LinuxChix is a women-oriented Linux community. It is designed to provide both technical and social support for women Linux users, although men are encouraged to help and contribute. Members of the community are referred to as "a Linux chick" (singular) and "LinuxChix" or "Linux Chix" (plural) regardless of gender.
LinuxChix was started in 1998-99 by Deb Richardson, who was a technical writer and web-master at an open source consulting firm. Her reason for founding LinuxChix was to create an alternative to the "locker room mentality" of other Linux User Groups and forums. LinuxChix discussion is meant to follow two principles:
- Be polite.
- Be helpful.
Leadership and structure
LinuxChix started out as an electronic mailing list, but soon graduated into a community with regional chapters in several places around the world. In 1999 LinuxChix consisted of a single mailing list, grrltalk. The growth of this mailing list led to the establishment of other mailing lists, beginning with techtalk for technical discussions and issues for discussion of women's political issues. LinuxChix was first noticed when ZDNet published an article on it, which was cross-posted on Slashdot.
Deb Richardson ran LinuxChix until 2001, when she handed over global coordination and hosting to Melbourne programmer and writer Jenn Vesperman. Jenn Vesperman ran the community in a mostly hands-off fashion, delegating almost all tasks including mailing list administration and website maintenance to a group of volunteers. During Jenn Vesperman's tenure, the number of mailing lists tripled. Her tenure saw the foundation of the newchix mailing list for people new to Linux; the courses mailing list used by Linux Chix to teach each other specific topics; and the grrls-only mailing list, the only list closed to male subscribers, founded by Val Henson in 2002. At around the same time, a LinuxChix IRC server was created.
The term LinuxChix refers to the organisation centered around the official website, the mailing lists and the IRC channels. The organisation has no official status and the name is used by other groups which are comparatively loosely affiliated with the original LinuxChix group, including local LinuxChix chapters which meet in person, and several national and continental groups which operate more or less independently.
In March 2007, Jenn Vesperman announced that she was retiring as the coordinator, and invited nominations for a new LinuxChix coordinator. In April 2007 Mary Gardiner was announced as the new coordinator, and planned to serve as coordinator until 2009, however she resigned in June 2007. Currently it is led by three lead volunteers known as the "Tres Chix" who are elected by popular vote. The current coordinators from August 2007 onwards are Sulamita Garcia, Akkana Peck, and Carla Schroder.
There are chapters around the world. For example, in 2004 a chapter started in Africa. In March 2007, on the International Women's Day, Australia's two LinuxChix chapters united to form a nationwide LinuxChix chapter called "AussieChix". Also in 2007, the New Zealand chapter was established.
Some local LinuxChix chapters hold regular meetings, others only meet up on special occasions, such as welcoming a Linuxchix member into town, or in conjunction with various technical conferences. In 2007 members of the Sydney chapter organized a LinuxChix miniconf at linux.conf.au at UNSW. Many chapters also organize events on special occasions; for e.g., in 2005, LinuxChix Africa organized an event to celebrate Software Freedom Day at Wits University.
The Indian chapter (aka IndiChix) which was featured in the Economic Times recently[when?]  has started an initiative for Linux labs in a number of cities in India. This would serve as a space equipped with PCs (or women could bring their laptops) and an internet connection where women can learn more about Gnu/Linux, collaborate and meet each other to contribute to the Libre software community. Currently[when?] the labs have gone live in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune.
Other "-Chix" named women's groups
In 2006, LinuxChix inspired the creation of WikiChix, a wiki and mailing list for female wiki editors to discuss issues of gender bias in wikis, to promote wikis to potential female editors, and for general discussion of wikis in a friendly female-only environment.
- "LinuxChix is a community for women who like Linux and Free Software, and for women and men who want to support women in computing. The membership ranges from novices to experienced users, and includes professional and amateur programmers, system administrators and technical writers." - LinuxChix - Main Page
- Lisa Bowman (September 15, 1999). "She-geeks confess love for Linux". ZDNet News. Archived from the original on 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Karlin Lillington (September 23, 1999). "Web Watch:Linux lasses". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Adam Turner (April 2, 2002). "Linux grrls break free". The Age. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Jenn Vesperman, Val Henson (June 27 – July 2, 2004). Building and Maintaining an International Volunteer Linux Community. Proceedings of the 2004 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, FREENIX Track. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- Time for a new LinuxChix coordinator
- Liz Tay (LinuxWorld) (April 4, 2007). "LinuxChix announces new international coordinator". Computerworld. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- Naomi Hamilton (June 19, 2007). "Girl trouble forces top LinuxChix to quit". Computerworld. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- "LinuxChix coordinators". LinuxChix homepage. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- Indo-Asian News Service (April 13, 2006). "An African bid to educate women on IT". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Melissa Draper (March 7, 2007). "Australia's LinuxChix unite to form AussieChix". Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- LinuxChix NZ Press Release (26 February 2007). "Announcing Linuxchix New Zealand". Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Women flock to Linux talkfest, Original proposal
- Portrait: LinuxChix Brazil's Sulamita Garcia
- Open source message hits Wits University
- IndiChix featured in the Economic Times