Monday, February 11, 2019

Python Community service award Q3: Mario Corchero




The PSF community service awards go to those individuals whose work and commitment complement and strengthen the PSF mission: to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse global Python community. So when thinking about individuals that go above and beyond to support the global community Mario Corchero is a name that comes easily to mind.


Not only is Mario a Senior Software Engineer for Bloomberg but he also devotes incredible amounts of his time to organise PyCon ES (Spain), PyLondinium, and more recently, the Spanish speaking track of PyCon: Las Pycon Charlas.

Mario is the true embodiment of the Python community spirit and for this reason, the Python Software Foundation has awarded Mario Corchero with the Q3 2018 Community Service Award.

RESOLVED, that the Python Software Foundation award the Q3 2018 Community Service Award to Mario Corchero for helping organize PyLondinium, the PyCon Charlas track, and PyCon Spain.


Mario's contributions to the Python Community


PyConES


With the growing popularity and global adoption of Python there also comes the need to bring together diverse community groups. Although large events such as PyCon US are incredibly important in bringing these groups together, these are not always accessible to the whole community. Smaller, localized events such as Python ES, France, Namibia, Colombia, and many many others help with the goal of bringing cohesion to the global community.

According to David Naranjo (co-organiser of PyConES), PyConES was the first event of this kind that he and Mario attended together. They loved it so much that while at PyConES16 they decided to submit an application to organise and bring this event to their region: Extremadura.

On top of the many challenges that come with organising an event of this type (i.e. drafting the programme, getting talks accepted, running the event on the day), they have faced an additional layer of complexity: neither of them lives in the region anymore.

This has made the organisation of PyConES a true community effort: from the organising committee to the sponsors and the volunteers that work together to make this a huge success. PyConEs is now a  staple Python event in Europe with more than 600 attendees every year, and it owes its success in a great deal to Mario’s efforts.



PyLondinium


A year after organising his first PyConES, Mario embarked on yet another journey: the organisation of PyLondinium. An event focused on showcasing the many use cases of Python as opposed to other events such as the PyData events.


PyLondinium is not only focused on bringing together the Python community but also to raise money for the PSF and its programmes around the world. In this particular case, Bloomberg, a long-time Python supporter, has played an important role in the success of the event. Not only do they host the event at their Europe headquarters in the heart of London but they also help to cover some of the costs as the main event sponsor, keeping the ticket prices at an affordable level.



Pylondinium 2018

Accessibility for the wider community


As a passionate community builder, from a non-English speaking country, localization and accessibility of the Python language is something that matters to Mario. Most of the coding resources out in the world are written in English, which can be a barrier to those whose primary language is not English or simply do not speak the language at all. That is why when he was presented with the opportunity to chair the Spanish track of PyCon US 2017 (Las PyCon Charlas) he did so wholeheartedly, embarking into yet another community journey alongside PSF Director Naomi Ceder.

Again, like his other endeavours, Las Charlas was an absolute success. It gathered people from all over from Latin America and Spain for a full day of talks in Spanish on such topics as machine learning, astronomy and security. In fact, it was such a success that the Charlas is back this coming year and the organisers are already receiving talks submissions (for more details visit https://us.pycon.org/2019/speaking/).



PyCon Charlas 2018


When asked why he organises all of these events, his answer is rather simple and honest. It is usually driven by a ‘how come no one is doing this yet?’" says Mario. But when digging deeper it becomes evident that Mario’s motivations lie in bringing the community together and nurturing it. Mario is extremely dedicated to the community and helping others to get involved. From creating Spanish tracks for PyCon USA or creating events serving specific areas or regions, Mario is constantly finding ways to bring Pythonistas together.



A Steady Leader of the Python Community, Alex Gaynor, Receives Community Service Award

Going through the big names in the Python community, one would not likely miss Alex Gaynor. Alex was Director of both the Python Software Foundation as well as the Django Software Foundation, and he is currently an Infrastructure Staff member of the PSF. Overall, Alex has been a valuable member of the Python community, contributing to the structure of the PSF on an administrative level, and actively encouraging the growth of Python through his personal efforts.


