Kushal Das

FOSS and life. Kushal Das talks here.


Updates from PyCon Pune, 12th January

This is a small post about PyCon Pune 2017. We had our weekly volunteers meet on 12th January in the hackerspace. You can view all the open items in the GitHub issue tracker. I am writing down the major updates below:


We have already reached the ideal number of registrations for the conference. The registration will be closed tomorrow, 15th of January. This will help us to know the exact number of people attending, thus enabling us to provide the better facility.

Hotel and travel updates

All international speakers booked their tickets, the visa application process is going on.

Child care

Nisha made a contact with the Angels paradise academy for providing childcare.

T-shirts for the conference

T-shirts will be ordered by coming Tuesday. We want to have a final look at the material from a different vendor on this Sunday.

Speakers’ dinner

Anwesha is working on identifying the possible places.

Food for the conference

Nisha and Siddhesh identified Rajdhani as a possible vendor. They also tried out the Elite Meal box, and it was sufficient for one person. By providing box lunches, it will be faster and easier to manage the long lunch queues.

Big TODO items

  • Design of the badge.
  • Detailed instruction for the devsprint attendees.

Next meeting time

From now on we will be having two volunteers meet every week. The next meet is tomorrow 3pm, at the hackerspace. The address is reserved-bit, 337, Amanora Chambers (Above Amanora Mall), Hadapsar, Pune.

PyCon Pune updates January, 2017

We have only a month left for first ever PyCon Pune. This is a short post with the latest updates from the conference organizing team. I am listing them below without any particular order.

  • Talk selection completed on time, and the schedule is now live.
  • We announced the availability of child care facility during the conference. The form is here.
  • From January 1st, the conference ticket price has gone up.
  • Most of the keynote speakers have booked their flight tickets.
  • Managing finances was going to be tricky and we needed a single point of contact to accept sponsorship money and reimburse expenses so that managing the money was as uncomplicated as possible. reserved-bit, a newly launched makerspace in Pune offered to help with that and Siddhesh has taken up the task of accounting for the conference, bringing in his experience of managing money for FUDCon Pune 2015.
  • We will resume our physical volunteer meetings from next week.

Updates from PyCon Pune

PyCon Pune

This will be the first year for PyCon Pune. This will give us a chance to meet our friends, discuss, and work on the language we all love :)

Event date: 16-19th February, 2017.

Location: Pune, India

Format: 2 days of main conference, 2 days of devsprints.

All Keynote speakers have been announced

We finally managed to announce all of our keynote speakers. I am putting up the names below. But you can learn more about them from the speakers page.

CFP is still open for two more days

We have our CFP still open for 2 more days, till 30th November, 2016. Feel free to submit any talk you think you want to present. The event is a single track event, means everyone will get a chance to see all the talks. This also means we have a tougher job in selecting talks :)

Registration is also open

The registration for the conference is also now open. As expected, the 4 days tickets (including devsprints) were sold out super fast. We still have main conference tickets left. Currently the only way to register for devsprints is through supporter ticket, which is also very limited in number. So remember to register fast :)

Event report: PyCon India 2016

This time instead of per day report, I will try to write about things happened during PyCon India. This time we had the conference at JNU, in Delhi. It was nice to be back at JNU after such a long time. The other plus point was about the chance to meet ilug-delhi again.

Red Hat booth at PyCon

We had booth duty during the conference. Thanks to Rupali, we managed to share the booth space with PyLadies. After the keynote the booth space got flooded with people. Many of them were students, or freshers looking for internship option. We also had queries about services provided by Red Hat. Just outside the booth we had Ganesh, SurajN, Trishna, , they were talking to every person visit our booth. Answering the hundreds of queries people had. It was nice to see how they were talking about working upstream, and inspiring students to become upstream contributor. I also did a talk Python usage in Red Hat family.

PyLadies presence

This was the first time we had PyLadies presence in PyCon India. You can read their experience from their blogs, 1, 2, 3. This presence was very important as it helped the community to learn about PyLadies. We saw the expectation of starting new chapters in different parts of the country. Nisha, Anwesha, Pooja, Rupali, Janki and the rest of the team managed to get an impromptu open space session, which I think was the best session on community I ever saw. Jeff Rush, Van Lindberg, Paul Everitt, Dmitry Filippov joined to share their experience in community.

annual dgplug face to face meeting

From dgplug.org we all meet face to face during PyCon India, we generally call the meeting as stair case meeting as we used to seat in the stair case of the Bangalore venue. This time we chose the seat in the ramp in the venue. We had a list of people coming, but as you can see in the photo below, the list of dgplug, and friends is ever growing. Sirtaj also came in during the meeting, and shared some valuable ideas with the students. I should mention VanL's keynote at day one here. As he spoke about "failure", which is something people don't prefer to talk. It is very much important for the students to understand that failure is something to learn from, not to run away. Most of the students we talked later, had being able to understand the points Van made in his talk.

