Thursday, March 17, 2011

PyCon 2011 wrapup

This has been an awesome week at PyCon, though I'm completely exhausted.

The most notable outcome of several meetings with Python leadership about increasing diversity in the Python community. In my role with PSF's educational outreach programs I'm calling on 3rd party projects working with us to help work to increase gender balance in our community, and as PySoy's project maintainer I'm committing us to working seriously on this issue over the next year as an example.

Several college-aged women at PyCon knew about Google's Summer of Code but believed it was only for "geniuses who've been programming since they were 13" or that they were unqualified for other reasons, even though they're clearly more skilled (and moreso, have a better attitude) than some of the male students we get.

To address this, my first step is outreach to women for applying to us for Google's Summer of Code in hopes of resolving any miscommunication over required experience and what we're looking for. This is being sent out over the next week so potential applicants leverage of early involvement with mentors that many students have already started on.

Once Summer of Code is underway I plan to continue this an internship program in attempt to get more women involved in our community in ways not supported by GSoC such as through QA testing, documentation, video tutorials, and artwork. This program will be for women ages 18+ with no college requirement, though we're still working out many of the other details.

For the PyCon sprints I worked on the new "packaging" package for Python 3.3, formerly known as distutils2. My primary interest in this is a packaging.backport module based on 3to2 (which backports code from 3.2 to 2.7) extended with further fixers for 2.7 to 2.6, 2.5, and 2.4. This module will work for packages written for Python 3.3 and above to maintain Python 2 compatibility, and also to backport "packaging" to the standalone distutils2 package for previous Python versions.

We managed to get distutils2 largely upgraded for Python 3.3 syntax and the non-PyPI tests running cleanly, though much more work is needed. We have a few months given than Python 3.2 was just released and we're working on a roughly 18 month release cycle.