The PSF and You

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Steve Holden's talk on the Python Software Foundation and you

Steve Holden's talk on the Python Software Foundation and you

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  • 1. The PSF and You Joining the Python Community Steve Holden steve@holdenweb.com Washington DC Zope & Python User Group October 6, 2009
  • 2. whoami Steve Holden, B.Sc., FBCS, CITP The clients like those letters after your name Python user since release 1.5 President, Holden Web LLC Systems consulting and training shop Now delivering Django-based systems Excellent Python training ... Author, Python Web Programming (2002) Chairman, Python Software Foundation
  • 3. Goals of This Talk Highlight community activities Connect you with “the Python community” Whatever that is … Encourage greater participation
  • 4. The Python Community Who Is It, What Does It Do?
  • 5. The Community? The PSF? 112 nominated members (March 2009) Mostly not core developers Contributors? Source, documentation, blogs, anything! Anyone who wants to join? I don’t think so Must demonstrate some commitment
  • 6. Python Usage Nobody really 2000000 knows how many 1800000 1600000 Python users there 1400000 2.5 1200000 are 1000000 2.6 800000 3.0 But usage is 600000 400000 3.1 growing 200000 0 Sep Nov Jan Mar May So we can expect a continual stream of Windows Installer Downloads, 2008/9 …
  • 7. Noob Enthusiasm! I just started using python last week and I'm addicted. […] Man, I love Python ! Its so clean and easy to use. Its so complete. It links into everything one way or another... Java, C, C++, Qt, KDE, SWT, Swing and probably more things that I don't know about. Python makes sense. Python is readable. […] I love how Python has object member lists in PyDev in Eclipse. It makes it easy to use and explore the language and objects. I wrote a simple command line serial emulator in about 10 minutes using the PySerial library. Unbelievable. I see a lot of Python in my future. comp.lang.python, January 24, 2009
  • 8. How Do We Enthuse Noobs? They need to feel that “I rock!” Immediately feeling positive about Python use! So, how do we have new users “rocking out of the box”? Get the user excited about Python! Make them feel part of the community What is Python’s marketing proposition?* * This phrase is more or less guaranteed to get up some people’s noses
  • 9. The Python Noob Experience
  • 10. What’s the “Competition” Up To?
  • 11. More “Competition” …
  • 12. Something More User-Oriented
  • 13. The Web Site Isn’t Captivating Python users can’t do cool things? We all know they can! But how does a noob? Where are the easily available demos? wxPython scores very well here Home page strategy: make it obvious you can do extremely cool things with Python quite easily
  • 14. So, What About python.org? Some progress since January 2006
  • 15. It’s Bleedin’ Demised? This is April 2006. Look familiar?
  • 16. The Conclusion? “What a shame there’s no great Python Web software” Except for … But someone needs to do the work …
  • 17. Community Activities What’s Been Going On?
  • 18. Conference Activity Vigorous PyCon -- Atlanta in 2010 – yay! International PyCons: Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, UK, Peru, EuroPython … Regional (un)conferences Just starting to appear in the US PyOhio, PyAR, PyCamp TX, … More will doubtless follow PSF has offered support – not always actually needed!
  • 19. PyCon US Attendance 1200 1000 800 600 # Delegates 400 200 0 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
  • 20. Development Needs Help Not responding effectively to “first patches” from new potential developers “Non release critical bug reports and feature requests tend to fall down a black hole after about a week.” comp.lang.python, January 23, 2009
  • 21. Development Grants PSF awarded three development grants SNMP-based development Software Carpentry notes Jython Incredibly hard work for assessors Not repeated due to lack of manpower We do support many conferences including regional conferences
  • 22. Recent Conference Grants SciPy 2009 $10,000 EuroPython 2009 $6,000 PyCon Italia 2009 $3,500 Python en Santa Fe 2008 $300 PyArkansas 2008 $300 PyCon UK 2008 $3,500 PyOhio 2008 $300 SciPy 2008 $7,500
  • 23. Greater Participation?
  • 24. Who’s In Charge? The PSF? If so then, notionally, me Joined the PSF Board in 2004 Chairman since March 2008 Board is trying to provide open governance But often the members just say “get on with it, please”
  • 25. What’s the Mission? … to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of the international community of Python programmers [my emphasis] How do we build popular support? And what kind of support? How can the PSF speak more authoritatively for the whole Python community?
