James Pearce, who heads Facebook’s open source TODO project, announced that IBM, Yahoo, and Microsoft have joined the firm’s TODOgroup, (TODOgroup.org) aimed at helping companies discuss OS project questions. Pearce disclosed the new members of TODOgroup, which was formed just a month ago, at the All Things Open Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center on Thursday morning.

In another headline news, DeLisa Alexander, executive vice presieent and, chief people officer at Red Hat announced that nominations are open at its web site for its just created Women in Open Source Award as part of its effort to encourage more women to adopt technology careers.

“The award is the first of its kind and is intended to create role models for women, who are vastly underrepresented in technology fields. Diversity in the workforce is important for many reasons, Alexander said, yet while women make up 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, only 12 percent have computer jobs and a meager 1.5 percent are open source contributors.

It’s certainly not that women can’t do it, she said. The programmers of the very first computer, Eniac, were women.

Alexander urged the mostly male audience of OS developers, entrepreneurs and business executives to do what they can to encourage more women to enter the technology field. For one thing, she said, many tech companies, including Red Hat can’t find enough talent to solve their customers problems? Not using nearly half the workforce is one reason, she suggested.

Pearce noted that Facebook has had a checkered history with its OS projects, but is committed to cleaning up its act. He noted that open source has been an integral part of Facebook since founder Mark Zuckerberg cranked out the initial code in a Harvard dorm room years ago.

When it comes to hundreds of OS projects on GitHub, a repository for such projects, it didn’t manage its process well, though. “We haven’t always been good at this,” he said, “So about a year ago, we decided to reboot and get our house in order.”

He noted that a third of all new engineers who start at Facebook cite its OS projects as something that attracted them to the company. When they join Facebook with a knowledge of an OS project Facebook started, they get up and running in two weeks rather than six months, he added.

The TODOgroup is intended to help companies answer questions about policies for doing OS projects within a company or privately, licensing concerns and other legal matters, and much more. “In coming months we hope to spool up debate on these and other topics” he said.