Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The PSF Brochure

Sometime back in 2011, the PSF realized that Python, although at the time a mature and widely-used language, was still unknown to many decision-makers outside of the tech world. To remedy this obstacle to Python's growth (and grave injustice), the brochure project was born.
For over two years, the brochure team, headed by PSF Director, Marc-Andre Lemburg, sought success stories and sponsors, in order to demonstrate to “CIOs and chief developers, scientists and programmers, university lecturers, teachers and students, customers, clients, managers and employees”  that Python could be the programming solution they were looking for. The brochure team also worked hard to ensure there would be no cost to the PSF membership by securing sponsors' ads to fund all printing and distribution.
Making its debut in April at PyCon 2014 in Montreal (issued in two releases of 5,000 copies each, with the first release running out almost immediately), the brochure was titled “python: a programming language changes the world.” The brochure makes clear in 32 pages of vivid detail why Python has become a leading programming language in business and industry, finance, science and research, media, education, the public sector, government, and charity worldwide. 
Python's leanness (for example, "a task that requires an average of twenty lines of code in C and seven in Java can often be done with just one line in Python”), agility and flexibility, ease of teaching and learning, capacity for system integration, along with the extremely large number of libraries available, were cited in the brochure over and over again as reasons for its use. According to Chuck Groom – Head of Engineering at the Seattle SurveyMonkey office, “The transition to Python from NET has been a great success. Our Python applications handle heavy traffic without problems. Developers have found it possible to add new features much more quickly than before. New employees get up to speed in a manner of days, and recruiting has become easier.” And other web-service providers featured in the brochure, including Google and You Tube, are just as effusive in their praise. 
Examples from science and industry also abound. ArcGIS (geographic information systems), who created the ArcPy module for data analysis conversion and management, identifies an additional benefit in describing the Python community as “an extended workbench of a company's own IT department.”  More scientific uses are described in the brochure by OpenQuakeOpenERP, and Intellovations (maker of ForecastWatch). 
Making "heavy use of Python," scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) are able to develop software that will, in the future, be put to use on Mars to search for signs of life. And at CERN, physicists, in only 6 months, were able to replace the C++ analysis framework used for choosing experiment parameters with Python. The result, “This new system has been in use for a few years now, and many problems that could not be solved using the previous system are now literally one-liners.”
Today's film industry is also shown to be committed to Python. Companies such as Industial Light and Magic and Side Effects use Python for their animation software and to manage production processes. Accoring to Tommy Burnette, head of Global Pipeline, Lucasfilm, "Python plays a key role in our production pipeline. Without it a project the size of The Avengers would have been very difficult to pull off. From crowd rendering to batch processing to compositing, Python binds all things together."  And Blender , “a free open-source 3D content creation suite," uses Python as its primary language.
Not to be overlooked, the financial services industry is also featured as greatly reliant on Python. Examples in the brochure include Swisscom IT Services and Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg. And companies such as, which provides Python-based software to the nation of Ghana for the collection of VAT revenue, point up Python's importance in contributing to developing economies.
The brochure also features several educational uses of Python that serve to empower disadvantaged learners, like One Laptop per Child (OLPC), which has provided laptop computers to over 2.5 million children and teachers in 42 countries, and the PHOENIX project (Physics with Homemade Equipment and Innovative Experiments) started in 2004 by the Inter University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) in India.
The above are just a few of the abundant and impressive stories highlighted in the PSF brochure. Visit the website or download a copy for more info about how Python is indeed "changing the world." And If you or someone you know would benefit from this type of exposure or if you have a success story you'd like to share, please let us know.

Friday, January 23, 2015

2014 Year in Review, Part 2

Today's post wraps up our brief review of 2014, with a summary of both technical and community developments. 
On the technical side, the Python language grew with the releases of Python, and, in August, 3.4.1. Major new features of the 3.4 series, compared to 3.3 include "hundreds of small improvements and bug fixes." Additionally, Python 3.4.1 has many more advantages. "One notable change: the version of OpenSSL bundled with the Windows installer no longer has the "HeartBleed" vulnerability." See for more detailed information and to download any of these latest versions (as well as a Python 3 compatible version of PyPy).
The PSF also saw a culmination of a lot of hard work in the release of our new website, pydotorg. This site serves as a main repository of all crucial information about the Python language (downloads of all versions, tutorials, documentation, new releases, ongoing developments, ways to contribute), the PSF (what we are, what we do, bylaws, membership info, meeting minutes and resolutions), community resources (Python Wiki, the IRC, the diversity policy, mailing list, merchandise, projects, and events). Visit the website at to see how it should be your first stop for anything Python related and to learn how you can contribute to its upkeep. 
One of the PSF's favorite activities is to honor the contributions of its members. The 2014 Community Service Awards went to Pythonistas whose work, from organizing the largest annual PyCon, to teaching future Python users, to developing important modules and libraries that enhance the usefulness of Python, benefited so many of us. Congratulations to the following recipients:
Diana Clarke “for her work with the Canadian Python community, her organizing efforts for PyCon CA and PyCon US over the past several years, and her mentorship of many others in the community;”
R. David Murray “for his work as a core committer and as a long-time mentor of new contributors;”
Barbara Shaurette and Katie Cunningham "in recognition of their work to create and run their Young Coders classes, along with freely distributing their teaching materials;"
Christophe Gohke, of the University of California, Irvine; and Armin Ronacher, founding member of the Pocoo team; for their technical contributions to Python.
PyCon 2014 in April was the largest ever, and the first held outside the U.S. The beautiful and accommodating Palais de Congres in Montreal allowed for an incredibly smooth, comfortable, and well-organized week (in addition, of course, to the efforts of Diana Clarke and numerous volunteers). There were over 2,500 attendees, 128 sponsors, and 95 talks (selected from over 300 submissions) over 5 simultaneously-running tracks. In addition to the usual tutorials, lightening talks, and sprints, the conference offered first-time childcare, a service that enabled huge participation in a Young-Coders' class, as well as a hectic and productive Education Track, and a lot of youthful energy and enthusiasm. The city of Montreal itself provided for a "sixth track," Explore Montreal, allowing attendees to tour Old Montreal," visit museums, and climb "Mount Royal." If you missed last year's PyCon, it's not too late to register for PyCon 2015 to visit this fabulous city and attend an amazing conference.
Other activities performed by the PSF in 2014 included developing a new marketing brochure, choosing Portland, OR as the site for PyCon 2016 and 2017, updating the bylaws regarding memberships, quorums, and the grants procedure, adopting a privacy policy, and keeping up with trademark registrations for the term PyCon.

