Friday, April 17, 2015

Board of Directions Nomination Instructions Update

Unfortunately, the Python Wiki has experienced some spamming and vandalism lately. This may mean that editing the Wiki, including the Directors nomination page may take a little extra work until we get things sorted out.  This is described on the Front Page:
Since spamming and vandalism on this wiki has reached a level that is starting to require daily intervention, new users are no longer allowed to edit pages.
If you want to edit a page and have just signed up, or you find that you can no longer edit a page that you could edit before, please write to the pydotorg-www mailing list, stating your account name and your intended edits and we'll add you to the EditorsGroup.
Sorry for the inconvenience, but we want to keep this wiki a useful tool for the community, while at the same time need to prevent wiki admin burnout effects.
Bear with us.  We will work on getting the Wiki more easy to use, and also resistant to malicious changes by unregistered or malicious users.

Run for the Board of Directors!

The mission of the Python Software Foundation is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse and international community of Python programmers.
It’s that time of year again! The PSF annual election for its 2015 Board of Directors is currently seeking candidates.

But what exactly, you may ask, does the PSF Board do? Well, it turns out that the fulfillment of the above-quoted mission statement requires that they do quite a bit.
Basically, the directors manage all the business of the PSF. This includes appointing the PSF’s officers; holding and protecting Python’s intellectual property rights and licenses (the open source stack of licenses on the source code, all logos and trademarks); managing the budget and allocating funds; organizing and managing the annual PyCon North America (through the esteemed PyCon team); maintaining the PSF's legal status as a non-profit corporation (with all appropriate legal documents, such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, etc.); managing and maintaining the python.org website and related resources; fundraising and obtaining sponsors; public relations; education and outreach; and membership management and services (and probably some other categories that I forgot).
There are 11 total seats available; Directors are elected annually for a term of one year. Directors need not be residents of the US, and they are not compensated for their work. See PSF ByLaws for more complete info.
If you or someone you know would like to run, i.e., do all of that extremely important work for free—although you will bask in glamor (glamour, if you’re British), glory, and gratitude, here’s the wiki for nominations: PSF Director Nominations.
At the moment, no deadlines have been set; I will provide that info as soon as it’s available.
Additional relevant info can be found at: PSF home pagePSF membership FAQ, and PSF members' wiki.
I would love to hear from readers. Please send feedback, comments, or blog ideas to me at msushi@gnosis.cx.