Anwesha's first talk at PyCon

She already wrote about the talk in her blog. But I want to mention it again as it gave a new perspective to the developers present in the conference. For the students present in the conference who wanted to become upstream contributors, got a chance to learn about the binding point, the license. She talked about best practises at the end of her talk. Few days back I read another blog post about her talk (and the PyLadies).

One can view all the photos in my flickr album.

Fedora mirror at home with improved hardware

It was always a dream to have a fully functional Fedora mirror in the local network which I can use. I tried many times before, mostly with copying rpms from office, carrying them around in hard drive, etc. But never managed to setup a working mirror which will just work (even though setting it up was not that difficult). My house currently has 3 different network (from 3 different providers) and at any point of time 1 of them stays down 😔


If you remember my post on home storage, I was using Banana Pi(s). They are still very nice, and Fedora runs on them properly, but they were not very powerful, things like rsync was crawling on them. This PyCon, I received Minnowboard Turbot from John Hawley(Thanks a lot once again). It took time to get them setup (as I don't have a monitor with HDMI, I had to steal the TV from the front room), they are finally up in my own production environment. Installation of Fedora was super easy, just used the latest Fedora 24 from a live USB stick, and I was ready to go.

In the picture above you can see two of those running, you can also see a Banana Pi in the back.

Syncing up the mirror

Now for my work, I mostly need x86_64, and nothing else (I update my ARM boards, but not regularly). So following the tips in #fedora-noc channel from smooge, and puiterwijk, and some tips from this wiki page, I started rsyncing the 24GA. This was around 55GB, and took me some days to get it in. Mean while Chandan helped me by syncing the updates repo. Right now I have a cron job which syncs the update repo every night.

Remember to add the following your Apache virtualhost configuration

  AddType application/octet-stream .iso
  AddType application/octet-stream .rpm

Day -1 of PyCon US 2016

I reached Portland two days back, was happy to see that Remy helped us to find a hotel just opposite to the conference center. As I am typing this, I can see the empty roads, and the main doors of the venue. Yesterday also I woke up by 5AM, the virtue of being in a place 12:30 hours apart from your standard timezone :) After writing the article about Microbit support in Fedora (it is still under review) I moved to the conference venue. It was very easy to find the staff room. As usual Doug,Lvh,Eric were already there, later I met Ewa, and then met Betsy for the first time. While discussing security practices when I asked, Lvh pointed out that getting golang vendored sources in the source code repository and then not updating them later, is more of a software engineering problem than a security problem as he sees.

Later in the day few of us walked towards downtown to get some lunch, and then we decided to visit Powell's again. Mike Pirnat gave some valuable insights about children books, and card games :) After coming back to the venue, we saw more people are coming in. Rami was the first person to meet, PyCon is really a great place to meet old friends. Later I met Glyph, Hynek, Guido, Harry, Mike Muller, Graham Dumpleton, and Yarko (I don't think I will be able to write down people's names like this from tomorrow, the list will be too long :D ). I also found PyDanny, and Audrey coming in for the registration. It was good see her walking around after the big surgery.

Guido pointed out the xkcd comics about the Python patch. The discussion then moved to regex, legal side of the software field. I also had a chat about how CentOS is helping CPython with CI effort. It turns out that Guido knew about CentOS, but never looked deep into what is that :) He was seems be happy about help CentOS is doing by providing the beefy boxes to do build+test super fast. I am actually going to talk about that today in the Language Summit.

