ROSE Blog Interviews: Ellen Siever, co-author of Linux in a Nutshell
ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange
The latest release of O'Reilly's well-respected Linux in a Nutshell book recently hit bookstore shelves. Co-author Ellen Siever answers the ROSE Blog interview questions:
Q: Who are you?
A: I'm Ellen Siever. For many years I was a mainframe assembler language programmer, working at several companies in the Boston area. Later, I joined O'Reilly, where I stayed for almost 8 years in various capacities, including working in the tools group and as a writer and editor. Since leaving O'Reilly, I've continued to freelance for them, working on a book about the X Window System that never saw the light of day and on Linux in a Nutshell (which I've been an author of since the second edition). I'd used Unix before working at O'Reilly, but it was there that I got interested in Linux and open source.
Q: What are you currently doing in open source?
A: I've just finished working on the sixth edition of Linux in a Nutshell, and I regularly use Linux and other open source software, particularly OpenOffice.
Q: You're speaking to a group of women from other fields who are considering switching careers. Why should they consider moving into an open source-related career? What should they know about the open source environment to prepare them for the transition from a different field?
A: Switching careers is not always an easy thing to do, especially in a difficult economic environment. Open source is a particularly good choice because it is so open, because there is so much variety, because it's still a relatively young field and is growing, and because you can jump in on a volunteer basis to get started. Install Open Source software on your computer and experiment with it; look into the source code if you're a technical person and see how it's put together. Find a project that appeals to you and volunteer. You'll get experience, you'll provide a service, and you'll get to know other people in the open source community. This applies to everyone, female or male.
For women, I'd say that open source can sometimes feel like a men's club, and you might want to find other women to network with. One group that I know of, for example, is LinuxChix. On their web page, they describe the group and also have a list of other organizations for women working in open source. Also try social networks like Twitter or Facebook to connect with other open source women.
Q: You're speaking to a group of high school students (male and female). Why should they consider exploring career options in open source?
A: My answer to that is very similar to the previous one. One difference is that high school students have a longer timeframe and therefore have more time to explore different options. Again, a good way to get started is to experiment with the software, examine the source code, and find a project to volunteer for.
Check back later this week for my interview with Lawrence resident and Linux in a Nutshell contributor Stephen Figgins.comments powered by Disqus
Popular open source encryption tool is vulnerable to attack
New “Yakkety Yak” edition emphasizes cloud and servers
Google finally enters the phone hardware business.
Innovative system adds a hard drive and Ubuntu Core to the RPi for an IoT hub.
Linux is two weeks younger than we thought!
The Apache Software Foundation considers retiring OpenOffice
Adobe won’t kill the plugin in 2017
Linux Foundation's big event celebrates the 25th anniversary of Linux
Linux has evolved from “won’t be a professional” project to one of the most professional software projects in the history of computers.