~jkh/lw2000/daemonbabes.jpg and www.freebsd.org/~jkh/lw2000/daemonbabe.jpg.

—Jordan Hubbard jkh@FreeBSD.org

I had intended to write something more here, but I must say the names of your jpg files say it all—daemonbabes, indeed! And what's up with bsdchicks.com? It is true that the uninvolved are often the ones making the value judgements, and that is usually true because the involved don't recognize the sexism in their own actions. —Marjorie Richardson, Editor

The Dæmoness Herself

As one of the BSD girls, the only one in latex, and the one who uses the OS and was there as a volunteer, I believe Jason Schumaker (“Going for the Gold”, /article/5164) wins the hypocrisy award for assuming none of us were doing this on our own volition, or knew anything about BSD or Linux. ;) And, hey. Coffee substitute and FAQ-answering roles included, it was a great show. And I'll include my congrats and a “great job” to Elthia, the woman in the dustpuppy outfit.

—Cerene@uclink4.berkeley.edu

For many years, I was a programmer in the oil industry and attended many SEG (Society for Exploration Geophysicists) conventions. At the first ones I attended, most of the booths had pretty women dressed sexily in much the same manner as the dæmon “girls”. These women were actresses who were hired for their looks and charm to attract the many men in the industry to the particular booth they worked at. I was offended that women were being used as sex objects and that men were considered stupid enough to fall for such tactics. All these women were happy to have jobs and seemed to be having a good time—this attitude does not change the inherent sexism of the situation. The conventions did not change until enough women became a part of the oil industry to have their voices heard.

BSD's motives may be pure—Mr. Hubbard's letter certainly seems to indicate he feels they are. But looking at the pictures on his site certainly reminds me of the bad old days in the oil industry, and the time and effort women put into changing this sort of attitude. Perhaps using a dæmon guy would help, and costumes not so tight and low-cut.

Jason Schumaker made neither of the assumptions you say he did. I congratulate him for being sensitive to this issue and willing to say so publicly. Congratulations to you on knowing and using BSD! Perhaps when you start thinking of yourself as a woman instead of a girl, you will understand the difference between the dæmon costumes and that of the dustpuppy.

—Marjorie Richardson, Editor

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