Friday, December 12, 2008

Help Migrating to Python 3.0

To assist those wanting to migrate their code to Python 3.0 the developers have just announced the creation of the Python-porting mailing list. Signing up for the list is a good way to tap in to the advice of the core developers, so it's probably a good list even if you only want to lurk to begin with.

Remember that it may take a while for all your project's dependencies to migrate to the new environment, but it's available now, so fill your boots!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Organizational Changes

Further to our recent cogitations on better meeting the PSF's goals the Board has taken a number of decisions which I'd like to let you know about.

  • I am in the process of appointing a part-time administrator to help us with the more mundane tasks. I anticipate this will initially require between 10 and 20 hours per week, and be performed on a contract basis.
  • Kurt Kaiser, our Treasurer, will commit to spending a quarter of his time on PSF-related duties. His remuneration will increase to give him a reasonable hourly rate for the job.
  • David Goodger has accepted a six-month contract as paid chairman of PyCon. Besides organizing next year's conference he will focus on ensuring that the chairman's role is properly documented, allowing us to respond appropriately to the development needs of the conference.

We are currently in a transitional phase: Kurt has assumed his enlarged role with immediate effect; I anticipate that David and the new administrator will take up their posts early in December. Hopefully this will mean we are able to more adequately take care of business.

The Board will be assessing the impact of these changes over time, and review the overall position after PyCon. In the meantime we will welcome any observations from you about how the changes affect the way the Foundation serves you.

Follow-up: The administrator position is now filled


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First pyArkansas an Unqualified Success

We are grateful to Greg Lindstrom for the following feedback on a recent successful regional event. Congratulations are due to the organizers.

We held our 1-day "pyArkansas" conference on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas with 57 people attending. There was a surprising mix of beginners (which we expected) and experienced (which pleasantly surprised us). The first half of the day was dedicated to classes; Python 101 (Dr. Bernard Chen of UCA), Intermediate Python (Jeff Rush) and Python for System Administrators (Noah Gift). A way cool perk was that everyone attending the sys admin class received a copy of Noah's new book! The afternoon was dedicated to talks and open space. All participants received a swag bag with a copy of Python Magazine, a GIS magazine, python stickers and other stuff.

We had fantastic support from various employers and the Conway Chamber of Commerce. I am pleased to thank the PSF for your offer of $300 reimbursement and very respectfully decline it; we were able to cover our expenses, provide lodging for Jeff and Noah, and even give them a few dollars for their efforts. We have a grant request in to the Conway Advertising and Promotion Commission for $3,000 for next year. If we get that, the Chamber of Commerce will pony up another $1,500, leaving us with about $1,000 more to raise. Bringing in speakers was very well -- extremely well -- received and we want to expand on it next year, with a goal to bring in 4 speakers/teachers. Modeling the conference as a hybrid between a "mini-PyCon" and an "unconference" makes sense as many of our participants were brand new to Python while others wanted open space.

We got some very nice ink from Dr. John Tabor. It's that kind of response that prompted the Chamber of Commerce to have us submit a grant request to the A&P.

I have a more detailed report written up if anyone would like to see it (or if there is somewhere I can post it).

Thanks for your encouragement and support. Special thanks to Noah and Jeff for making the trip to Arkansas.

Please note that, while we are pleased that this event managed to run without our sponsorship, the PSF Board is always prepared to consider funding requests for events that demonstrably benefit the Python community.

Monday, August 11, 2008

PSF Board meeting minutes available (May, June, & July)

Minutes of Regular Meetings of the Board of Directors of the Python Software Foundation:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Georg Brandl and Brett Cannon to Receive PSF Community Awards

At the July Board meeting of the PSF Board of Directors, PSF Community Awards were awarded to Georg Brandl and Brett Cannon.

Georg has been an enthusiastic contributor to the core for several years, and a while ago stunned the Python development world by building the Sphinx documentation system as an alternative to the LaTeX-based system we had been using previously, and converting the Python documentation to use it.

Brett has also been an active core developer for many years, but was nominated for his infrastructure work in migrating the Python bug-tracking system off of SourceForge to our own Roundup instance, and for his efforts keeping the Python developer introduction updated.

