(This post is for Ada Lovelace day, a new media event for raising awareness about women in technology.)
If you've been anywhere near a computer in the last 10 years, you've probably heard of something called Java. It's a programming language and run-time environment, which, over the last 14 years, has gone from being non-existent to being the most popular programming language in the world. Much of Java's popularity can be attributed to a woman named Kim Polese. Often described as a 'one woman marketing team', she insisted that Sun release Java technology without charging royalties: according to this interview, she said, "...it became pretty obvious to me that's[royalties] a good way to kill a new language. People just won't pay royalties. I was very insistent about that, and also about getting the source code out there."
It's no understatement to say that releasing Java in this way has revolutionized the software industry.
If you'd like to read more about Kim Polese, some other good interviews are here, here, and here. She is currently CEO of SpikeSource, an open source software company.
(Crossposted at Constant Thoughts)