[The following is a personal statement and should not be attributed to or
taken as approved by my employer. This is just the email account I use
for engaging with the LLVM community, so people will know who I am.]
At the recent EuroLLVM dev meeting, in the LLVM Foundation presentation,
President Tanya Lattner mentioned an initiative to encourage and promote
women's participation in the LLVM community in particular and compilers
in general, as an especially under-represented group important to our
I have a personal interest in a similar years-long effort within the
broader computing community: my older daughter is an undergraduate
intending to take a minor in CS, although her first love is chemistry.
Inspired by this example, let me say that I was pleased and proud to find
that my own sub-group was well represented at EuroLLVM, which is to say:
Men With Long Hair (MWLH).
For those not entirely familiar with this phenomenon, it is composed of
people who (a) are men, a subset of humanity not traditionally known for
wearing long hair at least in this modern era, and (b) have grown their
head hair long enough that putting it in a ponytail doesn't look stupid.
(There may be some dispute over whether you actually have to wear a
ponytail to qualify as a MWLH. I take a liberal position on this point,
meaning if you don't wear an actual ponytail but your hair does hit your
shoulders, that's plenty good enough.)
I should point out that participation requires years of effort (or at
least patience) and it is trivially easy to leave the group, so you can
be sure that any MWLH you see are genuinely dedicated (or maybe amazingly
lazy), whether or not they have personally faced any disapproval or
discrimination on this account. MWLH are often mis-identified as "hippies"
for example; while there is significant overlap between these groups, and
one could trace modern acceptance of MWLH back to that rebellious 1960's
sub-culture, the populations are far from identical. I myself have been
called a hippy multiple times, and although my older brother was the real
deal, I certainly am not.
I was unable to get a proper count or even estimate of the number of MWLH
at EuroLLVM, but I have to say just the informal observation of so many
others of my own kind was enough to warm my heart. I was especially
thrilled by David Chisnall's magnificent mane, and I am very happy that
we have representation on the LLVM Foundation Board in the person of
I appreciate that our acceptance within the community has been extremely
positive, with particular kudos to the Dev Meeting program committees who
have shown no perceptible bias on these irrelevant non-technical grounds.
I encourage everyone to follow this sterling example.
In conclusion, I applaud the entire community for their support and say:
[Paul's own venture into long hair was encouraged by a young lady with
3-foot tresses of her own, who sadly married somebody else but that was
not enough motivation to abandon his ponytail. His last visit to a barber
was in April 1982. But not April 1st.]