PyDev of the Week: Maciej Fijalkowski

This week we welcome Maciej Fijalkowski (@fijall) as our PyDev of the Week. He is a freelance programmer who spends a lot of time working on the PyPy project. I would recommend checking out some of his work on github. Let’s spend some time learning about our fellow Pythonista!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

Originally from Poland, I am partly nomadic, having a semi-permanent base in Cape Town, South Africa. Got lured here by climbing, good weather, majestic landscapes, and later discovered surfing. Otherwise I can be found in various places in Europe and the US, especially Boulder, CO. I have been doing PyPy for about 8 years now (don’t know, lost track a bit), sometimes free time, sometimes permanent. These days I’m doing some consulting for both PyPy and other stuff, trying to build my own company, baroquesoftware.com.

Why did you start using Python?

I think it was early 2000s. I was using Perl and C++ at the time and a friend of mine was fighting with some programming assignments at the physics department. Doing a quick survey I found out that Python seems to be a language of choice for “beginners”. After teaching that to myself and her, I kind of discovered that Python is an actual language suitable not just for beginners. And this is how it started 🙂

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

Due to the nature of my work, I am proficient in C, assembler (x86 and ARM), C++, Python, RPython. I can also read/write Java, Ruby, PHP, Ocaml, Prolog and a bunch of others I don’t quite remember. I can never make a project in JavaScript that does not turn out to be a major mess. As for the favorite, is that a trick question? Unsurprisingly, I code mostly in Python, but a lot of my work is done in RPython, which is a static-subset of Python that we use for PyPy. While I think RPython suits its niche very well, I would not recommend it as a general-purpose language, so I suppose Python stays at the top for me. I actually have various ideas how to create a language/ecosystem that would address a lot of Python shortcomings, if I ever have time 🙂

What projects are you working on now?

Mostly PyPy, but more specifically:

  • improving PyPy warmup time and memory consumption
  • numpy
  • helping people with various stuff, e.g. IO performance improvements, profiling etc.

Also I’m the main contributor to hippyvm.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?

I think the one I use the most is py.test. By now it’s an absolutely essential part of what we’re doing. As for the favorite one, I might be a bit biased since I articipated in the design, but I really like cffi. According to PyPI it gets like half a million downloads a month, so it can’t just be me.

Thanks so much!

The Last 10 PyDevs of the Week

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