My Dinner with Katie

Last week at PyCon, I had the pleasure of talking with Katie Cunningham at a dinner party hosted by O'Reilly. Katie is well-known in the Python community. The author of Python in 24 Hours, 2nd edition (Pearson 2013),  Accessibility Handbook (O'Reilly 2012), and a video series Python Guide for the Total Beginner LiveLessons (Pearson 2013), she has also given talks and presentations at a number of conferences. Last year the PSF honored her with its Community Service Award in recognition for her work in founding and providing the Young Coders tutorial (along with co-recipient Barbara Shaurette).
Imagine a room filled with pre-teens and teenagers eager to learn to code. Pretty daunting, huh? That’s the challenge Katie has taken on with Young Coders. This one-day tutorial covers basic Python by starting with simple concepts and then building up. Using Raspberry Pis, Katie says, helps to “demystify the computer,” and by the end of the day, students are doing fairly complex work with loops, and reading others' code. Last week at PyCon Montreal, 41 students attended one of the classes.
You can check out Katie and Barbara’s 2014 PyCon talk about Young Coders.
Katie teaching Young Coders
As we conversed about Python, teaching, and writing, I observed first-hand those qualities that make Katie an effective teacher—passion, clarity, perceptiveness, wit, and humor. With a degree in Psychology, she “stumbled into technology” and found that it paid well. “It’s hard to say ‘no’ to money when the alternative is to get an MA degree and make $40K,” she explained. But I believe that Katie is a natural teacher, so I’m not surprised that once in tech—she’s worked for NASA and Cox Media—she pioneered ways of making it more accessible to others and easier to learn. Her current professional position combines her technological prowess and her pedagogical talents as Senior Applications Developer and Director of Technology at Speak Agent, a provider of customized interactive content for language teachers. 
Some of Katie’s teaching philosophy and techniques come from her experience as a mother. She told me that her kids had access to their own computers at the age of three, in large part because she wanted them to stay away from her computer. The result is that her kids are very fluent—if you give them a computer, they can figure out immediately what to do with it. It’s not, according to Katie, that her seven year old daughter is so smart; rather she’s had four years of informal training. But of course many kids don’t have that advantage—they’ve grown up in homes where there was no computer, or maybe only one, but it was too precious to allow the kids to use it. Katie wants to be able to formalize the informal training—to teach kids such basic ideas as how to generally find something on the computer, or the differences between an email application, a web browser, and the internet (some kids, and even adults, confuse them). 
So Katie finds that using concrete metaphors and teaching basic vocabulary are extremely important in getting kids to understand coding. For example, Katie teaches the logic of and/or by reference to pet stores; in Virginia, in order to buy a fish, a person needs to be at least 18 years old, AND have money to pay for it, AND promise to put it in an aquarium and not into the river (apparently, this was a problem)—all of these conditions must be true. But when paying, you can use cash OR credit OR a data card OR a gift card. She says that her students respond well to these kinds of examples. Teaching this way is not only effective, but it “brings the humanity back into tech”—it shows that these are things that humans do, rather than abstract relations between a person and a machine. 
In the future, Katie would like to teach coding to younger children. Since the Young Coders track is restricted to ages 12 and older, Katie sees this as a real need. We have younger kids coming to PyCon, as more attendees bring their kids and want a class for them. But putting very young kids in a class with older learners doesn’t work well. Their needs and learning styles are quite different. For example, five year olds don’t have the physical control or dexterity to type or to sit still for long. Katie would like to develop a teaching track that is “more kinetic.” Basic concepts, like the logic of if/elif/else could be taught by having the kids get in one line IF their shirt is red, ELSE IF green, get in another; or ELSE, yet another.
I’m happy to report that these and other great ideas are going to be available in Katie’s next book, Kids Code (current working title). It will be an O'Reilly interactive book that has a dual purpose: 
[It] … not only teaches the student how to program, but teaches the mentor how to teach. Through carefully laid and interactive chapters, the student is guided not only through the basics of programming, but all the way up to game development and creating websites. At the same time, the mentor is coached in how to help their student solve problems, warned about where students often have trouble, and explains why lessons are structured in a certain way” (see LinkedIn).
The book sounds like a wonderful tool for teachers and learners (of all ages) and I’m looking forward to reading it. Thank you Katie, for sharing your expertise and insight with the rest of us. Your work is a huge part of what makes the Python community a living, growing, exciting, and powerful entity of awesomeness.
I would love to hear from readers. Please send feedback, comments, or blog ideas to me at msushi@gnosis.cx.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Python X Southwest: SciPy in Austin!

Mark your calendars: SciPy 2015 is coming in July (July 6-12, 2015) to the fabulous city of Austin, TX. This will be the 14th annual SciPy devoted to scientific computing with Python, and organizers expect to exceed 500 attendees again this year. 
The importance of this conference for scientific computing cannot be overstated. Enthought, SciPy’s institutional sponsor, has been joined by many others, including Microsoft AzureSquare RootD E Shaw & CoKitwarePyLadies, and, of course, the PSF. The PSF, which has funded SciPy in the past, is sponsoring the conference this year at the Silver Level with a contribution of $3000. Last year’s SciPy saw sponsorship increase 85% over 2013, a clear indication that this conference is growing in size, importance, and reach, as is the use of Python as the premiere language for scientific computing!
The 2015 conference will consist of 2 days of tutorials followed by 3 days of presentations. Last year, the conference expanded from 2 days to 3 days of talks, another indication of the explosion of scientific projects being conducted in Python. The conference will conclude with 2 days of developer sprints on projects of interest to attendees. The basic schedule is:
  • Tutorials: July 6 - 7, 2015
  • Conference: July 8 - 10, 2015
  • Sprints: July 11 - 12, 2015
This year’s conference will continue its tradition of having fabulous keynote speakers. Last year, our own PSF Director Nick Coghlan gave a keynote on Python Beyond C. 2015 keynote speakers include: 
  • Wes McKinney, Software Engineer, and author of pandas (Python Data Analysis Library) at Cloudera. Wes is also author of the O'Reilly book Python for Data Analysis;
  • Jack VanderPlas, PhD, Director of Research – Physical Sciences eScience Institute, University of Washington;
  • Chris Wiggins, Chief Data Scientist; Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics, The New York Times & Columbia University.
SciPy 2015 will also include two specialized tracks that run parallel to the general conference: Python in Data Science and Quantitative Finance and Computational Social Sciences.
The venue is the same as last year’s; the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center at the University of Texas campus in Austin (AT&T). This location is central and allows easy access to Austin’s terrific attractions; good food, music, and dancing (6th Street is the place to go, and don’t forget to eat barbecue and wear some cowboy boots!).
Sixth Street Austin by Larry D. Moore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

