Lucas Kanashiro & Debian/Canonical/Ubuntu female GSoC intern relationship
Chris Lamb bastardized the Debian keyring in September 2018. All disclosures of private and personal information are a consequence of Lamb's rudeness to volunteers.
At least once every week we are reminded about the false accusations against one of Debian's former administrators in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC). It is time to look at the facts.
The allegations relate to the Debian GSoC 2018 program. The list of selected interns is here. There are three women on the list. All three women are from Kosova. All three women were invited to DebConf18 in Taiwan. They were all invited back again for DebConf19 in Brazil. They received cash from Google, training, significant travel and accommodation benefits, references and improvements to their career prospects.
The administrator/mentor who was wrongly accused received an email on 13 June 2018 denying his request for travel funding to attend DebConf 18. He did not attend DebConf18. He did not attend DebConf19. As he was not there, it is impossible for him to be implicated in some of the allegations. The refusal to fund his travel appears unreasonable given the effort mentors put into GSoC every year.
Let's look at the stories of the three women.
Elena Gjevukaj was married during GSoC 2018. The wedding was shortly before her travel to Taiwan. It seems unlikely that she had a romantic interest in any of the mentors. Here is a wedding photo. It is incredibly cruel to this woman and her husband to suggest that she might have been party to any other relationship. We congratulate them on their marriage and wish them a happy future together.
Diellza Shabani was selected for GSoC 2018 and immediately after her selection she was offered employment on even better terms from a German company with an office in Kosovo. They also gave her a Thinkpad. The Thinkpad is worth as much as the whole GSoC stipend. Google sends every intern a pre-paid credit card at the beginning of the internship. Google did not deliver the card to Diellza at the same time as other interns. She did not receive the initial $500 payment until 6 weeks after other Google interns. She tried to do GSoC and the other job at the same time. Who wouldn't? The DebConf bursary team awarded her a ticket to DebConf without any communication with the mentors about her progress. Therefore, the mentors hoped she would catch up at DebConf. In practice, the opposite happened: when three young female students arrived at a conference with 300 men, nobody cared about helping them with their projects. After the trip to Taiwan, this woman decided to resign from GSoC and focus on the long term job opportunity. We congratulate her on her success. While we don't like snooping on the love lives of interns, we want to be sure that no woman and no mentor is unfairly accused. Multiple people can confirm that this woman was in a relationship with a man in Kosovo throughout this period in 2018.
Enkelena Haxhija is the woman who had a relationship with a mentor. There is no wrongdoing on the part of the woman. Enkelena is a formidable woman who did more work than most participants in these programs while also enjoying a relationship with a mentor. Enkelena does not need to influence any mentor to earn a pass in the GSoC program, she is that good. Enkelena has strong political interests too. Imagine if the roles were reversed, a male student having a relationship with a female mentor. In fact, French President Emmanuel Macron married one of his teachers from high school. She is 24 years older than him. We will not be surprised to see Enkelena Haxhija running for public office in Kosovo.
This is Enkelena on stage promoting her country.
To make it absolutely clear, in many ways we do not see this as the typical relationship between a woman and a mentor. The man would not be a mentor in her eyes: in many ways, this woman is simply superior to a lot of the men in Debian.
The mentor concerned is Lucas Kanashiro, an employee of Canonical Ltd, the company making the Ubuntu operating system. Kanashiro was not a mentor for Enkelena's project, he was mentoring another project. Nonetheless, it was unacceptable for any mentor to have a romantic relationship with any student in any organization during the course of the program. Somebody leaked this in the diversity girls email but it has been confirmed by multiple independent sources.
We did not choose to name the parties to this relationship to bring attention to this blog. Rather, we felt we had to publish these names for a combination of reasons:
- To clear the names of all the other women and mentors who have been wrongly suspected over a period of three years now. Debian owes every one of these people an apology.
- One of the mentors has been wrongly accused in posts on social media, the Debian Bug Tracking System, mailing lists and LWN.
- The woman was the leader of the bid for Kosovo to host DebConf and the mentor's employer, Ubuntu is both one of the main DebConf sponsors and also one of the biggest derivatives of Debian. Therefore, there are concerns about the integrity of the bid process.
- One of the administrators leading the mentor team was Molly de Blanc, girlfriend of the former Debian Project Leader, Chris Lamb (the Mollamby couple). It appears that people wanted a scapegoat so that Molly would not be linked to the scandals in Debian's GSoC and Outreachy programs.
- The mentor who has been falsely accused had resigned at a time when he lost two family members. The childish vendettas coming out of the Debian cabal have been a gross violation of his family's privacy.
Many interns are only offered one free trip after their internship. We notice that each of these women received two very expensive trips: DebConf18, Taiwan, in 2018, the year they did GSoC. DebConf19, Brazil, one year later. One of the women had not even completed GSoC, she had resigned to take a better job. Why would they invite an intern back again in that case? Google would not fund that. We suspect we know the reason for this: Debian wanted to create a smokescreen around the women having relationships. DebConf19 had six women from Albania and Kosovo. We have just confirmed one of the relationships. We have evidence of at least one more. Inviting all six women was a form of obfuscation and it is unfair to the women and mentors who did nothing wrong.