A slightly breathless week

I’ve been involved with Python for at least 11 years, ever since I first used 1.5.2 on Windows 9x. (I recently had occasion to use 1.5.2 on some random webserver and was amazed at how many things I couldn’t do). I don’t know exactly, but I must have started answering questions on the python and python-win32 mailing lists a couple of years later, somewhere around the beginning of 2002. At about the same time I started developing win32-related modules and putting them in places like the Vaults of Parnassus (remember?) before PyPI and before I had my own domain. Over the years I’ve added stuff to my timgolden.me.uk website including a set of How-do-I? pages for win32 questions, often prompted by a question on the mailing lists. The most significant of the modules I maintain has undoubtedly been the WMI module, although the active directory and winshell modules both receive some attention. From time to time, although it’s never really been my main focus, I’ve delved into python-dev and contributed doc and small code patches mostly although not always against Windows. (In fact, my entry in the ACKS file is due to a trivial platform-neutral C-code fix to the multiprocessing code).

If I have a focus, it’s really to ensure that Windows is not a second-class citizen in the Python world. Obviously, Python itself has been running perfectly well on Windows for much longer than I’ve been around but, anecdotally, the easy majority of Python users and developers are Unix people — traditionally Linux, but more recently Mac OS X. So my self-appointed task is to help out wherever possible on Windows: helping newcomers to translate their Windows idioms into Python; making sure that Python does build and can be tested on Windows and that Unix assumptions aren’t preventing code from working; looking for ways to help the stdlib serve better the needs of Windows users; and providing answers and code on mailing lists and my own website to help Python users under Windows.

In the course of this week, I’ve been notified that I’ve been elected as a member of the PSF in this year’s tranche of nominations, and that I’ve been given commit privileges on the Python repository. Both of these, while meaning relatively little to my non-programmer friends, I recognise as reflecting the community’s acknowledgement of my contribution to the language and its trust in my ability to do so. For which I thank the community, and in particular the indefatigable Michael “Fuzzyman” Foord who nominated me for both these privileges, and those members of the development community who were good enough to second his proposals. Meanwhile, I took my courage in both hands and proposed to the head of IT here at work that we repurpose a decommissioned Windows server as a public-facing Python buildbot. Which he agreed to do. He also agreed to part-fund my visit to EuroPython this year. Both of these agreements surprised me not a little, since there’s not much money around and I was essentially putting forward a case based on altruism rather than ROI. Although my boss is a good guy, he’s a commercial manager and has to justify whatever effort and money his team expends.

All I have to do now is to book my EuroPython ticket and accommodation and to submit a talk proposal before the deadline at the end of the week. I only wish there were more time: I have several python-related and several non-python-related projects on the go both at work and at home and there’s never enough time to get everything done :)