Frequently Asked Questions

Jennifer Vesperman
Deb Richardson

Converted to Docbook XML: Mary Gardiner

Copyright © Jennifer Vesperman and Deb Richardson. All rights reserved.

1 Why did Deb start LinuxChix?

This was Deb's answer in the original FAQ:

There are two answers to this question. First, I started LinuxChix because I thought it would be fun. Happily, I can report that my suspicions were correct. The second answer is a bit longer.

I started LinuxChix because I got tired of seeing new users being browbeaten for asking "stupid" questions. I got tired of seeing people respond to perfectly valid questions with "RTFM", or "we're not a Linux help channel", and other such not-terribly-useful things. I got tired of the locker-room mentality of the more popular online Linux forums.

I started LinuxChix as an attempt to create a more hospitable community in which people can discuss Linux, a community that encourages participation, that doesn't allow the quieter among us to be drowned out by the vocal minority.

There is a growing misconception that this vocal minority is representative of the Linux community in general, and I wanted to do my part in making sure that new Linux users realize that this is not the case. The vast majority of the people in the Linux community are good, friendly, helpful, generous people. These people don't have time to sit and post on a web-based Linux forum, however, because they're too busy out there trying to get real work done. The result is that the popular web-based forums tend to be populated largely by people who have little better to do with their time.

And that vocal minority has a strong tendency to be brash, harsh, and intolerant of people who know less than they. This scares new users off, and reflects badly on the Linux community as a whole. LinuxChix is one attempt to offset the damage done.

I'm also happy to report that it's working. One very telling quote: "The large egos are what turned me away from seriously running linux for years. It's only once linuxchix came along that I felt comfortable enough to really dive into it."

And that's exactly why I started LinuxChix. To give women who use Linux a comfortable environment in which to discuss the OS they love; to create a community that encourages and helps new users; to make others realize that the vocal minority does not necessarily represent the Linux community in general.

2 Is LinuxChix solely for women? Are the lists solely for women? How about the chapters?

LinuxChix is intended to be an inclusive group where everyone is and feels welcome. We do ask, however, that everyone keep in mind that it is primarily inteded as a womens' group. What this means is: sexist remarks are unwelcome. In fact, Deb originally asked that everyone avoid all sweeping generalizations: sexism can be targetted at men as well, which is also significantly uncool. All the silly -isms are discouraged and will not be tolerated: sexism, ageism, racism, etc.

No, the lists are for everyone, with the exception of the list, which is women-only.

As long as people are generally polite and helpful, anyone is welcome on the other lists. The LinuxChix co-ordinator reserves the right to change this policy at any time. Please try to remember that these are lists primarily meant for women. Act as if your mom/sister/daughter were subscribed, and everything should be fine :).
"This is a list for respectful and supportive discussion of issues regarding women, linux, and their intersection. Discussion of gender issues is encouraged, however we're striving for an environment free of the same old patriarchal influence we face at work and from the other high-tech boy's clubs."
--Taken from discussion on the list.

Remember the posting guidelines: 1) be polite, 2) be helpful. That's all we ask.

Some of the chapters have found it necessary to restrict their membership to women. Check the chapter's individual guidelines on the website, or ask the chapter's membership.

3 If men are welcome, why call it LinuxChix?

LinuxChix is intended to be primarily for women. The name is an accurate reflection of that fact. Men are welcome because we do not want this group to be exclusive. Also, not everyone who considers themselves female is necessarily biologically female. "Sex" and "gender" are very different things.

4 What's a linuxchix chapter and how do I find one?

The LinuxChix regional chapters exist in several places around the world. These chapters have been formed to give women who use or are interested in learning about Linux a way to meet other women with similar interests. These chapters are loosely organized, informal, and they don't require (or imply) any form of membership or fees. Mostly it's just women hanging out with women, talking tech over coffee (and/or cheesecake :). You can find the list of chapters at

5 How do I start a LinuxChix chapter in my region?

Starting a chapter is quite simple. Find people on our lists or elsewhere who live in your area and might be interested in joining.

Once you have some people who are interested, you should arrange semi-regular meetings. Holding "official" meetings once per month is usually standard, with "unofficial" meetings happening more spontaneously as people decide they want or need them.

Email and give them contact details for your chapter (your email at a minimum, or a chapter website if there is one) so that they can link to you from the chapters webpage.

There are more suggestions for starting a chapter at

6 Who drew the LinuxChix logo?

The current LinuxChix logo is RoboTux by Colin Adams.

More information on the various logos can be found on the logo files page.

The original LinuxChix logo was done for Deb by her immensely talented friend Tom B, whose web site has unfortunately disappeared.

7 Who hosts the LinuxChix site and mailing lists?

For the first year of its life, LinuxChix was hosted by the very friendly and helpful people at Networking Services.

Between March 2000 and June 2001, LinuxChix was hosted at, who generously donated space for the project.

Linuxchix is currently (since June 2001) hosted by Jenn and Dancer Vesperman.

Thanks to everyone. Your generosity is astounding.

8 Who is running LinuxChix?

LinuxChix was imagined and started by Deb Richardson. She ran it until June 2001, when she handed it over to Dancer and Jenn Vesperman.

We're now running it, with the subsections handed over to various volunteers. We're incredibly grateful to the volunteers - they protect us from burnout!