09.15.20

Gemini version available ♊︎

Gerrymandering in Free Software Communities

Posted in Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software at 5:49 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

One of the revelations from the expulsion of Dr Norbert Preining is the role of Laura Arjona Reina (larjona) sending him nasty emails a few days before Christmas.

Drawing attention to an email chain like this inevitably encourages other victims to ask for help. We now know that Dr Preining isn’t the only recipient of harassment and abuse from Arjona. With that in mind, we are doing a more thorough analysis to see if other victims of the Anti-harassment team will come forward.

Dr Preining has contributed many years of effort maintaining the LaTeX packages. Debian records show that Arjona is only a novice, non-developing Developer who has been present for a much shorter period. Unlike Dr Preining, Arjona never contributed a single package.

Let’s see how Arjona interacts with Dr Preining:

From: Laura Arjona Reina

Date: 27 Nov 2018

Subject: Blog disabled on Planet Debian



… snip …



we believe the recently published post

https://www.preining.info/blog/2018/11/on-lars-wirzenius-fun-and-debian/

has a tone that is inappropriate for Planet Debian.



Maybe it’s written with no intention to do harm, but it seems it’s not written to *not do harm* either

Tone policing at its worst. Dr Preining didn’t do any harm but maybe he was thinking about it so trigger-happy Arjona censored him just in case. Beware the Thought Police!

Dr Preining replied politely to Arjona and after a week of radio silence, re-enabled his blog without that particular post being visible.

From Dr Preining’s perspective, the radio silence continued for another couple of weeks. Rather than trying to establish a dialogue with Dr Preining in a professional manner, Arjona was sneaking around in the corridors of the palace, trying to get support for a drone strike.

Out of the blue, days before Christmas, without any warning or any professional attempt at communication whatsoever, Dr Preining received:

Subject: Debian Developer status

From: Debian Account Managers <da-manager@debian.org>

Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2018

To: Dr Preining



… snip …



We do not believe that you currently

have any intention of being a constructive member of Debian, and we see

little hope for improvement as it is.



Therefore, we are revoking your status as a Debian Developer with

immediate effect. You remain a Debian Maintainer for a minimum of 6

months, after which you can apply for getting your Debian Developer

status back.

How could they make such a conclusion about somebody who has done decades of work for Debian and free software users? It is completely out of touch with reality.

Imagine for a moment that you were a novice female developer and you want to have this level of influence to call these drone strikes and expel people high above your pay-grade. How do you get that power?

Most answers to that question are really degrading to women but this is what people say about Debian when they see the emails certain women are sending to the developers like Dr Preining. Nonetheless, there is at least one other possible explanation.

It appears that this was some kind of gangster’s initiation ceremony. For example, low level gangsters in London are challenged to prove themselves by sneaking into the backseat of a woman’s car while she pays for fuel.


Debian community team, anti-harassment, code of conduct

In northern Italy, not far from the Debian Snow Camp, police secretly filmed an initiation ceremony of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia (alternative link to video):

Send in the Clowns

Yet the case closest to Laura Arjona Reina’s right-of-passing may be the Carnival Mafia murders in the USA.

One of the workers at the carnival convinced more junior colleagues that he was a representative of the carnival mafia. He offered them the opportunity to join this fearsome group if they would volunteer to snuff out some more senior carnival associates who operated a rival food van. It is a tale remarkably similar to the plot to snuff out the more experienced and respected developer Dr Preining. (alternative link to video)

Carnival novices followed their orders to the letter, just as Arjona may have been manipulated into this plot by those around her.

Detecting Thoughtcrime™

Arjona’s initiation task was to expel somebody for the evils of thoughtcrime™ and Dr Preining was the random victim she picked.

Unfortunately, one of the carnival victims was able to put in a call to the police before they had completed the killings and disposed of the bodies. In much the same way, Dr Preining was able to raise the alarm and now we can all see how Debian is propagating the most vulgar aspects of Debian culture to junior members like Arjona.

The non-developing developers

Our emphasis on gender is no accident. We believe in diversity.

Let’s have a closer look at where Laura Arjona Reina sits in the non-developing developer keyring.

debian non-uploading developer, women, statistics

The main developer keyring has less than two percent women. The non-developing developer keyring has thirty-one percent women. Why this huge gender disparity?

If you randomly select somebody from the non-developer keyring, they are almost sixteen times more likely to be female than somebody randomly selected from the main Debian Developer keyring. These people are permitted to vote and to participate in the debian-private (leaked) gossip network but are not trusted to do anything else.

Whenever a system of segregation like this appears, the same pattern emerges.

debian non-uploading developer

There are various Debian-specific explanations for this disparity.

One suggestion is that they’ve been given these honorary titles to help them get jobs, such as the title that former Debian Project Leader Chris Lamb gave to his girlfriend, Molly de Blanc when she had to leave her job at FSF. Shortly after, she was given a job that was never advertised at GNOME Foundation.

