Pycon: Friday Wrap up

by jesse in ,

Sadly, this wrap up will not include grilled vegetables, as the sandwiches for lunch did. Of course I first hit up the keynote as every one else did - the keynote from White Oak Technologies was ok - they primarily outlined why Python made them successful, and what didn't go well for them including:

  • Not enough people know python
  • Few organization they consult to have python solutions
  • Python "weirdness" is a turn off to some
  • Python is slow

Chris took each one of the straw men down in subsequent slides - they used a lack of developer who knew python to differentiate between candidates - best quote "No one uses python 'by accident'". They also noted that on various searches for python expertise, there were very few out there in 2001 - but those that were out there were very high quality.

As for the lack of solutions: They turned it into an advocacy platform, and used it (taking a karma hit) to lock out competitors. Chris was quick to point out the latter is bad - but given a lot of the other firms they compete with immediately wanted to go in and re-write any python they found - customers are notoriously skittish about re-writes.

He also mentioned the fact that most of their clients are interested in the fish - not the fishing pole (tool versus output).

As for the weirdness, it's largely first impressions based on personal preferences, and those that aren't (no private variables, programming errors mainly found at runtime) are not deal breakers. In fact, in the case of the runtime errors brought forth by the latent typing issue - it forced them to be more rigorous in testing.

Finally, for python being slow - it keeps the disciplined in implementation. Some problems simply don't it a pure python solution, and picking the right tool for the job is a critical skill.

Overall, like I said - it was Ok. White Oak technologies can be found here.

Now, the next keynote was obviously the one everyone wants to know about - namely Guido's talk on Python 3000. Rather than try o do my own recap, Steve Holden did a fantastic summary of the GuidoNote.

I'm still excited by Python 3000, and the slow transition plan (in years, not months) including a python 2.6 and probably a 2.7 release should assuage some people fears of serious community shear.

After that - it was the talk free-for-all. I tried to consume (and failed) the talk by Travis Oliphant on the new buffer interface planned for python 3k - it's so far out of my current domain (and skills) that I simply could not drink from that fount.

I dropped in on "Database development with Jython, SQLAlchemy, and Hibernate" - the biggest take away from that being - Jython makes calls into java code such as JNDI and JDBC a breeze, and pythonic. I really do think based off Sun's new found love for Jython, it will become a very serious force in the community shortly. All in all, it was a good talk. (I also enjoyed the iPhone interference in the A/V equipment.)

Invariably - I hit up Brett Cannon's talk on "How import does it's thing" - without sucking up, I can honestly say it was a very clear, and concise overview of exactly what import does. I know I'm not alone on that based on hallway conversations. It was a great overview, and Brett's one of the better presenters here so far (in my opinion).

After that was Dr. Tim Couper's talk: "Python references and practical solutions to reference-related problems". So far, this is on the top of all the talks I've been too. The presentation was amusing, and rich in content. It was an excellent overview of how reference accounting is done in python and how to use weakrefs/etc. It was really a fantastic talk, I hope they upload the videos of these things someplace like youtube.

Then there was the "PyTriton: building a petabyte storage system" by Jonathan Ellis. I think he's a good presenter, but it was rushed due to the short time slot. Sadly I can't go into my thoughts on this one - it crosses the streams between PythonMe and WorkMe, I do have to say though - he doesn't pull any punches when he has an opinion (see: threads) which I appreciate.

I followed that up with Brian Warner's talk on "Tahoe: A Robust Distributed Secure Filesystem" - again, I can't cross the streams too much here, but I was sad-faced due to the lack of Python in the talk. It focused on the application, not how python was used in it.

Next up was supposed to be "Like Switching on the Light: Managing an Elastic Compute Cluster with Python", but honestly the presentation was poor, so I ducked out and switched to the High performance Network IO with Python + Libevent " talk, which was really good, the Pyevent library looks quite compelling for network apps. I need to find the rest of my notes sadly.

I'd wrap up with the lightning talks (which are always fun) but I mainly jotted down a series of URLs to followup on later.

Later on it was pizza, and blessed bed. Altogether a pretty good day - and a lot of great information and discussions with people in the halls and rooms. The sponsor/vendor rooms is hopping, and the recruiters are out en masse.

Hopefully today I'll be able to meet even more people!