Canonical, Ubuntu & Debian DebConf19 Diversity Girls email

Debian, Outreachy, DebConf, student, intern, female, woman

On 8 March 2020, International Women's Day, somebody forged Mark Shuttleworth's email address to distribute or leak the email below.

The Debian Project Leader, Sam Hartman, accused another volunteer of distributing it. Eleven months have passed. Nobody ever gave any proof about the source of this message. Sam Hartman lied. He whipped up a mob much like Donald Trump at the US Capitol siege.

Sam Hartman, Debian

There is so much fake news on the Internet today. Why was Sam Hartman, leader of Debian, so enraged when somebody leaked the concerns about unethical romantic relationships in GSoC and Outreachy mentoring? Where there's smoke, there's fire. That's why.

Rogue elements of Debian take the approach that this is a hobby and they can do what they want. If we care about diversity that is not good enough.

Is the email below sexist itself? Or does this email simply expose the sexism and misogyny that Debian doesn't want the world to know about?

Subject: Fwd: debconf19 diversity girls
Date: Sun, 08 Mar 2020
From: Mark Shuttleworth <>

behave yourselves!


please don't name the girl

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: debconf19 diversity girls
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 08:31:50 +0000 (UTC)
From: Sam Hartman <>
To: <>

Debian is not an employer and when we gather at DebConf
we are not under any centralized control. Some of us are
paid to be there by our employers and some of us choose
to come as volunteers. Nobody works 24 hours per day
for 10 days at DebConf and when people are not working
there is no reason they can't engage in any romances.
Our diversity programs have become overwhelmingly popular
and at every event now we have young women coming
on diversity bursaries. Some of these women are
participants in the current round of GSoC or Outreachy
and some of these women want to join the next round.

So many of these diversity bursarie girls are having
a connection with internships. Almost all the others
have no jobs, they are looking for jobs and they are
under pressure to please people.

Debian has never said anything to ban romances with
these women. We already assumed the mentors would
not get romantic with the interns in the current round.
But it needs to be really clear that no Debian Developer
should become intimate with any woman in the current
round or any woman who is preparing to apply for
subsequent rounds of GSoC and Outreachy.

A problem has been discussed at DebConf19 and it was
seen too at DebConf18. The boy involved is a member
of the Debian mentors team so this is one case where it
is definitely off-limits. The relationship did
not involve a woman he mentors personally but
it was also very clear to the mentor that this
woman had an interest in the program, there is no
way he could have been unaware of that.

He is also a Canonical/Ubuntu employee. We believed he
comes to DebConf as an employee, he is not a Debian
employee of course, so there was discussion with Canonical.

Canonical said they would resolve the issue as an internal
company issue. Some other people became concerned because
Canonical is a DebConf sponsor and maybe I'm being too
lenient on their employee. If other Canonical management
were not at DebConf, how would we handle this issue with
any other volunteer from a different company?

The woman and the other people who share her room don't
want to comment on the issue. We thought this was a dead end.

There is nothing more going to happen here but please
now remember if you are a Debian Developer, even
if you are not a mentor, if you meet somebody at an
event who indicates any interest in our mentoring
programs within the next year, you need to maintain
a professional relationship with this person.

You can also withdraw from Debian, then you are
free to purse any relationship of course. This is
not only for mentors, it has to be for all of us.


Debian Outreachy intern diversity girls unethical