For this reason, the Python Software Foundation has awarded Alex Gaynor the Q3 2018 Community Service Award:


RESOLVED, that the Python Software Foundation award the Q3 2018 Community Service Award to Alex Gaynor for his contributions to the Python Community and the Python Software Foundation. Alex previously served as a PSF Director in 2015-2016. He currently serves as an Infrastructure Staff member and contributes to legacy PyPI and the next generation warehouse and has helped legacy warehouse in security (disabling unsupported OpenID) and cutting bandwidth costs by compressing 404 images.


Alex attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Originally from Chicago, he is currently living in Washington DC. In the past, Alex worked for the United States Digital Service on various impactful projects such as the United States Refugee Admissions Program and the Veterans Affairs disability benefits appeals process. He is now working for Mozilla on their Firefox Security Team.


Alex originally began contributing to the Python community by serving on the PyCon programming committee. “I was fortunate that right after I joined the community PyCon was in my hometown of Chicago, which made it easy to get involved.” Alex then decided to take up the responsibility of being a Director of the Python Software Foundation when the organization was going through many changes. “[W]e were adopting a Code of Conduct, starting to work on the new membership model, and significantly growing the grant funding we were offering. I think my proudest accomplishment is being a part of the team that kept all of these great initiatives on the rails (I certainly can't take credit for any of them on my own!); since my time the PSF has significantly scaled up its ability to help guide and support the global Python community.”


Aside from his contributions to the Python Software Foundation, Alex also served as a Director of the Django Software Foundation and a member of the Django core team. As mentioned in the resolution above, Alex is currently working as a PSF Infrastructure Staff member where he is working on legacy PyPI and the next generation warehouse. Alex has improved the legacy warehouse in security by disabling unsupported, the open standard and decentralized authentication protocol OpenID, as well as in cutting bandwidth costs by compressing 404 images.


Being on the PSF Infrastructure team with Alex, Director of Infrastructure Ernest W. Durbin III has enjoyed working with him and appreciates his contributions to the team:


“Alex has been one of the most steady and reliable motivators for improved security throughout our entire community. Alex stays ruthlessly up to date on current best practices and makes a consistent effort to help encourage and implement pragmatic security at all levels. While far from an exhaustive list, the Python community can thank Alex for his advocacy and knowledge on rock solid TLS for pypi.org, sharing his knowledge and experience with the Python Security Response Team, and contributions to security in the Python language as well as core cryptographic libraries on PyPI.”


Glyph Lefkowitz, creator of the Twisted framework, additionally observed that Alex’s contributions across multiple projects, from PyCA's Cryptography, to Django, to CPython, to PyPy to Twisted, have been transformational for the Python ecosystem, and have, in particular, made it a much safer and more secure community for users. “When he sees a problem that needs addressing, his willingness to work across projects and layers is an ongoing source of inspiration for everyone that calls themselves a 'maintainer',” noted Glyph.


As a long-time member of the Python community, Alex says what he appreciates most about the community is its commitment to getting more people involved in Python specifically, and programming in general. He is particularly impressed by the PSF’s efforts to support the growth of Python on multiple scales. “I don't think there's any organization like the PSF that does as much work issuing grants and supporting local groups teaching getting people involved in coding and Python.”




Moving forward, Alex hopes to see more knowledge being shared regarding potential funding in the community. “From PyPI to PyCon and beyond there's a lot of costs associated with making these community resources happen, and we've learned a lot about how to raise money to make them happen. I think we could do a better job sharing these lessons learned with the broader open source ecosystem and helping to push new innovation in this space.”


Additionally, to anyone out there looking to make impactful contributions to our community, Alex’s advice is to simply jump in and contribute in whatever ways that work for you. With numerous volunteering opportunities with the PSF working groups, local meetups, regional conferences, and many more, it is easier than ever to be a part of, and help promote the Python community.


As the final note, the PSF would like to congratulate Alex Gaynor again for this prestigious award, and thank him for his continued contributions to our organization in particular, and to the general Python community as a whole.