Another theory is that this disparity represents and perpetuates mistrust of women. Being on the non-developing keyring implies that the person is not trusted technically to modify an operating system and furthermore, it implies there is no point trying to train these people. As females appear so much more likely to be shunted away there, it gives us an insight into the way Debian’s stalwarts perceive women’s future potential. In other words, most women will never be trusted, so they should not set their sights higher than non-developing developer status. This behavior in Debian is entirely consistent with practices in industry: for example, a recent study (Birminghamton University, State University of New York) found that 34 percent fewer women receive pay for college internships.

The most compelling theory is that the non-developing developer keyring is simply a giant gerrymandering exercise. Incumbents have created this inferior status which allows their wives, girlfriends, male partners and a few political allies to vote in project elections, diluting the votes of people who do the real development work. These votes act as a buffer against calls for accountability and reform.

When serious female developers recognise a barely-disguised system of segregation like this and they see the former leader’s girlfriend being catapulted into keynote speaking opportunities, they run a mile. Gender disparity is therefore perpetuated.

Call for witnesses

Have you experienced harassment and abuse from Laura Arjona Reina or anybody else in Debian’s Anti-Harassment team? Please email the Debian Community News Team so we can investigate and assist you.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Microsoft Staff Trying to Subvert the Freedom of Gemini (Without Disclosure of the Paymaster)

    Looking back at the past couple of years, it seems like Microsoft staff and boosters were more than eager to steer developers away from freedom and into Microsoft's cage



  2. Gemini Gone Mainstream: German Media Now in Geminispace

    With the likes of TAZ embracing Geminispace/Gemini Protocol we seem to have reached some sort of inflection point; taz.de did in fact add official presence to Geminispace



  3. Links 28/1/2022: LSFMM 2022 and 2021 UI Study Results From Elementary's Distro

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 27, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 27, 2022



  5. Links 28/1/2022: GNU Poke 2.0 and OPNsense 22.1 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Links 27/1/2022: Archinstall 2.3.1 and Nix 2.6.0

    Links for the day



  7. On the Internet, Trust Should Not Become Centralised

    “Trust” is a word that lost its meaning in the era of “TPM” and fancier names for 'Palladium'; we need to reject this idea that computers need to check with Microsoft if the operating system is trusted (not just Windows!), check with Gulag/Chrome if a Web site is trusted, and whether it's OK to run some application/s on one's own computer (as if Jim Zemlin et al get to decide what is trusted)



  8. Microsoft-Connected Publishers Suffer and Perish With Microsoft (While Peddling 'Fake News' for Their Beloved Sponsor)

    IDG and other fake news outlets/networks/sites (selling to companies flattering articles about themselves or renting out 'news space' to them, not just ad space) want us to think Microsoft is doing very well, but it's just that same old Ponzi scheme



  9. Links 27/1/2022: Mabox Linux 21.11 Herbolth and PipeWire 0.3.44

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 26, 2022



  11. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

    With the EPO so flagrantly lying and paying for misinformation maybe we should expect Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos to have delusions of grandeur… such as presiding over the Eastern and Western District of Europe, just like Mr. Gilstrap and Mr. Albright (political appointment by Donald Trump, ushering in “the swamp”)



  12. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

    As shown in the charts above (updated an hour ago), the relative share of ‘Linux’ Foundation (LE/LF; same thing, same office) in the capsules’ certificates has decreased over time; more and more (in terms of proportion) capsules choose to sign their own certificate/s; the concept of ‘fake security’ (centralisation and consolidation) should be rejected universally because it leaves nobody safe except plutocrats



  13. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC



  14. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

    The 'Ministry of Truth' of the patent world is turning the EPO's Web site into a propaganda mill, a misinformation farm, and a laughing stock with stock photography



  15. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

    Microsoft boosters such as Bogdan Popa and Mark Hachman work overtime on distraction from the failure Vista 11 has been (the share of Windows continues to fall relative to other platforms)



  16. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

    Links for the day



  17. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

    Microsoft keeps promoting the utterly false concept that everything is not secure and there's nothing that can be done about it (hence, might as well stay with Windows, whose insecurity is even intentional)



  18. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

    The corporate media, looking to appease its major sponsors (such as Web/advertising giants), won't tell you that Gemini Protocol is rising very rapidly; its userbase and the tools available for users are rapidly improving while more and more groups, institutions and individuals set up their own capsule (equivalent of a Web site)



  19. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 25, 2022



  21. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  22. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

    Patents and science used to be connected; but now that the patent litigation 'sector' is hijacking patent offices (and even courts in places like Texas) it's trying to shove a Unified Patent Court (UPC) down the EU's throat under the disingenuous cover of "community" or "unity"



  23. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

    Links for the day



  24. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

    The diaspora to Gemini Protocol or the transition to alternative 'webs' is underway; a linearly growing curve suggests that inertia/momentum is still there and we reap the benefits of early adoption of Gemini



  25. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”



  26. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?



  27. Free Software is Greener

    Software Freedom is the only way to properly tackle environmental perils through reuse and recycling; the mainstream media never talks about it because it wants people to "consume" more and more products



  28. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 24, 2022



  30. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts