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Programming: Thoughts From Jussi Pakkanen, Releases From Debian Developers, GSoC Projects and Python Leftovers

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  • Jussi Pakkanen: Open source does not have a reward mechanism for tedious

    Many software developers are creators and builders. They are drawn to problems of the first type. The fact that they are difficult is not a downside, it is a challenge to be overcome. It can even be a badge of merit which you can wave around your fellow developers. These projects include things like writing your own operating system or 3D game engine, writing device drivers that saturate the fastest of transfer links, lock free atomic parallelism, distributed file systems that store exabytes of data as well as embedded firmware that has less than 1 kilobyte of RAM. Working on these kinds of problems is rewarding on its own, even if the actual product never finishes or fails horribly when eventually launched. They are, in a single word, sexy.

    Most problems are not like that, but are instead the programming equivalent of ditch digging. They consist of a lot of hard work, which is not very exciting on its own but it still needs to be done. It is difficult to get volunteers to work on these kinds of problems and this is where the problem gets amplified in open source. Corporations have a very strong way to motivate people to work on tedious problems and it is called a paycheck. Volunteer driven open source development does not have a way to incentivise people in the same way. This is a shame, because the chances of success for any given software project (and startup) is directly proportional to the amount of tedious work people working on it are willing to do.

  • ledger2beancount 2.0 released

    I released version 2.0 of ledger2beancount, a ledger to beancount converter.

  • digest 0.6.25: Spookyhash bugfix

    digest creates hash digests of arbitrary R objects (using the md5, sha-1, sha-256, sha-512, crc32, xxhash32, xxhash64, murmur32, and spookyhash algorithms) permitting easy comparison of R language objects. It is a fairly widely-used package (currently listed at 889k monthly downloads with 255 direct reverse dependencies and 7340 indirect reverse dependencies) as many tasks may involve caching of objects for which it provides convenient general-purpose hash key generation.

    This release is a one issue fix. Aaron Lun noticed some issues when spookyhash is used in streaming mode. Kendon Bell, who also contributed spookyhash quickly found the issue which is a simple oversight. This was worth addressing in new release, so I pushed 0.6.25.

  • Google announces 200 open-source mentors for the 2020 GSoC event

    With this year's Google Summer of Code event right around the corner, the organizers considered this to be the perfect time to announce the mentoring organizations for the participants. In this year's edition of GSoC, there will be 200 mentoring organizations, including 30 new teams. Read on to find out more details of this open-source event.

  • Python 101 2nd Edition Sample Chapters

    I have put together some sample chapters for the 2nd edition of Python 101 which is coming out later this year. You can download the PDF version of these sample chapters here. Note that these chapters may have minor typos in them. Feel free to let me know if you find any bugs or errors.

  • Python 3.7.6 : The SELinux python package.

    The tutorial for today is about the SELinux python package.

  • Release 0.7.0 of GooCalendar
  • Python in Production

    I’m missing a key part from the public Python discourse and I would like to help to change that.

    The other day I was listening to a podcast about running Python services in production. While I disagreed with some of the choices they made, it acutely reminded me about what I’ve been missing in the past years from the public Python discourse.

  • Python Packaging Metadata

    Since this topic keeps coming up, I’d like to briefly share my thoughts on Python package metadata because it’s – as always – more complex than it seems.

    When I say metadata I mean mostly the version so I will talk about it interchangeably. But the description, the license, or the project URL are also part of the game.

  • Better Python tracebacks with Rich

    One of my goals in writing Rich was to render really nice Python tracebacks. And now that feature has landed.

    I've never found Python tracebacks to be a great debugging aid beyond telling me what the exception was, and where it occurred. In a recent update to Rich, I've tried to refresh the humble traceback to give enough context to diagnose errors before switching back to the editor.

Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organizations Announced

  • Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organizations Announced

    You can find the full list of organizations/projects on GSoC website. For each company, you can click on “View Idea List” to see more details about the potential projects. Students will be invited to apply and submit proposals between March 16-31. Selected students will be working on the project between May 19, 2020 – August 11, 2020, with regular evaluation and final results on August 26, 2020.

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