  • 26. Recent PSF Changes Bylaws Changes Now more practical to enlarge membership Full-time conferences coordinator Position canceled due to losses Treasurer engaged 500 hours/year Administrative assistant Remote worker, contracted as needed Catching up on long-standing tasks
  • 27. Leadership? Open source people are not easy to lead Constructive anarchy? A strategy is required This sets the direction But if nobody gets behind it we may as well not bother This is the killer issue right now Board members have only so much time … Elected members would rather develop …
  • 28. So, What’s the Strategy? Facilitate ways to connect the community Geeks aren’t the best at seeking each other out and starting to collaborate Support community initiatives Conferences, SIGs, projects Particularly those that produce visible results Which in turn encourage more Python use Enable rather than push Nothing to push with at volunteers
  • 29. Still, it’s better than running the Python Software Foundation Steve’s Retirement
  • 30. Basic Approach Recruit ideas from “the community” Encourage people to lead the projects Support with resources as required Mostly money (really: what money can buy) Travel, equipment, other resources Broader membership availability? Python users appear to want to help the PSF! You tell us … This cannot be an abstract exercise
  • 31. Resource Limits Funds could become a problem (Wo)manpower is Without people to run programs we cannot do everything we would like Grants Conferences Infrastructure and Web Site Publications Development User Groups …
  • 32. Engage The World! Python users are our best advocates Let’s give commercial users a channel Explain how Python benefits them Gives them a reason to publicize Python They can publicize themselves too Python is an excellent teaching language Leverage existing teachers’ experience Convince others of the benefits
  • 33. How to Save Developer Time? Semi-formal mentoring scheme Attract and retain new developers Welcome non-developers Lots to do on documentation Sprints require organization Needs time investment from developers Could be returned many times over Ultimately leaving them free to develop! The developers have so far mostly ignored this suggestion
  • 34. Guiding the Developers Dialog with users is important Tracker tool is a poor primary channel Very intimidating to inexperienced users Whose input is the most needed Tracker “archaeology” project has helped But the RoundUp interface is still complex Need a more approachable medium? Tests still need improvement
  • 35. Optimize the Web Make python.org a portal Allowing access to diverse groups With decentralized management via APIs* Showcase the best of Python Provide a compelling demonstration of The vibrance of the Python community The value of Python Open source ideals * But a unified look-and-feel, please … and professional availability levels
  • 36. Possible Active Content Top digg/delicious item of the day Recent package index additions News from projects Featured jobs, projects, modules … Conference news and reports Latest Planet links Code snippets … etc., etc.
  • 37. One Small Possibility
  • 38. Possible Images
  • 39. The Vision (or A Vision, Anyway) PSF Board Web National Outreach Dev Fund Language Infra- User And and Raising Dev structure Groups Marketing* Maint Local Language User CPython Jython PyPy IronPython Specs Groups * There’s that word again …
  • 40. The Inspirational Bit? Ask not what Python can do for you But rather, what you can do for Python The PSF can use help Just a question of deciding how you want to contribute. Contribution is the route to membership But there are many ways to contribute In the meantime, become an associate?
  • 41. Some Wish List Items Maintainer(s) for Python Success Stories A different story daily on the home page Professional “brand management” You think “success” happens by accident? More community members taking control Own your project, ask for assistance Better communication between users and developers The issue tracker is not the right forum …
  • 42. YOU Are the Python Community This should be seen as an opportunity Pro-actively represent the community There’s nothing wrong with planning to provide mutual benefit Increasing Python popularity means greater opportunity Remember that newbie? (S)he might be sitting next to you Always take the time to welcome newcomers
  • 43. Evangelism is OK! Let’s all be Python evangelists Let’s all acknowledge our debt to Python And think about “giving something back* …” Ask the PSF for resources We can all help in different ways Your ideas are as good as anyone else’s The Python community is cool Because you are cool! * Or, better still, putting something in first!
  • 44. Questions? Suggestions? Discussion? Volunteering? Is the bar open yet?