PyCon 2010: Saturday Plenaries (Dino Viehland, Maciej Fijalkowski and Mark Shuttleworth!)

After the technical difficulties that ended the Lightning talks this morning, Van Lindberg got up and stalled for time while they got it fixed so he could introduce the first plenary. He did a really good job and let us know that this PyCon had set two records: First, it has the largest attendance ever with approx. 1025 people. Secondly, around 10-11% were women. Very cool!

The first plenary was done by Dino Viehland on “The State of IronPython”. He reviewed what IronPython accomplished last year and talked a little about the future. With IronPython 2.6, they managed to add support for ctypes, sys._getframe and sys.settrace, the latter of which allows pdb to work (I think). He also said that the IronPython team had written a new interpreter that’s much faster. Finally, he demoed a neat IronPython plugin for Visual Studio 2010. The text was too small to really see what he was doing, but it sounded impressive. Also note that they finally have a real website!

Mr. Fijalkowski is a contributor (maybe founder?) of PyPy, not to be confused with PyPI. I don’t know much about this project, but it sounds like it’s some kind of new, faster Python implementation. I’ll have to keep my eye on this one just so I can figure out what it’s all about and whether or not it’s something I should care about.

The last plenary was given by Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of the Ubuntu Project. He talk was entitled “Cadence, Quality and Design”. He ended up speaking without the projector due to some update that he’d applied that broke his VGA port. Anyway, the main topics he promoted were release often, make your code as high quality as possible and work with designers. Releasing often leads to more focused releases and helps the developers have goals. The reason for quality it pretty obvious. The Design aspect is a little subtle in that most programmers don’t usually work with UI designers. I think this was probably my favorite plenary of the morning and it had lots of good advice.