Later at night a large group of us moved to a nearby Ethiopian place for dinner. The food was great, we had more people coming in for the next few hours. Ntoll also came in and joined our table. Came back to the hotel room around 22:30, and tried to sleep early so that I can wake up in time. Today I will be in the registration desk from 7AM just like other years, and then I will move into the Language Summit. See you all in PyCon :)

Day 1 of PyCon India 2015

Day one is the first day of main event. I was late to wake up, but somehow managed to reach the venue around 8:30am. Had a quick breakfast, and then moved into the Red Hat booth. Sankarshan, Alfred, Soni were already there. I don't know the exact reason, but the booth managed to grab the attention of all the people in the venue. It was over crowded :) While the students were much more interested in stickers, and other goodies, many came forward to ask about internship options, and future job opportunities. Alfred did an excellent job in explaining the details to the participants. The crowd was in booth even though the keynote of day one had started. I missed most of keynote as many people kept coming in the booth, and they had various questions.

At 11:30AM, we had our annual Dgplug meetup on the staircase of the venue. It is already known as "dgplug staircase meeting".We are a virtual group for the most part of the year, but PyCon is the time when we try to meet and discuss various things face to face. Though this year many new members were busy volunteering, so they missed the meeting. We mostly discussed about the summer training, what went wrong, how can we improve etc. Here are two tweets about the same from others.

I had only one talk in my mind (other than the keynotes) which I wanted to attend. It was "Pretty printing in Python" by Shakthi Kannan, a talk about a 3D printer made from the parts available in India, and his experiments with it in both software, hardware level. It was an excellent talk.

During lunch time Anwesha and Py (my daughter) came in. This was Py's first conference. She really enjoyed it, happily roamed around with Sankarshan, and Chandan for a long time. Here is a family photo in the Red Hat booth.

Rest of the second half I spent mostly talking with the people in and around the booth. "What do you think about working in Red Hat and upstream projects? What is the difference you feel than working for any other big names?" this question led to an interesting discussion with few SymPy developers. I hope I managed to explain my viewpoints to them properly. That answer anyway should get it's own blog post :)

This year we also had a childcare facility in the event, and it was amazing. So many kids were inside through out the both days of the event. The parents were extremely happy about the facility. Thank you organisers for making this available to the participants with kids.

PyCon Development sprints and why should you attend it?

What are development sprints?

At PyCon, after the main conference, the next four days many developers and contributors sit together in different rooms. They work on their projects, they submit patches to other projects. Lots of discussions happen over lunch, or in the corridors.

Demonstration time

How do these sprints start?

The long queue of sprinters

After the last keynote, project owners queue up near the stage and come up one by one to describe their projects and what they will be working on. Attendees then go to different rooms allotted to these projects to start working on them.

Is this something a new developer can join in?

Absolutely. If you come to the tables of any major project, you will find people helping others setup their development environment. Sometimes you will find a table with one or two people on it. If you ask them about their project, they will be really interested to explain the project to you and they will also help you start working on the project. I spend most of the time at the CPython development table, where I've seen people getting patches merged within those four days. Many said that they've never contributed to any upstream project before.

What kind of projects can I expect to see at these sprints?

You will find most of the major projects in these development sprints. If you have not decided any particular project, you can roam around in the different rooms and visit all the tables. You will find different kinds of projects on those tables. Starting from web frameworks, to the latest scientific Python stack or even people writing games with PyGames.

The mailman team


But I can do that from my home over IRC, isn't?

Actually no, you cannot. In the development sprints you can meet developers face to face, which is very important in building trust. Before getting commit access to your favorite project, you have to gain trust of your fellow developers from that project. You have to submit quality patches, and face to face meeting adds up to your credits.

Mercurial team

Let me tell you a story from 2014 sprints. At the Cpython development table I was having issues with the Mercurial. As I was telling that to the other core developers at the table, I figured out that there were few people looking at my screen from behind. When I looked back, they told me that they are the authors of Mercurial project and they would love to solve my issue. Within next ten minutes, all of my questions were answered, all issues were solved. This is not possible if you decide to stay at home. Come to the development sprints and experience this yourself.


Is this only code, no other fun?

You will find lots of tips and funny stories while writing patches. The kind of stories you cannot hear or read anywhere. When I managed to break CPython builds for the first time, I heard stories from other core developers and we all had a good laugh. We also go out to different food joints in the evening. I personally found Montreal is amazing for food lovers.

Can I attend only first two days of the sprint?

Of course you can. We all have other commitments. You may want to work on your favorite project for the first two days and then go out for other work. With each day, the number of participants will come down, but even on the last day you will find a good number of Pythonistas to hangout with.

This sounds like fun, so how can I add my project to the sprints?



