Shuttleworth apologises for last year’s comments at LinuxCon

Remember how last September in a keynote speech at LinuxCon, Mark Shuttleworth (Self-Appointed Benevolent Dictator For Life of the Ubuntu Linux project) made a series of comments including one about how “us guys” in the Linux community have trouble “explaining to girls what we actually do”? At the time, I posted an open letter to Mark, saying,

I’d like to invite you to think about the message you’re sending to women in the Linux community, and, if you didn’t mean to convey the message that we’re technical illiterates and hard to educate, consider apologising publicly.

There’s a followup post with more information, and in November last year Shuttleworth responded in comment on another post on the subject. However, he did not apologise at that time.

So, I’m glad to be able to report that the other day, in the comment thread on a post about “tribalism” on his own blog, he offered an apology after prompting by Máirín Duffy and Carla Schroder:

I apologize unreservedly to all offended by my poor choice of language on that or other occasions.

Better late than never! I know that several Ubuntu women I’ve spoken to are pleased and relieved that Shuttleworth finally apologised, even if it’s not a textbook apology. So, thank you, Mark. I hope you’ll continue listening to the women in your community, and think about the effects of your words in future.

4 thoughts on “Shuttleworth apologises for last year’s comments at LinuxCon

  1. A.Y. Siu

    I apologize unreservedly to all offended by my poor choice of language on that or other occasions.

    At least he didn’t apologize if he offended people. Still, I’ll believe the apology when I see more examples of “us” including both genders and examples of computer illiterates including both men and women of all ages, not just “granny.”

  2. Carla Schroder

    It’s a very short comment buried in a giant mass of comments. Better than nothing, but just barely.

  3. Carla Schroder

    In fact, the more I think about this the more it looks like SSDD– same sexism, different day. A geekboy’s feelings are hurt! Oh noes! Many thousands of words are expended in open debate and healthy discussion! Big highfalutin’ concepts are introduced like “Tribalism is bad! Racism and sexism and many bad things are because of tribalism!” Then some uppity girl (Mairin Duffy, yay!) says “OK, how about living up to your own words? Remember that sexist talk you gave a year ago?” A tiny inconspicuous apology is emitted. Several comments of the “Oh you whiny grrlz are still getting your panties in bunches over something that happened a year ago? That wasn’t offensive anyway?” follow, and are not challenged. And yet Greg DeKoenigsberg is still mad at something Mark Shuttleworth said way back in 2007, and that is worthy of Healthy Open Discussion and Healing. Also noteworthy is those comments were worthy of Healthy Open Discussion way back then too, unlike the Linuxcon keynote.

    So the moral is still: this is geekboy’s work, y’all girls go run along now.

  4. the scrum mistress

    I think. I’m gonna be. Sick.

    But seriously what he said there is no different from what I get in the office every day. He is sorry but he isn’t. He actually thinks that what he said is true. Until people change the way they think then apologies for what they say are meaningless and more than a little patronizing.

    If he apologised for his backward and sexist attitude and thinking processes then maybe there would be some point to it.

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