The full schedule of talks and speakers will be posted to the SciPy website later this month (SciPy2015).
I would love to hear from readers. Please send feedback, comments, or blog ideas to me at msushi@gnosis.cx.

PSF supports more Django Girls!

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about the PSF’s funding of the upcoming Plone Conference in Bucharest as an example of how the PSF supports Python development for the web (see Plone). Another web framework the PSF has been supporting is, of course, Django, and with the upsurge of Django Girls activities, support for Django Girls simultaneously allows the PSF to make progress on its commitment to diversity.
For those not familiar with Django Girls, they are a non-profit organization that provides free one-day programming workshops to women. They began in Berlin in 2014 as a workshop at EuroPython given by Ola Sitarska and Ola Sendecka. Since then, they have spread all over the world. Just since the start of this year, the PSF has sponsored Django Girls workshops in the following cities: 
  • $1,500 to Django Girls New York;
  • $1200 to Django Girls Athens;
  • $1800 to Django Girls London;
  • $730 to Django Girls Cardiff;
  • $600 to Django Girls Mbarara on April 18th.
In 2014, the PSF supported such Django activities as DjangoCon Europe, Django Carrots Workshops, Django Weekend, Django Under the Hood, DjangoVillage, along with Django Girls workshops in Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Lodz, Kampala, Edinburgh, Kenya, and Mbale. The PSF was also delighted to see Django Girls last week at PyCon in Montreal: 


By providing free one-day workshops, Django Girls has had great success in bringing woman into programming and tech. Their workshops take participants through a tutorial that uses HTML, Django, Python, and CSS, allowing each participant to build her own website by the end of the day.
Django Girls' philosophy, one which was echoed over and over at PyCon 2015 in Montreal, and which is wholeheartedly endorsed by the PSF, is stated on their website Django Girls,
We believe that IT industry will benefit greatly from bringing more women into technology. We want to give you an opportunity to learn how to program and become one of us - female programmers!
Django Girls' commitment to teaching programming extends beyond the workshops they provide to teaching resources that can be used by others–either for their own learning or to conduct and organize other workshops. These resources include the tutorial they use for their free one-day workshop, an organizers' guide, coaching manual, and tutorial extensions. All their resources are freely available at Django Girls.
See the Django Girls blog for success stories of individual women who have benefitted from their workshops at Django Blog.
As was pointed out by Jacob Kaplan-Moss' wonderful keynote at PyCon 2015, it is predicted that by 2020, there will be a shortage of about 1.5 million qualified tech workers to fill industry demand. So the need to recruit women and other under represented peoples into tech is urgent. And, of course, it is also an opportunity to further spread the use and culture of Python, open source, and free software. Our hats are off to Django Girls for being a major force toward that end.
I would love to hear from readers. Please send feedback, comments, or blog ideas to me at msushi@gnosis.cx.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

PSF Python Brochure: Get your free copy at PyCon 2015

PSF Python Brochure Vol. 1

After having distributed the first 5,000 copies of the PSF Python Brochure to Python conferences and user groups around the world in the last 12 months, we have now finished the second print run with another 5,000 copies just in time for PyCon 2015 in Montreal.

Many thanks go to JetBrains for jumping in as additional ad sponsor to help finance the printing and community order shipping costs for this second print run. We would also like to thank all our initial sponsors and contributors for their hard work.