Georg and Brett richly deserve recognition for their contributions. Congratulations to Brett and Georg, and thanks for all your hard work!

For more information, please see the PSF Community Awards page on

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

PyCon UK Registration Open

PyCon UK takes place in Birmingham UK from 12th to 14th September 2008. A full programme includes a day of tutorials; bookings are being taken at The early bird rate has been extended to 11th August.

There will be plenary talks by Mark Shuttleworth, Ted Leung and Raymond Hettinger.

You can see a list of already accepted talks at and a schedule for the tutorial day is at

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Martin von Löwis Receives 2008 Frank Willison Award

Yesterday at OSCON I had the pleasure of announcing the 2008 Frank Willison award. This was instituted by O'Reilly in memory of their editor in chief, whose "Frankly Speaking" column was a regular joy on the web: guaranteed to entertain and inform. Frank was a great supporter of Python, and a believer in the value of communities.

Martin von Löwis continues to be a tireless worker on behalf of the Python community. He has been a long-term contributor to the Python core, and regularly answers questions on both the python-dev list and the comp.lang.python newsgroup. A PSF director since 2002 he was also the prime mover in transitioning the Python development infrastructure from SourceForge, and has created several Roundup issue trackers for various areas. He chaired the PSF grants committee, which among other achievements kept Jython alive when its future looked uncertain. I could go on, but you get the idea: when something needs doing, he rarely hesitates to step up to the plate.

Martin has, until today, been one of our unsung heroes. I hope all readers will join me in congratulating him on this well-deserved award.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

PyCon FR: May 17/18, 2008

PyCon FR is to be held at the Cité des sciences et de la Villette in Paris. This is the second national Python Conference in France. There is an interesting and varied program, which you can see in English on Tarek Ziadé's blog. We wish our French cousins bonne chance and look forward to seeing the sessions written up by enthusiastic delegates.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Python Wins "Favorite Scripting Language" Award

May 1, 2008 Linux Journal announced their 2008 Readers' Choice Awards today, and we are happy to say that Python won the Favorite Scripting Language category with 28.9% of the vote. PHP, Bash and Perl (in that order) won honorable mentions. Thanks to everyone who took the time to register their votes. Python's popularity does seem to be climbing this year, as attendance at the recent Chicago PyCon confirmed with a 77% increase in attendance. Let's hope that leads to career opportunities for Python users!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

March meeting minutes available

The following minutes were approved at a meeting of the PSF Board of Directors on April 14, 2008:

David Goodger, PSF Secretary

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

PSF Community Awards

A little-publicized feature of this year's PyCon was the first ever PSF Community Awards. One of the issues with being a Foundation of part-timers is that sometimes we do something important without finding a way to give it the right prominence. If I were able to borrow Guido's time machine and go round PyCon again these awards would have been made in front of the first keynote speech.

Even the recipients of the awards were blissfully unaware of their elevated status until our outgoing Chairman, Stephan Deibel, informed them by email. So let me list these unsung heroes (in alphabetical order). If you have benefited by their work it would be nice if you could find time to add a (short) comment to this post to let them know how much their hard work is appreciated.

Matthew Dixon Cowles Matthew has been a tireless (and unfailingly polite) responder to the many users of python-help list, used by those seeking assistance not readily available through other channels. This assistance covers not only elementary questions but also quite advanced ones. Matthew has been a member of the Python community for many years, patiently answering questions and enlightening those who seek to get more out of the Python language.

Brad Knowles Brad has managed the e-mail since I can remember, and it's down to him that our lists and newsgroups are so blissfully free of spam. It's hard to appreciate the sheer volume of mail that Brad handles, and he is fiercely defensive of our domain's status on the Internet. Keeping the e-mail flowing is essential not just to the PSF but also to all the users of mailing lists and newsgroups. Brad does all this not because he is a big Python user, but because it needs to be done. This is the community service ethic at its best.

