This Week in Programming: Dear Tech Conferences, Do Better
Last week, we briefly wrote about how the Linux Foundation decided to ban someone from attending the upcoming Kubecon+CloudNativeCon 2019. It’s a singular example of a tech conference, arguably, doing something right: having a code of conduct that’s meant to provide “a harassment-free experience for all participants” at an event that exists “to encourage the open exchange of ideas and expression and require an environment that recognizes the inherent worth of every person and group” and enforcing it. As you might expect, a certain subsection of Twitter lost their collective shit over such logical fallacies as slippery slopes and the idea that their “free speech” was somehow being infringed upon (For those of you interested in the full story of what led up to last week’s events, please take the time to go and read Cher Scarlett’s retelling and analysis, titled “Propaganda and Other Lies We Tell”).
Moving on to the thing that has me again thinking about tech conferences, and their need to do better, is a tweet this week from AWS “Container Czarina” Abby Fuller, pointing out that the 48 speakers of the DevOps Pro 2019 conference were… 100% men.
i see we're still doing all-dude conference lineups in 2019 thenhttps://t.co/LqMp96l9oL
— Abby Fuller (@abbyfuller) November 12, 2019
The conference’s organizers did not immediately respond to our email query for comment. But Fuller’s concern sparked plenty of conversation across social media. The majority of responses to Fuller’s tweet were others shaking their heads in disgust and offering their sarcastic reasons for why no “DevOps pro” women could possibly be found to speak at such a conference.
— Liz Fong-Jones (方禮真) (@lizthegrey) November 13, 2019
But look at the diversity! They’ve got dude speakers with long hair, dude speakers with short hair, dude speakers with beards, dude speakers with no hair at all, some dudes have glasses and some don’t…
— Graeme Harvey (@graemeRharvey) November 13, 2019
But, of course, then there’s the inevitable “hot take” (or three) that comes along to say, well, obviously you’re all wrong and not looking at this in a logical, statistical, reason-based (ahem, “manly”) way.
It is unfortunate, then again the industry is ~90% dominated by men, and being a woman shouldn’t give any special privileges when in comes to selecting quality speakers. I’m not saying your presentation is bad, I’m saying maybe their proposals were better. 🤷🏻♂️
— Ȥεkε (@ezequiels) November 13, 2019
We all knew these arguments were coming, didn’t we? They always do and they always have. So, for the next time you run into this, here are two useful counters to this. First, an article that asks how likely is an all-male speaker list, statistically speaking? and offers a mathematician’s take on the subject. Spoiler alert, it’s statistically very, very much NOT likely. But in case that isn’t enough for you, you can always head on over to the Conference Diversity Distribution Calculator, which “models the probability distribution for male/female speaker balance assuming random selection” and generally finds that “the likelihood of an unbiased selection process yielding a line-up with no women at all is far lower than intuition might suggest, and — depending on the numbers you plug in — can often be far lower than the likelihood of their over-representation.”
There are about 50 spots listed here, and 50% of the population is women. If the selection process was not biased, there was a 0.0000000000000008817% chance of that happening. Someone should either buy a lottery ticket, or perhaps take a long hard look in the mirror.
— Jason Lenny (@j4lenn) November 13, 2019
This Week in Programming
- Devs Need Spelling and Grammar Too: Earlier this month, JetBrains, the company behind the IntelliJ IDEA, released a spelling, grammar and style checker for developers, according to an article in SDTimes. The checker goes by the name Grazie, and looks at the text in your code that “is for humans, not the compiler: string literals, comments, Javadocs, commit messages” and all the rest that “requires at least some knowledge of English or other natural languages,” according to a blog post by JetBrains. By default, Grazie comes with English support, but it is able to add 15 other languages. JetBrains also explains that Grazie is perfect for developers who may be coding something for use by speakers of another language: “For example, if you are a Russian native and your English is not ideal, Grazie has rules to highlight common mistakes that Russian speakers make in English text.”
- Golang Hits Double Digits: That’s right, the Google-backed Go programming language has ten years under its belt since its first release and now a slew of blog posts have been written to celebrate this fact. To bring you back to 2009, they note that “Go’s original target was networked system infrastructure, anticipating what we now call the cloud” — that’s right, 2009 was pretty much pre-cloud, in the form we know it today — and they remark that Go has become the language behind much of the open-source cloud, including Containerd, CoreDNS, Docker, Envoy, Etcd, Istio, Kubernetes, Prometheus, Terraform, and Vitess. Now, a decade later, there are more than a million Go developers worldwide, and another blog post celebrates its expansive growth in the enterprise, as well. Nov. 10 marked Go’s 10th anniversary — a milestone that we are lucky enough to celebrate with our global developer community.
- Got Questions About Go? Go.dev: Alongside the language’s celebration of double digits, the Go team also unveiled a new hub for Go developers with Go.dev, which will provide visitors with learning resources, use cases, and case studies of companies currently using Go. It will, of course, also provide documentation and information about Go packages and modules, at pkg.go.dev. According to the blog post announcing the new site, the launch is a “minimum viable product […] so we can share what we’ve built to help the community and get feedback.” So, give it a visit, and hit that “share feedback” button.
- OpenJDK Making Moves to GitHub? There’ve been quite a few changes in the Java world as of late — Java EE became Jakarta with control moving from Oracle to the Eclipse Foundation — but despite promises otherwise, OpenJDK has remained just a bit less open than it could be. Well, according to an article in InfoWorld, the push to have the OpenJDK repo migrate to GitHub has gathered steam recently. As they write, “the migration plan has been under consideration for some time, with the proliferation of Git tools and reducing the size of version control metadata cited as reasons” but little progress has yet been made. A new proposal, however, “formally refines the process to explicitly name GitHub as the target of the migration,” so a move to GitHub may, finally, be underway soon.
- GitLab Gets “Code Navigation”: GitLab has said that, with its Sourcegraph integration, native code intelligence is coming to the site, providing capabilities like “go-to-definition” and “find references” among others. The integration will also give developers the ability to explore function implementations with a hover-over tooltip that will show the function’s definition, references to that function, and the ability to navigate to the function. Essentially, GitLab’s integration with Sourcegraph will give developers “a richer UX by gathering more information about the code they are reading” and will be available in the GitLab 12.5 release on Nov. 22, eliminating the need for the current browser extension.
- Bytecode Alliance Wants a Solid Foundation for WebAssembly Outside-the-Browser: Mozilla has launched the Bytecode Alliance, an “industry partnership” involving Mozilla, Fastly, Intel, and Red Hat that envisions “a WebAssembly ecosystem that is secure by default.” Basically, software today is being built using lots of external source code, they say — upwards of 80% — and “bad guys are taking advantage of that… at a dramatically increasing rate.” So, the Bytecode Alliance is working to provide “solid, secure foundations that can make it safe to use untrusted code” by building a “common, reusable set of foundations can be used on their own, or embedded in other libraries and applications.” Currently, this set includes runtimes, runtime components, and language tooling, all of which can be read about in the rather lengthy post — or you can get the gist by heading over to the FAQ.
- GitHub Universe: Last but not least, there’s a plethora of news from GitHub Universe 2019, but little time to cover it all, so we present to you GitHub’s TLDR. Read on to find out all about GitHub’s new Security Lab, GitHub for mobile, GitHub Enterprise Server 2.19, the general availability of GitHub Actions and much much more.
github being down is the closest thing you get to a snow day at school as an adult
— I Am Devloper (@iamdevloper) November 14, 2019
KubeCon + CloudNativeCon and the Linux Foundation are sponsors of The New Stack.
Feature image: DevOps Pros.