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Best of Reader Comments: No place for sexism in Linux

German gesture gets silicon.com's army of female readers up in arms...
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

German gesture gets silicon.com's army of female readers up in arms...

Once again it's been a busy week for the silicon.com virtual mail bag with reader comment flooding in on a number of subjects.

The story which attracted the most comment, however, was a controversial article entitled "Linux: 'So easy even a woman could use it'".

A few readers missed the point and assumed the headline reflected silicon.com's own opinions, when instead we were merely paraphrasing the rather un-PC sentiments of a German civil servant called Horst Bräuner, who believed that the way to convince council staff to adopt Linux was to show them that 'even' a woman could find her way around the open-source operating system.

One reader, Jane from London, wrote: "silicon.com, please rethink your headline before I stop reading your website. There are many women involved in Linux and your headline knocks all those achievements on their head. Ridiculous."

'Hear! Hear!' Jane. There are indeed a great many women working with Linux and we'd never knock the work they are doing, which is why we took the approach we did with this story because we wanted to invite criticism of Bräuner's stunt.

Elaine from England, seemed to get the point and made a good point of her own.

"I think the use of a woman demonstrating the Linux platform is inspired. It is a very clear demonstration that men are aware they can be easily manipulated by having their ego and their belief of themselves as 'Masters of the Universe' challenged. The fact that a man used his own weakness against his fellow men is, from a woman's point of view, very enlightening."

Meanwhile an anonymous reader from France wrote: "Blatant sexism. I hope the German feminists will sue them."

For another reader, Karen Challinor, it was very much a case of 'I see your generalisation and I raise you a generalisation'.

"Tact - so simple it may one day be taught to Germans," she wrote adding that the scheme is likely to "get half the computing community to use Linux by alienating the other half".

Another female reader from the US added: "You could have called this article 'The Art of Selling Linux' or even 'Selling Linux to the Reluctant'..."

We could have done indeed... if we didn't want anybody to read the story. But we decided instead to go for a headline that thousands of readers felt forced to read and comment upon and that sparked lively debate - shame on us for doing our jobs properly.

And as if to prove the point, one UK reader added: "I wasn't really interested in this story until I read the comments. It is not sexist nor is it saying women in general are not technologically minded. This is playing to egos, pure and simple; we see this kind of thing in advertising all the time."

We couldn't have put it better ourselves.

Have your say by visiting the original story and posting a reader comment.

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