A Socio-Cultural Exploration: Geekus Unixus Microsoftus

by jcannon on September 28, 2007 03:09pm

Frequent visitors to Port 25 may be familiar with Paula Bach’s HCI and ICT work from her blogging over the summer.  What may not be familiar to many is the collaborative work we’ve done with Tracy Kennedy at the University of Toronto around the intersection of technology and communities. Open source is clearly a manifestation of this intersection.

Tracy’s work is impressive, and while her doctoral thesis examines the integration of the Internet into Canadian households, and how pervasive household internet use has led to its domestication – she does find time for lighter fare.  One such example – the ‘Geekus Unixus Microsoftus’ (pdf) was published by Tracy in March of 2007. Through humor, Tracy uses primary research and empirical data obtained through interviews with employees to examine the culture of a UNIX expert working at Microsoft - and how they relate to other technology 'clans'. An excerpt follows:

“In uninhabited areas of web a new clan of hybrid technologists have been spotted: the Geekus Unixus Microsoftus (GUM). As the prevalence of interoperability between platforms and between commercial and open source software continues to grow, this report provides a socio-cultural overview of the GUM clan – a hybrid group of UNIX individuals working at Microsoft. An investigation of cultural habits, social customs, and personal experiences in a previously uncharted terrain is documented. It is hoped that technologists (from whatever platform) may better understand this new clan and endeavor to co-exist peacefully with them so that we can all benefit from their initiatives.”

We're excited to post it for Port 25 readers to enjoy. We welcome people's thoughts on the paper & we'll certainly invite Tracy to join the discusson.
- Jamie.

More About Tracy Kennedy:
Tracy Kennedy is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her doctoral thesis examines the integration of the internet into Canadian households, and how pervasive household internet use has led to its domestication. Tracy is also a research consultant in virtual and physical worlds. She has organized several virtual world events such as the 2007 Second Life Conference for the Communication & Information Technology section of the American Sociology Association, and a blended reality event at Vancouver’s Centre for Digital Media in British Columbia that featured an Open House for the new campus in both worlds. Tracy recently returned from an internship with Microsoft in Redmond, Washington where she worked closely with the Community Technologies Group and Games User Research Group to examine gaming networks, women’s online gaming experiences on Xbox Live, and the issues the industry faces in attracting non-traditional gamers. Tracy is also a lecturer at Brock University and the University of Toronto on the subjects of media, culture, ICTs, gaming & virtual environments, higher education and gender. Check out Tracy’s blog: http://netwomen.ca/Blog/


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