Peter Kropf and Martin Thomas Peter and Martin are probably best known to those people who want to employ Python programmers, as they have jointly been almost the sole workforce behind the Python Job Board for the last several years. The fact that the Job Board exists, and is available free of charge to anyone looking to hire people with Python skills, is possibly more central to Python's rise in popularity than we appreciate. PyCon chairman David Goodger paid tribute to the Job Board as helping him out of unemployment in his opening remarks this year, and I know there are dozens if not hundreds of others who should be similarly grateful to Peter and Martin.

We should also not overlook those who answer the elementary questions we get on the python-tutor mailing list. The list is often overlooked by the more advanced Python users, but this is where anyone can come and get their first questions about Python answered (and often learn programming along the way). The friendly courtesy they meet there sets the tone for future Python community interactions, which may be one reason why comp.lang.python has such a reputation for courtesy. Apologies to the python-tutor list members for an earlier mistaken attribution of Matthew's affiliation.

The PSF Board has been discussing (and, when I dropped the ball, failing to discuss) an awards scheme for some time now, and these first four awards represent the beginnings of a way to regularly offer some recognition to people who tirelessly support Python and its community year in year out. They will not just be made at PyCon but at intervals throughout the year, and future nominations will come from the membership at large.

The award comes in the form of a free registration to a future PyCon, $500 towards conference expenses, and a handsome (but yet-to-be designed) certificate. Thanks for all your hard work on behalf of the whole Python community, guys! One of the benefits of the awards is that now I know I'll be able to see you all at PyCon next year!

Steve Holden

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Stepping down as Chairman of the Board

Stephan Deibel writes ... For the past four years, I've served as Chairman of the Board of the Python Software Foundation. This year, I stepped down and Steve Holden has replaced me. I did this because I believe strongly that the organization needs this kind of infusion of new blood, new thoughts and ideas. Indeed, I've got a feeling Steve is going to do a great job with this.

We also have some new members on the Board: James Tauber and Raymond Hettinger have replaced David Ascher and Andrew Kuchling, who stepped down this year. Raymond, who is among other things also a CPA, even took on the role of Assistant Treasurer. This is extraordinarily important for the organization and has put to rest my biggest worry -- that the PSF would be unable to find a new Treasurer when our current capable and efficient Treasurer, Kurt Kaiser, seeks to step down. I kid you not when I say that this has kept me awake at night (and by gosh it should have been keeping the rest of you awake as well ;-).

All of this leaves me very positive on the PSF's future. I will continue to serve as a Director and hope to contribute to the PSF and Python in general in other ways in the coming years.

Thanks to all for your confidence in me as Chairman in the past years. I hope I've not let you down!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2007 PSF accomplishments

The following summary of the PSF's accomplishments since the last member meeting was also posted to the psf-members mailing list.

Improving PSF record-keeping

PSF record-keeping was rather scattered for a long time. The current Secretary, D. Goodger, set out to improve the state of affairs.

J. Hylton, Secretary from 2002-2006, still had some records in his possesion. They've been sent to the current Secretary, and he has begun scanning them and placing them in the Foundation's CVS repository.

D. Goodger also wrote a history of PSF officers & directors:

D. Goodger also retrieved minutes from the early members' meetings, including the very first one. Only the minutes of the 2003 meeting are still lost.

Funding actions

  • $500 one-time grant to assist in funding the Python en Santa Fe (Argentina) meeting Jun 9th, 2007. ( According to Facundo Batista:

    It was very successful, around +300 people assisted, and there were a lot of interesting talks (two introductory talks, Turbogears, PyWeek, Zope 3, security, creating 3D games, Plone, automatic security testing, concurrency, and programming the OLPC).

  • US$1000 to buy swag items for Google Highly Open Participation participants.

  • 1500 Euros for a gold sponsorship of PyConUno (Italy) 2007.

  • US $2500 to The PyCon UK Society for its use in running PyCon UK 2007.

  • US$5000 to EuroPython 2007. About 225 people attended the conference.

  • Funded Jeff Rush as Advocacy Coordinator for 13 months ($4000/month): lists what was accomplished.

Policy actions

Wrote a trademark policy ( for use of the Python word mark and logo.

