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Twenty-five women have been accepted for participation in the GNOME-led Outreach Programme for Women which runs from January 2 to April 2, according to a media release from the GNOME Foundation.

These women will undertake internships with various companies and projects such as Deltacloud, Fedora, GNOME, JBoss, Mozilla, Open Technology Institute, OpenITP, OpenStack, Subversion and Wikimedia.

The money for the program comes from the participating organisations and also Google, Red Hat, Rackspace and Elego.

The programme has helped the GNOME Project to markedly increase the participation of women; at its 2012 GNOME Users and Developers European Conference (GUADEC), 17 per cent (41) of the attendees were women. At the 2009 GUADEC, only six women (4 per cent of attendees) were present.

Also, in a recent survey of free software newcomers to 12 organisation, GNOME rated highest with 50 per cent of the responders being women. The highest percentage from any other organisation was 15; collectively the other 11 organisations had only 6 per cent of women responders.

Seven of the internships are being sponsored by Red Hat - three for its own Fedora Project, and one each for Deltacloud, GNOME, JBoss and OpenStack.

GNOME is one of the most popular desktop environments for Unix systems; it was started in 1997 by Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero. The GNOME Foundation is a body dedicated to supporting GNOME.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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