Saturday, April 30, 2016

We Want You to Run for the 2016 Board of Directors

You don't have to be an expert, or a Python celebrity. If you care about Python and you want to nurture our community and guide our future, we invite you to join the Board.

Nominations are open for the Python Software Foundation's Board of Directors now through the end of May 15. Nominate yourself if you are able and inspired to help the PSF fulfill its mission:

"The mission of the Python Software Foundation is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse and international community of Python programmers."

If you know someone who would be an excellent director, ask if they would like you nominate them!

What is the job? Directors do the business of the PSF, including:
  • Appoint PSF officers.
  • Manage the budget, allocate funds, and award grants.
  • Raise money and recruit sponsors.
  • Manage public relations, education, and outreach.
  • Perform the PSF's legal duties as a non-profit corporation.
  • Administer the PSF membership program and serve its members.
  • Protect Python’s intellectual property rights and licenses: logos, trademarks, and open source licenses.

Read "Expectations of Directors" for details.

There are 11 directors, elected annually for a term of one year. Directors are unpaid volunteers. They need not be residents of the US.

The deadline for nominations is the end of May 15, Anywhere on Earth ("AoE"). As long as it is May 15 somewhere, nominations are open. A simple algorithm is this: make your nominations by 11:59pm on your local clock and you are certain to meet the deadline. Ballots to vote for the board members will be sent May 20, and the election closes May 30.

If you're moved to nominate yourself or someone else, here are the instructions:

How to nominate candidates in the 2016 PSF Board Election.

While you're on that page, check if your membership makes you eligible to actually vote in the election.

For more info, see the PSF home page and the PSF membership FAQ.

Monday, April 18, 2016

PyCamp Argentina

Stream amid green hills and blue sky

You settle into a deck chair in the sun. All around you are the hills, streams, and spectacular greenery of Cordoba Province, Argentina. You could take a nap, or a hike. But best of all, you can write code with friends. "There's a particular energy you can't find elsewhere. It comes from everybody working together, playing together, discussing ideas," says Facundo Batista. "You can devote your time to your community, because everything is taken care of. You spend all day programming, then take 40 steps to your bed."

PyCamp is Argentina's annual outdoor code sprint. This year, Facundo Batista organized PyCamp in the small town of La Serranita. For four days, 24 coders hacked on a dozen open source projects, with the help of a $600 grant from the Python Software Foundation.

"It's especially fruitful for newbies," says Batista. "You can be a 22-year-old with a couple years of college, and you are working on an open-source project side-by-side with someone with 25 years experience at big companies. The amount you can learn, it's awesome!"

Three young people sitting and talking on an outdoor wooden deck.

The idea for PyCamp arose from Argentina's Python community, beginning in 2008. The camp isn't really outdoors: there is a roof, walls, beds, bathrooms, even electricity and WiFi. But despite these amenities, the location is always abundantly green and rural.

Batista used the PSF grant to bring several new coders, improving the group's diversity. One first-time participant, Ariel Ramos, says, "Thanks for the grant, I liked the experience a lot, and it was very useful to be there. I liked the openness to the newbies and the special attention to ensure they enjoyed the event and learned." Another participant, Pedro Nieto, says PyCamp "allowed me to participate in several interesting projects that normally I wouldn't have even known about. It gave me more confidence to program, and encouraged me to participate in the free software community."

White daisy with a pink center, photographed against a white wall

PyCamp participants each arrive with one or two ideas, and the sprint begins with pitches to recruit contributors. "You end up working on 5 or 6 different projects," says Batista. "No attachments." At the end of the sprint, the teams present their work in a series of lightning talks.

Batista's favorite project this year was a tower defense game, built from scratch. Half the participating programmers wrote the game's core, and coded its UI using pyglet, the Python OpenGL library. The other half invented an AI to play the game. With their responsibilities neatly divided, the teams were very productive: they completed a working game in four days. Inexperienced members were mixed in with experts on each team to accelerate their learning. "I actually knew only a little Python," says Agustín Curto. "I was just starting with the language, and it helped because I learned a lot by asking."

Tower defense game
By sponsoring new PyCamp coders, the PSF wasn't merely generous: it also made an investment in the future of the Python community in Argentina. José Luis Zanotti says, "It was such an incredible, fun, and educational experience that I decided to commit myself to be an active member of the community, working in their projects, and overall promoting the usage of Python in my geographic area."

Photos by Facundo Batista; full gallery on Flickr.