Decided upon selection process for Frank Willison Award for Contributions to the Python Community (presented at OSCON; the prize is one free registration for OSCON). The 2007 award was to Steve Holden.

Resolved that the org.python.* Java package name be reserved for use by the Jython project. actions

Brett Cannon, Martin von Loewis, & the Infrastructure committee launched a new issue tracker at, importing the existing bugs from SourceForge. The tracker is hosted by Upfront Systems (

The tracker supports multiple instances of Roundup. A new Jython bug tracker,, was launched a few weeks ago.

More memory was added to the servers, supplied by XS4ALL, who is hosting the servers.


The PSF again participated in Google's Summer of Code, coordinated by James Tauber. He wrote up a summary of the results:

The PSF also participated in Google's Highly Open Participation contest (

Stephan Deibel wrote a PSF article in the Python Papers ( This article is now available at

A. Kuchling went to Penguin Day, a one-day event aimed at non-profit organizations using free software; see for notes.

Unresolved issues

We need to find an Assistant Treasurer to serve alongside Treasurer Kurt Kaiser, so that the assistant can learn the ropes and take over whenever Kurt retires. No one has volunteered. What can we do to find someone for this role?

We also need an Assistant Secretary. No one has volunteered for this position either.

The board is discussing a PSF Awards Program. See January 2008 minutes ( for summary; a vote was taken on this at the March 10 meeting.

There have been some suggestions to change the PSF's bylaws. S. Holden wrote up a list of clean-ups and simplifications, and S. Deibel proposed changes to how emeritus members are handled. Neither proposal is considered sufficiently complete to be brought to the members at this time.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

2007 Google Summer of Code report

Report on the Python Software Foundation's participation in the 2007 Google Summer of Code

With the 2008 Google Summer of Code just around the bend, we present this report. James Tauber was the PSF administrator for the 2007 Google Summer of Code. James and I are both to blame for the lateness of this report, although me much more than he (I've been sitting on it since December). Better late than never!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Call for bids for PyCon 2010

Over on the PyCon blog Ted Pollari just posted "So you want to host PyCon 2010...". It's an announcement of the opening of a call for bids, and a summary of the process (full PyCon Bid Guidelines here).

Friday, February 15, 2008

PSF News from the Chair

The PSF's Chair, Stephan Deibel, wrote an article for The Python Papers introducing the Foundation and discussing some recent initiatives. This article is now also available on as the "PSF Executive Summary".

Monday, February 11, 2008

Two upcoming development events: Jython sprint, and Python bug day

Two upcoming events provide a good opportunity to jump into Jython or Python development.

First, there's a Jython sprint being held in San Francisco on Saturday, February 16th. The sprinters are concentrating on tasks for Jython 2.5, following the newly updated Jython road map.

A week later on Saturday February 23rd, we're holding an online Python Bug Day. Participants will meet in the #python-dev channel on IRC, and look at open bugs and patches in Python's bug tracker. Last month's bug day closed 37 issues; will we do even better this month?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Help Needed with Python Job Board

One of the more valuable services available through the web site is the Python Job Board. This is normally maintained by the pydotorg webmasters, but they have been too busy with their day jobs recently and so we have a backlog of almost a month's worth of jobs. If you are an employer wondering when your posting is going to appear, please accept our apologies. The Job Board, like the rest of the Python Software Foundation, is staffed by volunteers, and so things can't always happen as promptly as we would like. If you are someone who is interested in joining the maintenance team I am sure our regular maintainers would be glad of the opportunity to shed a little of the burden. The Job Board is a fairly easy way to move into site maintenance, and we are always looking for help. If you can spare some time and want to help the Python community (as well as seeing the jobs before anyone else) please send an email to pydotorg at to find out more about what's involved.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

PyCon 2008 Financial Aid Available

The Python Software Foundation has allocated some funds to help people attend PyCon 2008. If you would like to come to PyCon but can't afford it, the PSF may be able to help you. The financial aid can cover some or all of the following:

  • Your registration for PyCon
  • Your hotel room at the conference hotel
  • Your flight or other transportation

Please see for details & instructions. The deadline for applications is February 11th.