Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A Look Back at the PSF in 2012

2012 year was a good year for Python, and it was especially good for the Python Software Foundation. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights of the foundation’s actions in 2012. As always, you can find out about the resolutions that the board has passed at http://www.python.org/psf/records/board/resolutions/ and each meeting of the board of directors has minutes posted at http://www.python.org/psf/records/board/minutes/.

Conference Sponsorship


The foundation sponsored 18 conferences in 15 countries for a total of USD $32,661.53. Among those funded were a group of established conferences, and something we’re always happy to find out about: new conferences. The inaugural PyCarolinas, and PyCons in South Africa, Philippines, and Canada were newcomers to the conference scene, along with RuPy Brazil starting a new branch of the RuPy brand.

The following conferences were granted funding in the 2012 calendar year:
  • PyCon Australia
  • Kiwi PyCon
  • PyArgentina
  • EuroPython
  • PythonBrazil
  • PyOhio
  • SciPy
  • PyCon DE
  • PyCon UK
  • PyCon India
  • PyCon Philippines
  • PyCon PL
  • PyCon ZA
  • PyArkansas
  • PyCon Canada
  • PyData
  • RuPy Brno
  • RyPy Brazil

Code of Conduct

In keeping up with the current conference scene, the foundation moved to suggest that all conferences implement a Code of Conduct for their events. Many conferences have done so on their own, and the foundation agreed that it’s a good thing for all conferences to have in place.

A second resolution was passed, making it a requirement that PSF-funded conferences have a Code of Conduct in place. The foundation wants to support conferences that support their attendees, so the move was a natural fit.

Community Service Awards

Each quarter, the foundation selects one or two community members to be presented with a Community Service Award. The award aims to reward those who have made substantial contributions to the Python community, with the recipient receiving a certificate and either a free pass to PyCon or USD $500.

This year’s winners were:

Q2: Doug Hellmann and Thomas Heller

Distinguished Service Award

Matplotlib’s creator and longtime maintainer, John Hunter, passed away in August of 2012 after a brief battle with cancer. John’s contributions not only to Python but to computing, mathematics, and science, have changed the way people do things. His matplotlib project has existed for over 10 years, initiated during his post-doctoral studies while looking for alternatives to proprietary products in the same field, and his dedication to free software never faded throughout his leadership of the project. His efforts also extended into the recently created NumFOCUS Foundation, of which he was a member of the board.

When John passed away, the foundation wanted to do something for John’s significant achievements, thus the creation of the Distinguished Service Award and the choosing of him as the first recipient. The award is to be presented annually to a member of the community who has exhibited long lasting contributions of high impact, coming with a prize of USD $5,000.

The award was presented to John’s family at a memorial service at his alma mater, University of Chicago.

Frank Willison Memorial Award

Each year the foundation recommends the recipient of the annual Frank Willison Memorial Award, an award delivered in conjunction with O’Reilly Media to commemorate O’Reilly’s long time editor-in-chief and Python fan, Frank Willison, who passed away in 2001.

The 2012 recipient of the award was Jesse Noller, whose outstanding efforts have reached many areas of the Python community. Jesse began as a CPython contributor and has since gotten involved in PyCon, acting as the Program Committee chair in 2010 and 2011, and the conference chair in 2012 and 2013. His leadership of the 2012 conference lead to the breaking of just about every record, from sponsorship counts to talk proposals received, on up through attendance and into revenues. However, Jesse’s efforts extend far beyond CPython and PyCon, into the creation of many efforts around the Python community.

Hardware

One of the first actions of the year was approval for hardware purchases to replace an aging python.org infrastructure, thanks to a donation by Atlassian. Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab offered their services for hosting the new hardware, and for their services and commitment to open source, a donation of $3000 was made to them.

A few months later, the purchase of a long-term storage array was approved for use by the PSF and the Django Software Foundation, to be maintained by long-time PyCon video coordinator, Carl Karsten. Carl stores several terabytes of conference video from events such as PyCon, PyOhio, PyTexas, and other events.

Sponsor Members

While the foundation is made up mostly of individual members, sponsor members are a class of membership for organizations who make a yearly contribution to the foundation. Like any other members, sponsor members are put before the current membership for election, after being recommended to the membership by the board of directors.

2012 saw four organizations recommended and then approved by the membership:


Event Coordinator and Secretary

As the conference landscape has grown, not just with PyCon, the foundation’s largest event, but with events around the globe, the need arose for a dedicated employee to organize and work with the existing volunteers. Ewa Jodlowska, who formerly worked with a conference organization company, was hired to manage the logistics of a conference the size of PyCon and to assist the chairman in ensuring a successful and smooth event.

After a few months in this position, Ewa expanded her role to include secretarial duties for the foundation.

Conference Kits

As the foundation found itself sponsoring plenty of conferences this year, many which include booth space in an expo hall, several “conference kits” were purchased that could be sent around the world and used by members at the conference to represent the foundation. So far the kits have made their way to a few conferences since their purchase. If you see one at a conference near you, stop by and say hello!

http://i.imgur.com/ndVhW.jpg

Funding

The foundation has long held an open call for grant requests, and this year three were approved.

In April, the board approved a USD $5,000 request from Armin Rigo of the PyPy team for work on their Software Transactional Memory project. October saw the passing of a USD $5,000 grant to the developers of Kivy, a multi-touch framework, to assist in their efforts to port the project to Python 3. Also on the topic of Python 3 porting was a USD $1,000 grant for Mikhail Korobov to work with NLTK maintainer Steven Bird to complete their port of the library.

For more information about the foundation’s grant program, see http://www.python.org/psf/grants/.

Raspberry Pi

In April a resolution was passed that the foundation would purchase 50 Raspberry Pi devices, to use as raffle prizes, to give to interested projects, and for other uses to allow the device to see wider use in the hands of Python users. Several have been given away, including most recently that one will be added to the Snakebite testing environment, which will then be added to CPython’s buildbot fleet.

New Website

After a request for proposal period over the summer, a redesign committee deliberated over the selections and suggested to the foundation’s board a combination bid between Revolution Systems, Project Evolution, and Divio to design and implement a new python.org. Work is currently underway, and Jesse Noller wrote about the project’s progress on November 28.

The redesign project was a long time in the making, and the RFP process went smoothly. The progress we’re seeing so far has been excellent and we’re looking forward to presenting the finished project.

Overall, it was a great year, and we’re looking forward to an even better 2013. You can make it even better by making a contribution to the foundation at http://www.python.org/psf/donations/!
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