[Edu-sig] Django thread from Diversity list
kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Sep 17 00:47:15 CEST 2009
Here's a thread from diversity at python.org, archived here for easier
linking (open archive). The connections to education are multifarious
e.g. PBS has web sites for teachers running in Django.
Mostly I'm thinking high schools are going to design more around an
inhouse intranet (not outsourced) so that year books, school plays,
sporting events, all go to a central repository. If it's more like
GeoDjango, then you've got some core infrastructure for "place based"
education, a theme in my blogs, maybe even with immersive videos ala
Google Street Views?
The thread itself speaks to the diversity of the Django community,
stressing its friendliness and openness to not-Django and not-Python
developers. For example we had lots of input from a Smalltalk guy
(keynote). As the followup makes clear (by James Bennett, a core
player), this is somewhat of a tradition with DjangoConf, and a good
Some of you will have already seen the below as we have some cross-enrollment.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 5:06 PM
Subject: Diversity Report from DjangoCon
To: diversity at python.org
Just a quick Diversity Report for readers here....
The 2nd annual Django conference was held here in Portland, Oregon,
DoubleTree Hotel at Lloyd's Center (eastside, easy access to downtown
by Max light rail). We had lead developers from Australia, UK, and of
To the community's lasting credit, "why Django sucks" was an allowed
topic at open mic, where we had Armin Ronacher, the Austrian dude
behind Werkzeug (not to be confused with Flugtag by Red Bull), very
like Django but rather prettier in some ways, now branching into
Solace, all about i18n.
Gender did not arise as an issue. When I delivered the PSF snake to
the core leadership, I handed it off to a tech lead at NASA, Katie
In my experience, women show up in the workplace more frequently at
higher levels (CHR, CFO...), so as geeks rise in status and clout,
they'll naturally encounter more FOSS bosses of the female persuasion,
only a matter of time, not really worried about it.
What was more remarkable was how open we were to Smalltalk and Perl
communities, also Apple's new Sproutcore community, where Ruby is the
more used agile in some ways (Sproutcore is still a small project,
sorta comet on steroids, has dreams of becoming a Flash killer
We didn't see much Microsoft, although I did get Sara Ford's tweets
about Codeplex releasing Sperm (don't ask -- it's the right DNA
according to Redmond).
When it comes to diversity, I think this is where Python really
shines: it's a tight design yet a showcase for turn-of-the-millennium
great ideas e.g. list comprehensions, special name __ribs__...
significant whitespace. In this sense, it's cosmopolitan, like
Holland itself (not just Amsterdam).
Portland, with aspirations of becoming more like Amsterdam in some
ways (i.e. we want our own Paul Treanor maybe? **), is proud to be
selected as the conference venue next year as well, same bat time,
same bat station, mas o meno. Congratulations to all on a conference
Congrats to Andy McKay in particular, with already well-developed
Python muscles from working in Plone, recently back from Kenya and
Malawi, where Django is used to switch cell phone text messages
regarding children in need of medical attention (the numbers are
Ian Bicking, a keynoter and track talk presenter (virtualenv, pip...),
recently back from Buenos Aires, was eager to foster this kind of
collaboration with the medical community, nurses especially (they seem
open to open source by training i.e. sharing core knowledge in the
face of grave needs is a fact of life in that profession). He quoted
from Richard Stallman's GNU manifesto, underlining why he'd always
liked it (since first encountering it as a teenager, inside of gnu
emacs): because it took the bull by the horns.
Back to our diversity theme: make room for Harry Potter and the whole
DaJango Code lore, fortified castles, opportunities in Europe (not to
mention "down under"). I've got more in my blogs, for those curious
about the details.
The PSF snake totem (sent by FedEx ground) also made it to PPUG, where
the Idealist.org away team was just back from Switzerland instead of
the usual Buenos Aires (Jason Kirtland, Michel...). Adam Lowry was
also at Djangocon.
I've continued to pioneer good relations with Middle Eastern players,
via Ambassador Tag (written about earlier in this archive), a gender
studies professor among other things:
PS: for those who don't remember my earlier posts, I'm a diverse
kinda guy, mostly hang out on edu-sig community list with Sir Laura
(diversity resident), Gregor (Vienna circle, manages Python's SL
turtle module), Andre (university president in Canada), other
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: James Bennett <ubernostrum at gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 7:04 PM
Subject: Re: [Diversity] Diversity Report from DjangoCon
To: kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com>
Cc: diversity at python.org
A couple of comments and addenda from another participant...
On Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 7:06 PM, kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com> wrote:
> To the community's lasting credit, "why Django sucks" was an allowed
> topic at open mic, where we had Armin Ronacher, the Austrian dude
> behind Werkzeug (not to be confused with Flugtag by Red Bull), very
> like Django but rather prettier in some ways, now branching into
> Solace, all about i18n.
FWIW, that's becoming something of a tradition; last year's US
DjangoCon established the theme of keynotes by relative outsiders
to/critics of the Django community, and I'm glad that this tradition
was kept up. Conferences make it far too easy to toot one's own horn,
and having smart people around to keep us reality-based is a good
> Gender did not arise as an issue. When I delivered the PSF snake to
> the core leadership, I handed it off to a tech lead at NASA, Katie
In one sense I guess it's true that the "issue" did not arise, but by
my (unofficial) count the gents of Django outnumbered the ladies
roughly 20:1. There were a few new faces, though, which I take as at
least somewhat encouraging despite the otherwise dismal gender-canyon
("gap" being too small a word) present at the conference.
> I've continued to pioneer good relations with Middle Eastern players,
> via Ambassador Tag (written about earlier in this archive), a gender
> studies professor among other things:
One other multinational item of note: Dimitris Glezos' talk on
Transifex, a web-based tool which greatly simplifies the process of
collaborating on and contributing to translations of software projects
of all sorts. Slides are here:
Finally, it's worth pointing out that DjangoCon had what may be a
first for a Python-oriented conference (at least, a first at those
I've attended): in the evening after the second full day of the
conference, a group of us who'd been hanging out in the hotel lobby
before heading downtown were invited out to the adjacent park to
witness the wedding of Mark (a developer from NASA) and Ariel, whose
surnames I'm not quite certain of at the moment. Once I get in touch
with them to find out how they'd like photos of that event to be
handled, I hope to get some of them up on Flickr.
"Bureaucrat Conrad, you are technically correct -- the best kind of correct."
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