[Edu-sig] Future of CP4E after CNRI?

Dinu C. Gherman gherman@darwin.in-berlin.de
Wed, 12 Jul 2000 11:37:35 +0200

Dustin James Mitchell wrote:
> Although tempting, it's wrong to assume that any person or entity 
> which makes money is against everything good and wholesome in the 
> world.  In fact, it behooves every technology company with plans 
> to be doing business 20 years from now to maximize the computers 
> skills of today's school-aged children.

I'm not that naive to believe that there is something fun-
damentally/morally wrong in making money. I'm living myself
in and from an environment that is very much money-driven,
the telco software business. I can assure you, though, that
there are few, if any, companies who care about "the compu-
ter skills of today's school-aged children 20 years from now" 
more than they care about the next contract being signed to-
morrow afternoon for a three-month project - although it 
might be tempting to believe that... ;-)

Tim Peters wrote:
> Dinu Gherman wrote:
> > 
> > [If anything, I guess we can at least expect the core Python
> > development activities to be determined by comercial inter-
> > ests from now on.] A first sign of this is the renaming of 
> > Python 1.6 to 2.0 based more or less on marketing reasons.
> I've been arguing to do that for years, btw.  I've actually had 
> upper management ask me why we should use Python instead of Perl, 
> becuase "Perl is on its fifth release already, but Python is 
> still on its first!  We should go with the mature language."  
> One *good* meaning of "marketing" is accurately communicating 
> with your intended audience, and "Python 1.x" was perceived in 
> an unintended way too often.

I do agree with the switch to 2.0 for much the same reasons!
All I'm saying is that in the past these reasons were less
important, at least to Guido. So, there is an emphasis shift
which is not being quite well addressed, I believe, leave 
alone communicated to this particular target group.

And, yes, companies are expected to do marketing to be able 
to address their target group well! Again, I haven't claimed
anything else. But I think it's fair to point out that this
shift to "going commercial" comes with a whole new series of 
closed-doors decissions no matter how many "open" labels you 
stick on it. Just look at the following quote: ;-)

Tim Peters wrote:
> Dinu Gherman wrote:
> > 
> > Maybe there are good reasons to believe that BeOpen as a rather 
> > unknown new player has a real interest and concrete advantage in 
> > promoting Python and CP4E that are simply not obvious to every-
> > body?
> Indeed, maybe there are <wink>.

Guido van Rossum wrote:
> I still hope that the ideas can continue: there's ActiveState's
> Programming for the People, and certainly IDLE is still on our 
> list of projects we support.  Also, Jeff Elkner and others are 
> quietly working on producing and posting more teaching materials...

Tim Peters wrote:
> CP4E has no active funding now, but would not have any now had 
> the move not occurred either.  So far, it looks like a wash to 
> me.  "The community" could be doing a lot more with it, though, 
> don't you think?  Both Python and IDLE are Open Source, so 
> *anyone* can run off and do just about anything they like with 
> them.  Nothing was held back by CNRI, and nothing is being held
> back by BeOpen.

Of course, "the community" could always do more with it than
it actually does. Of course, I could start writing my own
CP4E.py book like Per Brinch Hansen wrote his P4E.java book
which is, BTW, very much in the spirit of CP4E...

The difference is that without a higher committment provi-
ding some focus and identity for this community in the sense 
of an umbrella project and leading "evangelists" (marketing, 
so to say) this is rather pointless. Without these two ele-
ments, I'm afraid, CP4E as a Python-centric movement will 
cease to exist. 

Guido van Rossum wrote:
> I share your concern!  BeOpen was originally optimistic about 
> finding money for CP4E, but more recently they have other 
> priorities (based I'm sure on where they can get money -- 
> I'm not privvy to details).
> [...]
> CNRI is dropping it as far as I can tell, they have nobody to 
> work on it that I know of.

So, what we can at least ask for is if BeOpen has any ex-
pressed or implied intent to provide some shelter for CP4E
and what form that could take or if it will be entirely 
"released" to the community, which I would read then as 

With all the lawyers still working on the shift to BeOpen it 
might be unrealistic to get a response quickly, but I think
some statement in the very near future would be appreciated.

Kind regards,


Dinu C. Gherman
"The only possible values [for quality] are 'excellent' and 'in-
sanely excellent', depending on whether lives are at stake or 
not. Otherwise you don't enjoy your work, you don't work well, 
and the project goes down the drain." 
                    (Kent Beck, "Extreme Programming Explained")