Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Python meme 2009

Here’s a short, 5 questions, 2009 Python meme. Copy-paste the questions, and blog your answers !

1. What’s the coolest Python application, framework or library you have discovered in 2009 ?

SQLAlchemy, not only does it fully (properly) abstract the SQL database for you, but provides a full Object Relational Mapping. What's more, it's Python 3 ready.

2. What new programming technique did you learn in 2009 ?

Using GObject Introspection to mix several languages (ie, Python and Javascript) in the same application.

3. What’s the name of the open source project you contributed the most in 2009 ? What did you do ?

Concordance XMPP, an XMPP service framework for Python I started January 1st 2009.

4. What was the Python blog or website you read the most in 2009 ?

Python Planet

5. What are the three top things you want to learn in 2010 ?

  2. Welding
  3. Aikido

Monday, December 07, 2009

peer1/serverbeach severe failure

We've seen a greater than average share of service outages at Serverbeach; incompetent electricians blowing out the battery backup system causing an evening of downtime, network failures taking the server down for hours at a time, other random outages without explanation.

Of course these outages affect large numbers of customers so you get 500 errors when trying to access the customer portal or put on hold for up to an hour waiting to talk to someone only able to enter a ticket into the system on your behalf.

This latest outage tops them all, however. Yesterday afternoon they attempted to merge the Peer1 and Serverbeach customer portals which knocked out DNS for a "large number" of customers. They sent out an email to everyone and I fully expected it to be a short outage.

Last night at around 8pm all of our domains were still down. I attempted to log into the customer portal to find my old password not working, and after a lengthy process to recover it I found myself locked out of it unless I agreed to a lengthy new service agreement which I certainly don't have time to read through in the middle of an outage.

After sitting on hold with customer service a ticket was filed. Which I replied to, and replied to, and have only received blanket emails asking to reply again if we're still out. More than 24 hours later we are still down.

Serverbeach claims they refund customers for outages, but I have yet to receive a dime credited for any past issues and I fully expect them to make getting credit for this difficult as well. At this point I don't think it's fair to myself or the communities which rely on this server to continue hosting with them.

I've found a really decent deal with Hurricane Electric with the added perks of IPV6, more bandwidth, and newer hardware for less than I'm paying now.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gentoo wins again with Python 3

Despite being heavily involved in Ubuntu advocacy and promotion, being a member of the Ubuntu project, and using it on my personal systems, I've had to keep my servers and development machines running Gentoo.

When developing software, we need to work on what will be "mainstream" in 6 to 12 months, not what's already mainstream. When a new version of our physics library is released, it may depreciate certain methods or include new features we'll really want in our release, but that version won't be packaged until 2-8 months after the new library was released, given the typical release cycles and "feature freeze" stopping new packages from being included too close to release time.

Python 3 is a great example of this; Gnome 3 will apparently use Python 3 for many applets, and Gnome 3's release schedule sets it for inclusion in Ubuntu 10.10 (next Fall), but at present Python 3.1 is packaged but none of the 3rd party packages are available for it - even those which explicitly support Python 3 already.

While doing my periodic Gentoo upgrade, I just noticed that Portage, the package system for Gentoo, can now be built to run on Python 3 directly. When you have both Python 2 and 3 installed on your system, packages wich support both will build and install for both, and their packaged versions are often available just days after release. From what I've seen, Gentoo is one of the best distributions for Python developers right now.

I wouldn't recommend that my family run Gentoo, many of whom happily run Ubuntu, but it's lack of support for developers is concerning to me. I do not believe it should be difficult to both support new Linux users and experienced developers with the same distribution.