Addendum 1/25/15

It has come to my attention that the number of submissions for talks at PyCon 2014 was actually well over 600, rather than merely "over 300" as I stated above. My apologies, although the point I was trying to make was that the quality of talks presented, as well as their usefulness and interest to the diverse community, were of the highest order. That point is even more supported given the larger number. 

And similarly, submissions for PyCon 2015 are around 650 for the 95 slots available. What a dazzlingly productive and vital community! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

2014 Year in Review

Happy New Year from the PSF!

2014 was an eventful year for the Python community, and so we thought a brief rundown of highlights from last year should put us all in the right frame of mind to make 2015 an equally, or even more, productive year. There was so much activity in 2014, that it will take the next couple of blog posts to cover it all, so today's post will focus on membership growth, PSF funding, and conferences.
In 2014 the PSF revised the membership rules, creating a new category of "Basic Membership." We now have over 2000 Basic Members in addition to our Sponsoring, Supporting, Contributing, and Managing Members and Fellows. The community has also grown on social media, with followers totaling more than 100K on Facebook, 91K on Google+, and 41K on Twitter.
This increased inclusivity is good news, since the mission of the PSF is to promote the use and knowledge of Python. The more, the merrier. However, this does not mean a dilution of the power and quality of the language or of the community of users. Rather, this is a recognition of the necessity and value of Pythonistas at all levels of technical mastery—from core developers, through daily professional users, through occasional users, to hobbyists, to anyone who believes computer technology and literacy is and will continue to be the intellectual currency of the 21st century, and that open-source, freely available, non-proprietary access to the way the world works is important.
2014 also saw an explosion of Python-related events and conferences around the world. The PSF was delighted to fund many conferences.  In total, $78,853.41 USD was given for conference scholarships and $11,270.37 went to workshops. The list includes Django WeekendPyCon PhilippinesPython FOSDEM in Brussels, PyCon Australia in Brisbane, PyData LondonPyCon BrasilDjangoCon EuropePyCon APACPyCon ItaliaPyOhioPython Camp in Cologne, SciPy in Austin, PyCon Kiwi in Wellington, PyCon RussiaPyData BerlinPyCon ESPyCon JapanPyConZAPython ArgentinaPyTexas, and in NYC, both PyGotham and PyData.
In support of the PSF's commitment to education and diversity, we also sponsored programs including Bangalore PyLadies' Introduction to Python WorkshopGnome Outreach Program for Women Summer Internship, the Kivy ContestYoung Coders in Nashville Public Schools and at PyTennessee, and UNB Saint John Department of Computer Science Python Game Programming Camp. The PSF also gave a grant enabling 20 teachers to attend PyCon UK, funded Django Girls all around the world (at EuroPython, and in Warsaw, Budapest, Edinburgh, Uganda, Krakow, and Kampala), Code Chix in the Bay area, Cyberjutsu Girls AcademyGeek Girls Carrots, and Teen Python Camp in Peru.
Additional grants allowed Python programming projects, education, and conference attendance to become reality for many more Pythonistas. If you know of someone(s) deserving and desiring of financial assistance in order to attend a conference, or otherwise participate, let us know. We have limited resources, but these resources exist for the purpose of advancing the mission of the PSF—and that means helping you in your Python endeavors.
And, of course, April's PyCon 2014 in Montreal was a great success. More on this next time.
P.S If you are not yet a member of the PSF, you can sign up at the website. And be sure to visit the Python Events Calendar to keep current on what's happening and to post your organization's events.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Python Events Calendars - Please submit your 2015 events


As some of you may know, the PSF has a team of volunteers who are maintaining a set of central Python event calendars. We currently have two calendars in place:
  • Python Events Calendar - meant for conferences and larger gatherings focusing on Python or a related technology (in whole or in part)
The calendars are displayed on and also on the new website at and

You can subscribe to the calendars using iCal and RSS feeds and also embed the calendar widgets on your sites. We have also added a Twitter feed @PythonEvents to get immediate updates whenever a new event is added. Please see our wiki page for details:

The calendars are open to the world-wide Python community, so you can have local user group events, as well as regional and international conference events added to the calendars.


Looking back on 2014, the calendars have proven to be a great tool for the Python community to connect, with more than 60 conferences and more than a hundred of user group events listed.

We would therefore like to encourage everyone to submit their 2015 events, so that the Python community can get a better overview over what's happening in Python land.

Adding Events

Please see the instructions at for details on how to submit an event. We've made it really easy for you: just need to send an email to our team address using the email template we provide for this. Thanks.

PS: Please help spread the word about the calendars - we'll all benefit from knowing more about Python events happening around the world. Feel free to forward this posting to your local user groups and conference teams. Thanks.