Promoting Python to new audiences


The feedback we have received for the brochure was positive all around.

Conference attendees were really happy to be able to easily show and prove how Python changes the world, to make the point that learning and using Python is a good investment.

The brochure helps them in promoting Python in their local and professional communities, especially to the many non-technical people we cannot easily reach with our python.org web site.

Get your brochure copy


Come and get your copy at the Python Software Foundation booth (booth number 101) at PyCon 2015 in Montreal.

If you cannot fetch your hard copy in person, you can order copies from our project page:
  1. free Community Orders for conferences and user groups
  2. paid Company Orders for companies and organizations
The costs for the community orders are sponsored through sponsor ads, the PSF and the company orders.

Meet the Team


I was very happy to work together with our core team members in the last 4 years:
  • Jan Ulrich Hasecke who was responsible as editor in chief and managed the contribution side of things together with me.
  • Armin Stroß-Radschinski and his company evenios which did the initial coordination of funding, layout concept, artwork, production and distribution.

Our efforts have resulted in a brochure of almost fully CC-3.0-BY-SA content that is reusable by the community. The feedback after one year of circulation is quite promising and we are considering doing a second volume with more success stories and use cases, provided we can get enough support from sponsors and the PSF.

More information


More information on the brochure, the idea and people behind it, media data and ordering links are available on our project page:


Marc-Andre Lemburg
Director, Python Software Foundation

Monday, April 06, 2015

PSF Seeks Event Coordinator/Administrator

The PSF is looking to fill a position as an Event Coordinator/Administrator. Note that this is a remote position and that it does not require software development or Python coding skills. It is open to anyone who wishes to work for the PSF and has the relevant project management skills.

JOB DESCRIPTION 

Administrator
  • Manage mailing lists
  • Manage board meeting scheduling, agenda, facilitate, actual board meetings via phone and IRC
  • Assist with sponsor member relations and invoicing
  • Assist with foundation budget creation and up keeping
  • Assist with collecting membership applications and contributor agreements
  • Assist with bylaws, legal matters
  • Assist with new membership (basic, supporting, contributing, managing, fellow)
  • Project manage website up­keeping/redesign
  • Keep track of grant requests and follow up work
  • Manage/assist with short term projects when needed.

Event Management 
  • Communicate needs and changes to vendors
  • Work on event logistics with convention center and hotels (floor plans, electrical needs, wifi)
  • Support all conference staff with timelines, activity development and implementation if needed
  • Advise staff on logistical suggestions and procedures
  • Track event­-related costs in budget
  • Manage registration and housing
  • Work onsite once a year, and perhaps perform a site visit once every two years.
  • Assist with certain vendor negotiations
  • Assist with food and beverage planning and BEO reviews
  • Assist with sponsorship efforts and execution, invoicing
  • Assist with printed material, if any
  • Assist in conference budget creation based on previous years, adjustments, and adherence
  • Assist with post­-event wrap up.

JOB REQUIREMENTS
  • Strong project management ability.
  • 2 to 3 years of experience working for an association/open source community
  • Ability to work independently while being able to be a good team member
  • Ability to delegate properly and be able to prioritize responsibilities
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Computer proficiency skills
  • Awareness of the open source community
  • Ability to maintain a professional manner under pressure
  • Attention to detail is a must.
If interested, please contact Ewa Jodlowska at: ewa@python.org.

PSF to sponsor Plone Bucharest 2015!

The PSF has been happy to acknowledge and help sponsor the use of Python in creating terrific Web Development Frameworks. This blog has previously featured several instances of PSF involvement in Django-related events (see e.g., CSA Award to Django Girls).
There have also been major developments in the world of Plone. For those of you who don’t know, Plone is an open source Content Management System, written primarily in Python. It was developed in 1999 by Alexander Limi, Alan Runyan, and Vidar Andersen, atop the open source Python-based Zope application server. Its license is held by the non-profit Plone Foundation
According to Wikipedia,
Plone is positioned as an Enterprise CMS and is most commonly used for intranets and as part of the web presence of large organizations. High-profile public sector users include the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Brazilian Government, United Nations, City of Bern (Switzerland), New South Wales Government (Australia), and European Environment Agency.
Plone’s website highlights its size and scope ("340 core developers and more than 300 solution providers in 57 countries… "), versatility ("available for all major operating systems… and in more than 40 languages"), and security track record ("the best … of any major CMS"). See Plone website.
This year, the 13th annual Plone conference will be held in Bucharest, Romania, October 12 - 18. It will mark Romania’s first major Python event, and the PSF is proud to be a sponsor at the Silver Level, with a grant of $2000 USD. Check it out at Plone Bucharest.


