PyDev of the Week: Seth Michael Larson

This week we welcome Seth Michael Larson (@sethmlarson) as our PyDev of the Week! Seth is the lead maintainer of urllib3. He also writes a Python blog. You can see some of Seth’s other contributions over on Github.

Let’s take a few moments to get to know Seth better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself:

I’m a current resident and native from Minneapolis Minnesota, I got my degree in CS from the University of Minnesota.

I’m a big fan of Minnesota sports, Gopher and Vikings football, Twins baseball, Wild hockey. Besides that

I really enjoy being outdoors.

Why did you start using Python?

My first introduction to Python was in my “intro to CS” class at university. I fell in love with the simplicity of the language and the Open Source community. I’d known some programming before
going to university so it wasn’t my first programming language but I really enjoyed what Python had to offer.

I remember getting excited by how straightforward sockets and network programming were in Python compared to C or C++, that was definitely a feature that grabbed my attention.

What other programming languages do you know?

I know some basics about web frontend languages like HTML, CSS, JS but not enough to list them on my resume.99% of my language knowledge is Python-related, and it’s by far my favorite.

What projects are you working on?

I’ve been lead maintainer of urllib3 for almost a year now. A lot of my mental time for Open Source goes towards urllib3 and other HTTP-adjacent libraries.

Recently I’ve been writing about unique experiences I have with Python, HTTP, URLs, and TLS on my blog. A lot of the things I write about are so specific to those domains that they’re not for everyone but I’m trying to live the “be the change you want to see in the world” mantra by writing a blog that I would also like to read. 🙂

From a professional standpoint I recently joined Elastic as the maintainer of all the Open Source Python clients for Elasticsearch and other products and that’s been a ton of fun so far, it’s great to be getting paid full-time to contribute back to the Python OSS community.

How did you end up being a maintainer for urllib3?

I started contributing to urllib3 when Cory Benfield noticed me working on an HTTP server implementation in Python, invited me to join the Hyper project, and then basically followed him all the way back to the urllib3 project which he also contributed to. A few years of contributing later it was decided that when Thea stepped down from being lead maintainer that I would take her place as lead.

What motivates you to contribute to Open Source?

I’m a very social person so one of the biggest motivations for me personally is that I feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself. Being a part of such a global collaborative community is something that we as humans have never had the opportunity to do until modern times. Sign me up!

Which Python libraries are your favorite?

I think my favorite core module is ‘ssl’.

I can somewhat claim to know things about TLS and information security having worked in the space for a bit now, it’s great to play a part in pushing the security of an entire ecosystem forwards via urllib3. That’s something that’s pretty unique and I consider myself lucky to be a part of.

My favorite third-party package is ‘nox’, a task manager similar to ‘tox’ except the configuration is Python instead of toml/cfg. Any project I can use it on is instantly way better. Love it.

Thanks for doing the interview, Seth!