14 Dec 2011

The Real Linux Girl: Friends Told Me That My Place Was in the Kitchen.

Today my blog post is very unusual. I have never done this before. I wanted to, but up until now I have never invited another Linux-related person for interview.
Please meet, Irina Sikach, an editor of magazine UserAndLINUX.

DarkDuck: Hello Irina. Could you please introduce yourself?
Irina Sikach: Hi Dmitry! First, I want to say that I am very pleased to talk with you. I’ve heard a lot about you resource and recently started to read it regularly.
I am an economist by profession and now I get the second education in Telecommunication University on speciality "Information networks".
At the same time I’m a Chief Editor of Ukrainian Linux-related magazine ”UserAndLINUX”.

DD: How did you come to the world of Linux?
IS: My entry into the world of Linux was very interesting. As I told earlier, I am still a student. Right now, I write my graduation work. My thesis director said that I cannot properly write my thesis if I do not use Linux “as native” OS. I study in technical academy, so the word “Linux” was not new for me, but it was only a word. I met my friends some time after that conversation, and they told me: “Linux – it is not for you. You are a girl, and your place is in the kitchen…“ Something like this.
It did not hurt me. Other way round, I wanted to prove that Linux is not for boys only. I began to interest what Linux is all about. I started to read Linux-related forums. It looked interesting for me, so I decided to go deeper and get my own hands dirty.

DD: What was your first experience? Which version of Linux have you tried first? And what was the impression?
IS: My first version of Linux was Ubuntu 10.04. When I first saw it, my first impression was: "What is this??? Where my 'My computer' is? How can I establish the Internet connection!?" As you can see, I was pretty much frustrated.

DD: You are an editor of serious Linux-related magazine. How did you become one?
IS: One day I was acquainted with representatives of Ukrainian IT-company UALinux on one of Linux-related forums. This company has several businesses, including publishing of UserAndLINUX magazine. The magazine was undeveloped business of them. I wanted to try to manage this direction, and now I’m a Chief Editor of UserAndLINUX for more than a year.

DD: What is your magazine about? Please tell more to readers of my blog.
IS: First, a want to say that our magazine is oriented to simple users, such as teachers, students, economists, to those who just started to use Linux in daily life and at work. Of course, it should be interesting for programmers, system administrators, and other IT- and Linux- specialists too. As a rule, each issue has its own topic, such as Android, Ubuntu, Linux in education and so on.
It is published in Ukraine in Russian language.
The magazine consists of several sections, such as:
  • News – hot news in open source world
  • Software - interesting and useful software under the issue topic
  • Hi-tech - news from the world of technology and hardware running on Linux-based and other open source operating system
  • Education - hardware and software, which is based on work under the Linux operating system, used in science and education
  • Help - section, which describes a variety of options and advice on using of OS Linux
  • Business - hardware and software, which is based on work under the Linux operating system, used in science and business
  • Game – Linux- and Android-based games
  • Other – interesting facts and stories from open source life

DD: Do you write for your magazine yourself, or you are only supervising the process?
IS: Yes, I write for the magazine, and I like this. Unfortunately, I only have time now to write reviews of software that is being developed by UALinux.

DD: If you had more time, what would you write about?
IS: I would like to discuss so important for present Ukraine topic such as licensing and the use of open source software at the national level.

DD: Looking at you, I would think you could be an editor of some fashion or glam magazine. Why Linux?
IS: My parents always persuaded me to get “proper” profession. “Proper profession” for them was being either a teacher, or some kind of technical speciality. I chose to get technical specialty, that’s why I frankly had no chance to become an editor of fashion magazine.

DD: What are your favourite Linux distributions, Desktop Environments, applications?
IS: I use the Ubuntu repository developed by UALinux in my daily life. It is Unity-based. I also have to work in Mandriva Linux, so I accustomed to KDE too. I can say that I am equally comfortable in KDE and Unity.
Since I work mostly in the Internet, I use nothing special, except for browsers and office applications. From time to time, I have to test all the software, which we write about in the magazine. I think it counts as “applications”, but I can’t tell which of those are my favourites.

DD: You are the real Linux girl... What are your plans for future?
IS: Of course, my main goal is to take the magazine to a decent level. I want it to be useful for readers and at the same time to make profit for people who are working on it. It is now fuelled by enthusiasm only.
As for Linux-girl ... I've heard about women Linux-community, and maybe I'll try myself in this direction soon.

DD: Thanks for coming, Irina! I know you publish articles from my blog from time to time in UserAndLINUX, and I hope our co-operation will continue. From my side, let me wish the great success to you and to the magazine.
IS: Dmitry, thanks for inviting me! I am always pleased to publish your article in a magazine. They are very popular among readers. I hope for further cooperation too. I wish you inspirations and success in the promotion of Linux.


  1. "I met my friends some time after that conversation, and they told me: 'Linux – it is not for you. You are a girl, and your place is in the kitchen…'."
    Seriously? In this day and age, there are people who would say that? I will just say, people who say stuff like that aren't friends — they're trolls. Keep up the awesome work!
    a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

  2. Interesting article, both about Ms. Sikach and about the magazine. But, really — Irina is running a magazine, she is an economist by profession, she is going to school again for Information Networks... and you call her a Linux *girl*? She sounds like an accomplished woman.

    I'm with PV, don't let people hold you back, Ms. Sikach.

  3. I agree with previous sentiment. Well done Ms. Sikach, keep up the good work!

  4. Hmmm her first experience with Linux was Ubuntu 10.04...

    Calling her a "real Linux girl" is a little insulting to those of us females that have been using Linux longer and have shown more dedication to it, like Linux Chick for example...

  5. Of course there's a woman who finds something wrong with this picture.

    Maybe calling her "real linux girl" more emphasizes that she's not staying in the kitchen? Nooo, that can't be because someone is giving her the attention and that attention is away from someone else.

    Yeah us men hear that we are jerks all the time and yes there truly are stupid men. However, women are much worse towards each other. Bunch of backstabbers.

  6. Hey Anonymous,

    Instead of being sexist and flailing about like an elbowed footballer, perhaps you should shut your trap.


    Yes there are many women who have been using Linux for much longer and are much more involved. However, I think Darkduck means that she seems to have jumped in with both feet, into a culture of mostly men, many of whom are sexist a la signori Anonymous. I assume that you are active in the Linux community (I can't see your blogger profile) and I commend you for it. The community of Linux needs to be more inviting to women, and I am disheartened to hear the Ada Initiative has not really got off the ground. However, the GNOME Womens Outreach program seems to be doing very well. In conclusion, thank you for being involved in the community (of which you are more part than I) and being vocal. Sexism doesn't just go away because we want it to.

  7. Do a search for Jonquil McDaniel.

  8. She is far too pretty to work in a kitchen. I imagine that she would do a very nice waitress! Anyhow, all this geek talk about her doing Linux is because the geeks do not know any other way to talk to women than to talk about Linux. That being said, the geeks need some love, too, and so she might as well work for a Linux news paper.

    Do not waste your time bothering about stupid boys though. Move on once you outsmart them. You do not want to hang around geeks for the rest of your life.

  9. Why not to hang? There are geeks that support constant self-improvement and it is always interested to stay in touch with those.