Photo Credit: Machinalis
Creative Commons License 2.0

The conference website also calls attention to Bucharest’s eclectic burst of metropolitan and intellectual ambition, and its many attractions, ecstatic night-life, and immersive underground culture.
In addition to its successful conferences (last year’s conference, held in Bristol, UK, featured 42 talks in 3 rooms over 2 days), the Plone community is well-known as a pioneer in the use of sprints for open source development. October’s conference will hold Plone’s largest annual sprint at the conference site, immediately following the 2 days of scheduled talks.

Plone Bucharest certainly sounds like an exciting place to be in October!

I would love to hear from readers. Please send feedback, comments, or blog ideas to me at msushi@gnosis.cx.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

PyCon 2018-2019 in Havana, Cuba!

Hi everyone,
The below post is an April Fools joke. It was written by PSF Blogger and Basic Member Mary Ann Sushinsky, with Director and Outreach & Education Chair David Mertz, to encourage, in a tongue-in-cheek way, more international cooperation in the Python world.   
It did this by poking fun at how the governments of various countries have hindered events like a hypothetical PyCon Cuba from happening. It touched on a political area where sensitivities are often high, and a number of people were hurt or offended by the post. That wasn't cool of us, and we apologize.
The post remains below because we believe in acknowledging our error rather than just deleting it and pretending that it didn't happen.
One positive thing that came out of this was a better understanding by many of us about what many people from Cuba have gone through, and it has strengthened our resolve to find ways to do good by them.
We very much hope better to aid Cubans in coming to future Python events throughout the world, and are saddened to learn of financial and visa obstacles they have faced in the past and still. Moreover, discussion following this post makes us hopeful that a "PyCon Cuba" (under some name) may be a realistic possibility in the not-too-distant-future, an event the PSF would love to help create. 
- The Python Software Foundation Board of Directors (including David Mertz) and Mary Ann Sushinsky
With great excitement, the PSF wishes to announce the site for the subsequent two North American PyCons: the beautiful city of Havana, Cuba! Following our two years in Montréal, and anticipating a great 2016-2017 conference in Portland, Oregon, PyCon has truly become “PyCon North America.” 
With recent easing of travel restrictions from the United States, the possibility of going to Cuba was immediately embraced by the PSF and PyCon organizers. At last, we would be able to bring the joy and power of the Python community and coding skills to a nation that already has a deep understanding of the values of collaboration over competition, of community over individual achievement, of free and open availability of knowledge over corporate owned intellectual property. Not to mention its beautiful climate, palm trees, beaches, good food, music, and dancing.
As many Python insiders know well, the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raúl, have long been fans of FLOSS and of Python in particular. According to a representative of the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment, upon being told that the PSF was looking at Havana as a possible PyCon site, President Raúl Castro replied:
Lo práctico gana a la pureza. Los errores nunca deberían dejarse pasar silenciosamente. A menos que hayan sido silenciados explícitamente. Frente a la ambigüedad, rechaza la tentación de adivinar.
For an American perspective, we asked the Chair of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, Canadian-born Cuban-American Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), about the Python language, so widely used by NASA and the scientific research he oversees. Cruz replied through a spokesperson,
I’ve always stood for the core American principles of Free Enterprise, Free Software, and a Free Republic. It heartens me to see the largest conference about my favorite programming language held both in the nation of my birth, and now in the one where my father was born.
Havana is not new to hosting conferences—in fact many international organizations convene at such venues as the International Conference Center, the Catholic University of America, and the University of Havana. 
Venue for PyCon 2018
In 2015 Havana will host PyCon sister conferences such as: 
Looking forward to seeing you in Cuba in 2018. ¡Sí se puede!
I would love to hear from readers. Please send feedback, comments, or blog ideas to me at msushi@gnosis.cx.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

