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).