2. Microsoft Removes “Big Boobs” Coding Gaffe
The BBC reports that the hexadecimal string 0xB16B00B5 — which can apparently be read as “big boobs” — was found “lurking in code that helps a Microsoft program work with Linux open source software.”
Observing that someone “was trying to be funny, I guess,” developers who oversee the core, or kernal, of the Linux operating system detected the code. Microsoft responded swiftly and says that it has created a patch to replace the spelling of the string in an update:
Commenting on the gaffe, developer Dr Matthew Garrett noted that the first version of the Microsoft code used a similar string of 0x0B00B135 – a form of letters that roughly translates to “boobies”.
“Puerile sniggering at breasts contributes to the continuing impression that software development is a boys’ club where girls aren’t welcome,” Dr Garrett wrote.
A “huge debate” has ensued about “whether use of the string was sexist and how male developers should conduct themselves.”
CNET‘s James Farrar says that the code is one reason for “dismally low minority and gender representation” in the tech industry. The detection of the code follows another embarrassing incident for Microsoft in June when ”inappropriate and offensive elements and vulgar language” was used at a song and dance routine at the Azure Norwegian developer conference.
Women in top positions in the tech industry — not only Mayer but Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman and IBM’s Virginia Rometty — may “represent the exception rather than the rule for women in tech.”
Yes, we need to encourage more girls to study in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields. But we also need to keep on the pressure on those (mostly white males) in those fields to say, yes, great about Mayer. But real changes in tech culture and in conditions for women — and in attitudes towards women — are vital for Silicon Valley to “maintain its position as the global innovation engine, against competition with dozens of fast growing innovation centers around the world.”
Next: Ellen Pao and Sexual Harassment in the Valley
Photo by Annie Mole
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