For S/He's a Jolly Good. . .The PSF Fellow Recognition Program

As most of you already know, last year the PSF changed the bylaws regarding membership in order to become more inclusive, diverse, and participatory. Several previous blog posts have detailed aspects of this change and its implications (see e.g., Enroll as a Voting Member, or Membership Vote).
Building on this foundation, PSF Director Nick Coghlan has recently completed a draft of the procedures detailing the process for recognition as a PSF Fellow Member. The full text of this draft has been posted to the members' list and to the PSF Wiki, for your review and discussion.
The category of Fellow Member is described in the bylaws as 
based upon certain criteria to be established by the Board of Directors and which criteria shall be designed to emphasize extraordinary contributions (see Bylaws).
The full text of Nick’s draft has been posted to the Members' List and to the PSF Wiki, for your review and discussion. 
These bylaws will be approved in accordance with the new procedure for Strategic Decision Making (see Let’s Make Decisions Together). For your convenience, I’ve excerpted some of the basic ideas from the draft text below: 

 PSF Fellow Recognition Program 

Proposal editor: Nick Coghlan
(DRAFT for discussion with full PSF Membership) 

The PSF Fellow recognition program aims to explicitly acknowledge notable efforts of Python community members in contributing to, managing and growing the global Python community […] 

Nominating candidates for recognition as PSF Fellows 

To nominate a candidate for recognition as a PSF Fellow, the following steps should be completed by the nominating Fellow:
  1. affirmatively ensure that the potential candidate is interested in recognition as a Python Software Foundation Fellow
  2. confirm the candidate has registered as a PSF Member
  3. work with the candidate to prepare a recognition statement for reference by Voting Members when voting on the recognition nomination
  4. submit the nomination to the PSF Board for inclusion in the next PSF Fellow recognition ballot
Nominations for recognition as a PSF Fellow should be based on one or more of the following criteria:
  • the candidate has been active as a managing or contributing member of the Python community for at least 3 years, or
  • the candidate has initiated or significantly influenced a project within the Python community which has significantly increased the Python user base, has significant relevance for Python applications, or has had a significant impact on the public awareness of Python as a programming language, or
  • the candidate has received an official Python community award (e.g. PSF Community Service Awards, Frank Willison Award).
The following non-exhaustive list of significant contributions to the Python community and ecosystem may help make the above criteria less abstract and provide assistance in preparing a compelling recognition statement:
  • leaders of and long term contributors to PSF Working Groups
  • founders of and long-term contributors to major Python implementations (e.g. CPython, Jython, PyPy, IronPython, Stackless)
  • founders of and long-term contributors to projects in the Python Packaging Authority ecosystem (e.g. PyPI, pip, setuptools, packaging.python.org)
  • founders of and long-term contributors to other significant open source Python software libraries, frameworks, environments and applications
  • founders and long-term organizers of local Python user community groups
  • founders and long-term organizers of Python conferences
  • authors of Python focused technical books and other key learning materials
  • organisers of Python focused educational workshops and teaching programs
  • long term moderators of community mailing lists and other communication channels
  • long term curators of content on the Python wiki
  • as above, but for subcommunities of the Python community with a significant impact on the broader community, whether organized around a particular tool or framework (e.g. Django, NumPy), a particular problem domain (e.g. data analysis, network security, community outreach), a particular platform (e.g. Linux, Windows), or a particular region (e.g. USA, India, Europe) […]

 Recognising nominated candidates as PSF Fellows

[…] If a nomination for recognition is approved by 2/3rds of the eligible Voting Members (discounting failures to vote and abstentions), then the candidate will be formally recognised as a Fellow of the Python Software Foundation, explicitly thanking them for their significant contributions to the Python community[…]

As always, the PSF welcomes your input, so please review the full text of this proposal and then let us know your thoughts. Many thanks to Nick Coghlan for his hard work on this as well as on the proposal for Strategic Decision Making. 
I would love to hear from readers. Please send feedback, comments, or blog ideas to me at msushi@gnosis.cx.