Valerie Aurora

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Valerie Anita Aurora
Valerie Aurora headshot.jpg
Born Val Henson
United States
Residence San Francisco
Alma mater New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Occupation Feminist activist
Known for Founder of the Ada Initiative
Awards O'Reilly Open Source Award

Valerie Anita Aurora[1] is the co-founder of the Ada Initiative,[2] a non-profit organization that seeks to increase women's participation in the free culture movement, open source technology, and open source culture. Aurora is also known within the Linux community for advocating new developments in filesystems in Linux, including ChunkFS and the Union file system.[3] Her birth name was Val Henson, but she changed it shortly before 2009, choosing her middle name after the computer scientist Anita Borg.[1] In 2012, Aurora, and Ada Initiative co-founder Mary Gardiner, were named two of the most influential people in computer security by SC Magazine.[4] In 2013, she won the O'Reilly Open Source Award.[5]


Aurora was raised in New Mexico, and was home-schooled.[3] She became involved in computer programming when she attended DEF CON in 1995.[4] She studied computer science and mathematics at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. She first became involved with file systems when she worked with ZFS in 2002 at Sun Microsystems. She later moved to IBM where she worked in the group of Theodore Ts'o, where they considered extensions to the ext2 and ext3 Linux file systems. While working at Intel, she implemented the ext2 dirty bit[6] and relative atime. Along with Arjan van de Ven, she came up with the idea for ChunkFS, which simplifies file system checks by dividing the file system into independent pieces. She also co-organized the first Linux File Systems Workshop in order to figure out how to spread awareness of and raise funding for file system development. As of 2009, she worked for Red Hat as a file systems developer as well as a part-time science writer and Linux consultant.[3]

Ada Initiative

Already an activist for women in open source, she joined Mary Gardiner and members of the Geek Feminism blog to develop anti-harassment policies for conferences[7][8] after Noirin Shirley was sexually assaulted at ApacheCon 2010.[7] Aurora quit her job as a Linux kernel developer at Red Hat and, with Gardiner, founded the Ada Initiative in February 2011.[9] The organization is named after Ada Lovelace, who worked with Charles Babbage and is considered to be the world's first computer programmer.[7]


  1. ^ a b Morgan, Mackenzie (March 24, 2009). "Ada Lovelace Day heroine: Valerie Aurora". Ubuntu Linux Tips & Tricks. Retrieved March 28, 2012. 
  2. ^ Aurora, Valerie (2011-02-07). "The Ada Initiative launches". LWN. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Layton, Jeffrey B. (July 14, 2009). "File System Evangelist and Thought Leader: An Interview with Valerie Aurora". Linux Magazine. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Earls, Alan. "Influential IT security minds in 2012: Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner". Reboot 2012. SC Magazine. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "O'Reilly Open Source Awards". Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  6. ^ This feature lets the user to skip file system checks after a crash (for example after a power fail), but only if the file system was idle at the time of crash.
  7. ^ a b c Quart, Alissa (May 17, 2013). "When Geeks Attack". Marie Claire. 
  8. ^ Alex Bayley (2011). "Please donate to the Ada Initiative’s “Seed 100″ campaign". Culture/Tech. Infotropism. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  9. ^ Valerie Aurora (2011). "The Ada Initiative launch announcement". The Ada Initiative. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 

See also

Further reading

External links