History of OWOOT
Oceania Women of Open Tech (OWOOT) was formed in October 2011, but grew out of women's groups in the region active since 1999.
LinuxChix, a worldwide group for women in Linux, was founded by a Canadian woman, Deb Richardson, in 1999 and has continued as a very active group since. A number of regional chapters of LinuxChix have formed over the years, allowing members of LinuxChix to meet locally and interact with their local communities.
Sydney and Melbourne LinuxChix chapters 1999–2007
Two small LinuxChix chapters in Australia were founded in 1999 in the very early days of LinuxChix: Julie Gibson founded a chapter in Sydney and Alex Bayley a chapter in Melbourne. Mary Gardiner organised the Sydney chapter from 2002–2007, with vital help from Sara Falamaki, Pia Waugh and Myrto Zehnder in continuing it in 2006. Claudine Chionh convened the Melbourne chapter for most of its lifetime. Both the Sydney and Melbourne chapters met periodically for many years until the foundation of AussieChix, but remained quite small, with an ebb and flow in both membership and active involvement.
In January 2007 Mary Gardiner from the Sydney chapter ran a successful one day LinuxChix miniconference at linux.conf.au 2007 with help from Sara Falamaki and Stephanie Miller. Speakers and attendees at the miniconference came from both the Sydney and Melbourne chapters as well as from the international LinuxChix group. More than 60 women attended the event and was part of the cause of the highest female attendance numbers at linux.conf.au in the entire history of the conference.
Mary met a number of women from outside Sydney and Melbourne at linux.conf.au who wanted to be part of local LinuxChix activities. The community heard about the success of the Brazilian chapter, from its founder Sulamita Garcia, which was also part of the inspiration behind Mary's decision to form AussieChix.
The AussieChix website and mailing list were set up in February 2007 ready for the official launch on March 8 2007, International Women's Day.
AussieChix continued until October 2011, when its website and mailing lists became the OWOOT site instead.
New Zealand LinuxChix, 2007–2011
Brenda Wallace, Joh Pirie-Clarke and Penny Leach founded New Zealand LinuxChix in 2007 after the LinuxChix miniconf at linux.conf.au. It was closed in April 2011 after a period of inactivity. The creation of OWOOT to cover the entire region was a response to the closing of New Zealand LinuxChix.