Python software foundation (Steve Holden)

Tags: europython2009, europython, python

His goal with this talk: connect the Python foundation to us, the community.

The PSF (Python software foundation) has 112 members, most of whom are not core developers. Anyone that has done something for Python (code, organizing, blogging) can be nominated by any of the current members. You must have demonstrated some commitment.

Nobody knows how many Python users there are. But usage is growing. So we can expect a lot of new users. The nice thing about Python is that it has always been a friendly and welcoming community.

One thing that needs improvement is the newcomer-friendliness of the website. Ruby and openoffice are both examples of sites that are more enthusing and user-oriented. Steve’d like a new home page strategy: make it obvious you can do extremely cool things with Python. Help wanted! ought to be more of a portal that shows the vibrant community and the many projects that are available. News from projects. Job announcements. The Python planet links.

There are a lot of cool things done with Python. See the wx toolkit’s demo. Or the Phatch photo editor.

The conference activity is vigorous. Pycon, international pycons (from Brazil to the UK), EuroPython, etc. Unconferences are also appearing. PSF supports the conferences with grants.

There’s help needed for Python’s core developers. First patches people contribute often get effectively ignored. They fall in a black hole.

PSF has handed out development grants in the past. A big success here is the support given to jython (just enough to keep the project alive until Sun took over sponsorship). Jython is now at the level of cPython 2.5.

Some recent changes: bylaws changes to make it easier to add PSF members. A full-time conference coordinator. The treasurer gets paid. And there’s a new administrative assistant to catch up on some long-standing tasks.

Leading an open source project is hard as there’s “constructive anarchy”, which is good, btw. The PSF tries to enable rather than push. You can’t push volunteers anyway. So supporting community initiatives like conferences and projects. A big issue is the limit on available (foundation) manpower to implement the many ideas that are available. So: encourage people to lead the projects and support them with resources (mostly money) as required. But also with equipment, like the investment made in video equipment as used at the latest pycon to capture all the talks.

Money is not (yet) really the problem. (Wo)manpower is. Without people to run programs we cannot do everything we’d like to: grants, conferences, infrastructure, web site, publications, development, etc.

What’s also needed: engage the world. Python users are the best advocates. Give commercial users a channel to promote Python and to promote themselves. Publications! Coverage! And: Python is an excellent teaching language.

We, the attendees at the conference and all Python programmers, are the Python community. Python needs us. This is an opportunity! Pro-actively represent the community. Increasing Python’s popularity increases our own opportunities, too. Evangelism is OK. Let’s give something back to Python.

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About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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