First create a wiki page with details about the things you want to do in your project during the sprints. This can be writing code, writing documentation or discussing design decisions. After you have a page ready for others to look at, you add that page url to this page. It is always better to have things ready than doing it on the spot. Remember to stay after the keynote on the last day of the main conference, come on the stage and talk about your sprint ideas in front of everyone.

I go to conferences in different countries, but none have such amazing effect like PyCon development sprints. Maybe because it is huge. The number of people attending or the number of projects, both are really high. People are engaging in various technical discussions, some are talking about next conference we all can meet.

So if you are yet to book your hotel and flight details, make sure that you keep room for PyCon development sprints. Your life will be changed.

Few more photos from sprints 2014

More discussion to follow


PyCon US 2013

If I have to publish this post in twitter it will simply become "Best conference ever, thank you @pycon".

Conferences are always a good place to meet old friends or make new ones, to meet like minded people with whom you can share your passion, discuss technical and non technical things in the same pace. There are few conferences where you will see work getting done in a fast pace, PyCon was one of them. Of course we have the extra toppings of great food, drinks and stories.

PyCon US 2013 had all of them but in much larger plates. Nine days full of excitement, 2500+ people under one roof, 6 parallel tracks of talks, the language summit, first ever education summit, 4 days of continuous hacking on your favorite projects are a few things which are coming in my mind in less than 10 seconds.

Day -1

I reached SFO around 1:20pm on 11th March. Took a cab to Ramada in Santa Clara. This was my first USA trip and after reaching hotel I found the place kind of empty. It was a strange feeling about not finding any person outside cars :)

Luckily saw Douglas Napoleone's email telling volunteers already reaching the venue. So, I just took a cab and reached venue.

In the office room I met Douglas, Noah Kantrowitz, Laurens Van Houtven, Oskar Żabik and later Ewa Jodlowska. Started setting up the "green room" with Douglas and had enough fun while testing each of the radio equipments for volunteers. Met the amazing AV team, they need a special thanks as the event reaches to many more people through their dedication and hard work. Had dinner with others and came back to the hotel late at night.





I have to mention one thing, the warm welcome I received from everyone through out the conference. I never felt for a moment that I was there for the first time or meeting them first time. We always talk about how open the communities should be or how diversity should help. Trust me when I say that the Python community at PyCon will give you the same warm feeling which you get from your close friends or relatives. This is just another reason to be in PyCon, be the part of the bigger family.

Day 0

Next day reached venue by 9am, through out the day many more people started coming down. Registration was started by 3pm, so did the needful.

By afternoon Toshio reached the venue. It is always fun to meet to people whom you know him/her for long time and I was sure this PyCon is going to be full with those fun moments as I will be meeting most people for the first time face to face. Met lmacken, threebean also in the hotel.



At nigh around 12 of us went out for dinner to a restaurant, the food was amazing.

I came back to the hotel around midnight and found Ramki and Konark already reached.

Day 1

Had to wake up by six so that we can get ready and reach venue by 7:30am but reached few minutes late and straight went behind registration desks, the queue started growing as the day progressed but it was never too long. The custom application we were using for registration was one of the main reason to get things done in a fast pace.

After the queue started staying empty for long, I rushed to the language summit before it started. The details from the day is in this post. The young coders tutorial was going on up in the tutorials room at the same time.






Day 2

Morning met Mark Shannon in hotel and we all shared a cab to reach venue. After the usual registration desk work done I moved to the education summit. During all the three panels we heard some great success stories and discussions went on. The panels were on "Curriculum", "Teaching" and "Engagement". I found that in dgplug summer training we are actually executing many of the suggestions came up in the panels.




After lunch I went in to the "Python 3 Metaprogramming" by David Beazley. He already tweeted that brains might explode during this tutorial and it actually did for many of us.

PyCon SWAG bag stuffing party was in the late afternoon. This is generally a difficult task in a conference where you have high number of people turning up. But within couple of hours we finished off 2500+ bags and had too much fun.

In the evening there was "Opening Reception!". Alex Gaynor and myself became the bouncers and guarded the door :p

Later at night we had the volunteers and speakers meet. Every little steps were explained in great details.

Day 3 (first day of main conference)

Queues started becoming long in the early morning but due to great setup of morning breakfast tables and event-bag pickup counter, it never felt much. We managed to finish off the registration without any trouble.

Jesse Noller started the day with some exciting announcements, one of them was about a raspberrypi for each attendee.


