Valerie Aurora is the Executive Director of the Ada Initiative. She is also a Linux kernel hacker specialising in filesystem development (formerly full-time, now consulting/occasional), and a science and computing writer.
Valerie's former employers include Sun Microsystems (where she worked on the ZFS filesystem), IBM, Intel and Red Hat.
Linux work Edit
By default, some Linux distros use the "relatime" mount option. It decreases the number of metadata writes on ext3. It turns out, Valerie created relatime because Akkana Peck discovered that Mutt couldn't tell which mailboxes had new mail when using noatime.
She's responsible for some patches that shorten the amount of time needed to fsck an ext2 partition, along one that gets a 50% improvement on RAID 5 systems with ext3 and ext4. She also worked on a new filesystem architecture called ChunkFS. The goal of ChunkFS is to deal with the fact that as hard drives get bigger, fsck times get longer. She wants to be able to fsck smaller parts of the filesystem at different times, to avoid day-long fscks in the future. And yes, she wrote a working prototype.
It's not all filesystems though. She's got patches in libc to make malloc() more efficient. She worked on the TCP/IP stack. She was the maintainer for SMP PowerPC support in Linux. Device drivers? Done that too.
She's not keeping that knowledge locked up. She's spent countless hours mentoring. She taught Linux kernel development classes at IBM, and she was even kind enough to teach kernel hacking classes for LinuxChix (on the old site). One time, she held a real-time kernel development Q&A session on the LinuxChix IRC server. She also used to write "Kernel Hackers' Bookshelf" for Linux Weekly News
Women in FOSS advocacy Edit
Valerie once created a fake homepage titled Val Henson is a Man talking about how hard it is to pretend to be a woman in open source.
Former name Edit
Until 2009, Valerie was named "Valerie (Val) Henson". At the same time as her legal name change to Valerie Aurora, she began using her full given name "Valerie" more widely in order to better combat invisibility.