Kushal Das4

FOSS and life. Kushal Das talks here.

Updates on my Python community work: 16-17

Thank you, everyone, for re-electing me to the Python Software Foundation board 2017. The results of the vote came out on June 12th. This is my third term on the board, 2014, and 2016 were the last two terms. In 2015 I was out as random module decided to choose someone else :)

Things I worked on last year

I was planning to write this in April, but somehow my flow of writing blog posts was broken, and I never managed to do so. But, better late than never

As I had written in wiki page for candidates, one of my major goal last year was about building communities out of USA region. The warm welcome I have received in every upstream online community (and also in physical conferences), we should make sure that others should be able to have the same experience.

As part of this work, I worked on three things:

  • Started PyCon Pune, goal of the conference being upstream first
  • Lead the Python track at FOSSASIA in Singapore
  • Helping in the local PyLadies group (they are in the early stage)

You can read about our experience in PyCon Pune here, I think we were successful in spreading the awareness about the bigger community which stands out there on the Internet throughout the world. All of the speakers pointed out how welcoming the community is, and how Python, the programming language binds us all. Let it be scientific computing or small embedded devices. We also managed to have a proper dev sprint for all the attendees, where people did their first ever upstream contribution.

At FOSSASIA, we had many professionals attending the talks, and the kids were having their own workshops. There were various other Python talks in different tracks as well.

Our local PyLadies Pune group still has many beginner Python programmers than working members. Though we have many working on Python on their job, but never worked with the community before. So, my primary work there was not only about providing technical guidance but also try to make sure that the group itself gets better visibility in the local companies. Anwesha writes about the group in much more details than me, so you should go to her blog to know about the group.

I am also the co-chair of the grants working group. As part of this group, we review the grants proposals PSF receives. As the group members are distributed, generally we manage to get good input about these proposals. The number of grant proposals from every region has increased over the years, and I am sure we will see more events happening in the future.

Along with Lorena Mesa, I also helped as the communication officer for the board. She took charge of the board blog posts, and I was working on the emails. I was finding it difficult to calculate the amounts, so wrote a small Python3 script which helps me to get total numbers for every months’ update. This also reminds me that I managed to attend all the board meetings (they are generally between 9:30 PM to 6:30 AM for me in India) except the last one just a week before PyCon. Even though I was in Portland during that time, I was confused about the actual time of the event, and jet lag did not help either.

I also helped our amazing GSoC org-admin team, Terri is putting countless hours to make sure that the Python community gets a great experience in this program. I am hoping to find good candidates in Outreachy too. Last year, the PSF had funds for the same but did not manage to find a good candidate.

There were other conferences where I participated in different ways. Among them the Science Hack Day India was very special, working with so many kids, learning Python together in the MicroPython environment was a special moment. Watiting for this year’s event eagerly.

I will write about my goals in the 2017-18 term in a future blog post.

PyCon Pune 2017

2017 is a special year for various reasons. PyCon Pune 2017 is one of the biggest points in that list. This gave us an opportunity to meet with the friends and work along with the community on the language/projects we love.

Anwesha first pointed out the idea that we can have a regional PyCon, and later in the Delhi airport (while returning from PyCon India) I shared the idea with Sayan and Ratnadeep. The goal was to focus on upstream contribution and communities at the same time. We made the first call for organizers and volunteers as soon as I managed to get a venue fixed. Though just before the conference we had to move the main conference venue (for various reasons) to another beautiful location, AMANORA THE FERN HOTELS AND CLUB, Pune. We had two different part of the conference, first two days were the main conference, a single track of talks. This helped everyone to attend the whole of conference talks. People could also visit the sponsor booths or enjoy the view of the venue in the hallway track. The second part of the conference was dev sprints, which was the main attraction for us. It was held in the Red Hat Pune office in the last 2 days of the conference. Having the sprints in an office helped us to get a stable Internet, and power. In total, we had around 550+ attendees and around 120 dev sprint attendees. The tickets for dev sprints were sold out in the first few days :) and there was a big demand for any ticket transfer till the last moment. We also had child care facility around 5 minutes walking distance from the main venue. Our tshirt had a comment from Brett Cannon, this was also a perfect way to communicate the goal of the conference.

We had 89 talk proposals, out of that 10 talks were selected and 6 keynotes. I should especially thank all the speakers as they traveled of their own, and thus helping with our limited budget for the conference. Btw, I have written another blog post about how do we take care of our conference speakers.

Everything related to the conference was maintained in the github. Our logo came from Ryan Lerch, website was made by a group of volunteers. The local hackerspace, reserved-bit was not only a sponsor for us, but also volunteered to manage the finance of the conference and volunteering in person. They also have a blog post explaining the budget information in their blog. Janastu helped us to manage the ticket (registration) sales. Hasgeek helped by providing the video recording equipment. All the talks (except one where we lost the audio due to a technical issue) are available on youtube.

The Python Software Foundation helped us for this conference from the day 1, PyLadies Pune were managing the PSF booth during the conference. Microsoft Python team, Elastic, Pipal Academy, Red Hat, reserved-bit, PSF were the sponsors in the first edition of the conference.

Devsprints details

As I mentioned above, the dev sprints were the main fun point for PyCon Pune. At the end of two days of sprints, we manage to have the following things done (mostly by total newcomers):

Cpython

OpenCabs

Web.py

ElasticSearch

Django

es-django-example

Pagure

Learning of all things

  • Getting started with PyGame
  • Getting started with Cactus (static website generating)
  • Using git and github
  • Using github pages

MicroPython

We also had a full room with people working on MicroPython and hardware. John Hawley was helping out people with MicroPython, and he also got many ESP8266 based bunny boards, which he distributed among the participants. You can read more about one such project in Anwesha’s blog. And the rest of the details from sprints:

  • Making things blink
  • Watching Star Wars
  • Flashing Boards, then unflashing boards
  • Bunny herding
  • Thumb bitting at thee
  • Xen of V & A and the river W
  • MicroPython and the search for the Temperature Sensors 2 - the sensors are lost!
  • Asking random Chinese LED manufacturer’s if they can make the impossible (turns out they are bums and can’t)
  • Plotting adc values from esp8266 using matplotlib
  • Causing Bunny infestation

Full photoset

All the photos from the conference are available in my flickr album.

What about PyCon Pune 2018?

You will have to wait for few more days for the exciting announcements :) Sayan already made a call for design volunteers.