Next was the keynote by Eben Upton from Raspberry Pi Foundation. After the keynote people started moving into different rooms and hallways were also full of people.

I attended Ned Batchelder's talk on Loop like a native: while, for, iterators, generators, and Raymond Hettinger's talk on Transforming Code into Beautiful, Idiomatic Python and finally Mike Müller's Functional Programming with Python. Most of the time in the day, I was meeting people and discussing various technical aspects of different projects. These kind of hallway tracks are of course the best part of the conference.

At night after another awesome dinner, packaging and distibution tools mini-summit started in room 206. The current status and future goals of various projects including setuptools, distribute, wheels, pip, virtualenv, zc.buildout, PyPi were discussed.






Reached hotel around 1am and just crashed.

Day 4



Woke up early. Day started with lighting talks, I spoke about retask project, somehow I was feeling uneasy about showing only code in the slides, strange!. Through out the day there were many fantastic talks, more interesting discussions on hallways. Sometime in the afternoon Tavis Rudd gave a personal demo of his system, completely blown away with the accuracy.

In the evening there was "Porting to Python3" session in open space. I never had any of my modules ported to Python3. Barry Warsaw led the session, we quickly went through the basic differences between 2 and 3 and saw some common problems people get into. I started porting retask to Python3. Toshio introduced me to six and by the end of session I managed to port retask into Python3.

At night we as usual sat down in hotel bar and pool side, met many new faces from Montreal, who will be leading the event next year.

Day 5

Reached venue around 9am and went directly to the poster session venue, put up my poster on darkserver. Missed both the keynote sessions due to this but people started coming in as the keynote finished.

One good thing about poster session was direct interaction with audience. The major feedback I received during the day was the following

  • Support other distributions, starting with CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu.
  • Make it easier so that people can have custom installations inside companies.
  • Provide a framework so that people can import from various sources with much less coding.

Many devels acknowledged that becoming single source for all different GNU_BUILD_ID(s) from the distribution is important.

In between Dave Malcolm took the charge of the explanation of the project to the audience and we also had few pictures taken.



In the closing ceremonies Diana Clarke took the charge of running next year's PyCon from Jesse.

Next was introduction of various sprints by the leaders. It was very clear that the number of people attending sprints is also going to be high. We slowly started moving things back to the sprint rooms.

Day 6 (first day of sprints)

First time managed to sleep more, till 9am, it was much required extra sleep. We reached venue, Ramki went to PyData, me and Konark moved to different sprint rooms.

Through out the first half all the different bugs in cpython I tried to work on were either not-reproducible or can not be introduced in 2.x as they were new features.

At night started discussing about retask with Maximiliano Curia, he submitted many patches since then. Later started port rst module into Python3.

Day 7

Finished rst porting to Python3, so now it supports both 2 and 3. Had long discussion with Dave Malcolm on his current projects. Later he helped me to explore more on elfutils and how to go ahead to have a library around it so that we can bindings in different languages as required. I also showed my work on the Python bindings to elfutils.

Day 8

Started working on few smtplib related bugs in cpython, R. David Murray already committed one of the patch and the other one is up for review. His help to the new-comers was really helpful.


image Day 9 (last day)

We all moved to one single space, even at the end there were around 50 people working in various projects. Met the mailman team.


Though out the sprint days mane left and it was time for me to say good bye to everyone. Toshio dropped me to Lawrence caltrain station and I came back to SFO and stayed back at Yannick's place for the night, I had my flight back home around noon next day.

I personally found the development sprint days very much useful, we just sat back and hacked on our favorite projects, many projects got work done, many new developers joined the teams.

In betwen I was trying to figure out if we can get some hardware donation to our Bijra project , which got slowed down due to hardware issues. Mark shannon heard the issue and donated his Raspberry-Pi and later Harry Percival donated his. Steve Holden also came up to help and he promised to send a few more devices to the school. We will still require some more help in finding some cheap HDMI to VGA adapters.

Personally this trip was very meaningful in many ways, being in the venue during the event is of course a different experience. If you are a Python programmer or someone who loves new technologies or someone who just loves to meet interesting people, come down to PyCon, find the nearest one in your region. PyCon India will be happening from August 30 to September 1st in Bangalore this year. Hope to meet many of you again there and in future PyCon(s).

This is set of portraits from the event, please help me to tag the people properly with names in the comments.

I also thank Red Hat and Fedora Project for making trip possible.