[Edu-sig] Moving forward an educational Python environment -- leadership wanted

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Sat Apr 22 12:19:02 CEST 2006

I'm looking for someone to "own" the development of a Squeak-like
environment for Python. I can help by getting you in touch with Alan
Kay and other Squeak folks. But I just can't be managing this project
myself -- I need to focus on Python 3000, which has quite a different
set of goals (not incompatible, just different, and enough to keep me
very busy in the next two years).

To provide some background, here is (with permission, and slightly
edited) a forwarded message from Mark Shuttleworth in response to
something I sent him this morning.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mark Shuttleworth <mark at canonical.com>
Date: Apr 22, 2006 8:56 AM
Subject: Re: Moving forward the educational Python code development
To: Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org>
Cc: Kirby Urner <urnerk at qwest.net>, [...]

 Guido van Rossum wrote:
> After Kirby's posts and mine on the Python mailing list for the
>education Special Interest Group (edu-sig at python.org), several threads
>have spun up showing that there is a lot of interest in the topic of
>making Python more "Squeak-like", however you might want to define

 This is great news.

 My sense is that it will take three or more years to get a
Squeak-like environment built up in the Python world. It will take a
lot of work, more raw development work than TSF is willing to fund.
Our project deliverable is the curriculum and the training program for
teachers to teach it, we don't want to be responsible for delivering
the unified development environment  through we recognise that having
a unified environment is beneficial to the project.

 The only way the unified development environment will actually happen
is if the SqueakLand community, with Alan's leadership, makes this
their goal, and figures out how to work with the Python community.
It's the SqueakLand folks who understand what that environment needs
to "feel" like. They have the strong vision as to what the tools
should do. At the same time, the Python community will need some
people to step up and welcome that effort, contributing to it over
time, because the SqueakLand folks are used to Squeak and they will
need to learn how best to execute their vision in Python.

 TSF can provide some limited funding, but we're not setup to lead
development efforts (we learned the hard way with SchoolTool which is
now in good shape). Most of the TSF funding will go towards actual
curriculum development that USES the tools available. We will
initially use Logo, Squeak and Python as-is, because they are there
right now, and will develop the curriculum using what's currently
available with a view to consolidating it all around Python as Python
gains the ability to deliver Logo-like and Squeak-like environments.

> I believe now is the time to delegate to someone other than me the
>task of researching the course of action; what exactly is needed,
>which toolkit to use (e.g. Mozilla, pygame, OpenGL, or something
>else?), and to manage the development. Unfortunately I don't have the
>time to do this myself. Does the Shuttleworth Foundation have
>resources to pick up this project, now that there's momentum building

>This could take the form of an existing Shuttleworth employee jumping
>in, or some Foundation money to get one of the interested contributors
>(perhaps ) to put in their time (part-time). I don't see this
>happening (at the time scale envisioned) on a purely volunteer basis.
>I'm sure we can get volunteers to do coding for the project; but
>managing it, researching the possible options, and making decisions
>probably requires someone dedicated to this task.

 Yes, agreed, and we can contribute some funding towards the
leadership of the effort. I'm not keen to fund "part time work with no
clear deliverables" because its hard to get predictable results that
way. I guess what we need are you and Alan to figure out between you
who will make the most effective leader, bringing together the
SqueakLand vision in a Python execution, and we would step up to fund
portion of that person's time.


I think the leadership of this effort needs to be decided after
discussion with Alan too, so that whoever is the funded driving force
has buy in from both communities. If you'd like to forward this
message to other folks in the community as a statement of the parts
TSF is able to contribute to, please do.

---------- End forwarded message ----------

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)

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