Perceptions of the State of D&I and D&I Initiative in the ASF

Mariam Guizani, Bianca Trinkenreich, Aileen Abril Castro-Guzman, Igor Steinmacher, Marco Gerosa, Anita Sarma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Open Source Software (OSS) Foundations and projects are investing in creating Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives. However, little is known about contributors' perceptions about the usefulness and success of such initiatives. We aim to close this gap by investigating how contributors perceive the state of D&I in their community. In collaboration with the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), we surveyed 600+ OSS contributors and conducted 11 follow-up interviews. We used mixed methods to analyze our data-quantitative analysis of Likert-scale questions and qualitative analysis of open-ended survey question and the interviews to understand contributors' perceptions and critiques of the D&I initiative and how to improve it. Our results indicate that the ASF contributors felt that the state of D&I was still lacking, especially regarding gender, seniority, and English proficiency. Regarding the D&I initiative, some participants felt that the effort was unnecessary, while others agreed with the effort but critiqued its implementation. These findings show that D&I initiatives in OSS communities are a good start, but there is room for improvements. Our results can inspire the creation of new and the refinement of current initiatives. Open Source Software (OSS) is widely used in society (e.g., Linux, Chrome, and Firefox), and contributing to these projects helps individuals learn and showcase their skills, so much so that the history of contributions are increasingly being analyzed by hirers. However, the people who contribute to OSS are predominately men (about 90%). This means that women and other minorities lose out on job opportunities and OSS projects lose out on diversity of thought. OSS organizations such as the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) promote a variety of initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion (D&I) in their projects, but they are piece-meal and little is known about contributors' perceptions about the usefulness and success of these initiatives. Here, we surveyed and interviewed ASF contributors to understand their perceptions about the state of D&I in the ASF and the effectiveness of existing D&I initiatives. Our findings show that individuals who are in the minority face chal-lenges (e.g., stereotyping, lack of peer-network, and representation in decision making) and contributors' perceptions of the D&I initiative are a mixed bag, ranging from commending the current efforts to considering them to be 'lip service'. These findings suggest that current D&I initiatives in OSS communities are a good start, but much needs be done in terms of creating new successful initiatives and refining current ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2022 ACM/IEEE 44th International Conference on Software Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationSoftware Engineering in Society, ICSE-SEIS 2022
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages130-142
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781665495943
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Event44th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering: Software Engineering in Society, ICSE-SEIS 2022 - Pittsburgh, United States
Duration: May 27 0202 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
ISSN (Print)0270-5257

Conference

Conference44th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering: Software Engineering in Society, ICSE-SEIS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPittsburgh
Period5/27/02 → …

Keywords

  • D&I initiative
  • Diversity
  • Open Source Software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software

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