[Python-Dev] Python in 2003 summary

A.M. Kuchling amk at amk.ca
Sat Jan 17 12:14:01 EST 2004

[Cc'ed to python-dev, marketing-python; trim followups accordingly]

Here's a first draft of a summary of significant Pythonological matters in

       * What significant things did I miss?
       * Are there additional pages I should link to?
       * Can anyone help fill out the conferences section?
         For example, are the papers for OSCON, PythonUK, or EuroPython
	 available online anywhere?  Does anyone have pages with
	 photos/conference reports/anything?
If you don't want to read ReST source, an HTML-formatted version is at
http://www.amk.ca/python/writing/2003 .

Please don't link to or weblog it yet; when it's done, it'll go on



In 2003, there was one new major release of Python and several minor
bugfix releases.  The Python Software Foundation began to assume a
greater role and visibility in the community, organizing the first
PyCon conference.  A number of noteworthy books were published, and
the conference calendar was also full.

The Python Language

Python 2.3 was released in July.  Compared to last year's Python 2.2
release, 2.3 was fairly conservative, making relatively few changes to
the language itself such as some new built-in functions, and a true
Boolean type.  There were also a number of low-level changes such as
new import hooks, minor optimizations, and a specialized object

The real action was in the standard library, where new packages were
added for date/time handling, sets, heaps, logging, bzip2 data
compression, reading and writing tar files, word-wrapping paragraphs,
command-line parsing, and importing Python modules from ZIP archives.
Some external packages were absorbed into the standard library such as
the latest version of IDLE and the PyBSDDB wrapper for BerkeleyDB.

Another new feature in 2.3 was support for cataloging Python modules
and applications in the Package Index.  The list of packages can be
browsed and searched at http://www.python.org/pypi .

Since the release of 2.3, three bugfix releases have been issued.  All
of them were ably coordinated by Anthony Baxter.  The current version
is Python 2.3.3: http://www.python.org/2.3.3/.

For the highlights of the new features, see "What's New in Python 2.3":

For a full list of changes to 2.3, see the release notes at 

There was also a bugfix release of Python 2.2.  Python 2.2.3 was
released in May, coordinated by Barry Warsaw.

The Python Software Foundation

The Python Software Foundation, or PSF, is the copyright holder for
current versions of Python.

This year the PSF became a 501(c)(3) charity for the purposes of US
taxation, so donations to the PSF are now tax-deductible in the US.
To donate funds, go to http://www.python.org/psf/donations.html ; you
can use PayPal or mail a cheque.

In December the ownership of the python.org domain name was
transferred from CNRI, which has held it since the mid-1990s, to the

The largest PSF activity in 2003 was organizing the first PyCon conference, 
held in Washington DC in late March.



PyCon DC 2003 was held in Washington DC in late March, organized by
the PSF.

The conference had an experimental, informal flavor.  While several
tracks of refereed presentations were on the program, there was also a
lot of free time for informally scheduled presentations and
discussions, and a few development sprints took place before the official 
beginning of the conference.

Links to papers and slides from PyCon 2003 are at
http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/moinmoin/PyConPapers .

Various people posted pictures:

Mike Orr had a writeup of the conference in the Linux Journal:

A.M Kuchling wrote about his impressions of PyCon at
http://www.amk.ca/diary/2003/03/27#2003-03-27-2 and 

Coming Soon: PyCon 2004

The production work for PyCon 2004 is well under way.  The conference
will be from March 24-26 in Washington DC.  Mitch Kapor will be a
keynote speaker.  The deadline for proposals is January 15 2004; early
bird registration ends February 1 2004.  See the conference web pages
at http://www.python.org/pycon/dc2004/ for more information.


The Python 11 conference was held as part of O'Reilly's OSCON2003
in Portland, Oregon in July.

The schedule for Python 11 is at
http://conferences.oreillynet.com/pub/w/23/track_python.html .

XXX is there a page with links to papers and slides?

The Python 12 conference will be part of OSCON 2004, July 26-30 in Portland.
The conference site is http://conferences.oreillynet.com/os2004/ .


EuroPython, the major European Python conference, was held 
in Charleroi, Belgium, in June.

Links to papers and slides from EuroPython 2003 are at
(for now, anyway).

The conference organizers interviewed various participants, 
available from http://www.europython.org/other/interviews .


The PythonUK conference was held in Oxford in April, organized with
the assistance of the Association of C/C++ Users.

XXX any links to papers?

Workshop on Scientific Computing with Python

The second SciPy conference was held in 2003, taking place at Caltech
in Pasadena, California, in September.

The conference site is at http://www.scipy.org/ .
You can see the schedule at 
http://www.scipy.org/site_content/scipy03/scipy03sched.htm .

Chuck Esterbrook wrote up his impressions:


At OSCON, a number of awards were given out to notable members of the
Python community.  

	* Mark Hammond won the ActiveState Programmer's
          Choice award for his work on the Windows and COM frameworks for Python.
	* Martin von Loewis won the Activator's Choice award for his constant and efficient work on maintaining the Python core and handling bugs and patches.

	* The Frank Willison award went to Fredrik Lundh, another
          skilled contributor who wrote the regular expression engine
          for Python 1.6, implemented XML-RPC, and wrote an introduction to the Python standard library.  He also started the Daily Python-URL weblog, which posts Python-related news and links. 
 	  His comments on receiving the award are at 
	  The daily Python-URL is at http://www.pythonware.com/daily/.

There was one significant loss to the community; Bryan Richard, editor
and publisher of the Py 'zine, had to abandon it due to other personal
commitments.  Py was taken over by beehive KG, the firm that's been
publishing ZopeMag magazine, and will become an electronic-only
publication.  The Py web site is still at http://www.pyzine.com.

New Books

A number of significant books about basic Python were released in 2003.

O'Reilly released :title-reference:`Python in a Nutshell` by Alex
Martelli.  At 654 pages long it's a pretty large nutshell, but the
book is an excellent one-volume Python reference.  Soon after its
release the book reached Amazon's list of top 100 bestsellers for a

The second edition of :title-reference:`Learning Python` by Mark Lutz
and David Ascher, another noteworthy title, also came out this past
year; :title-reference:`Learning Python` is most commonly recommended
as the book for beginning Python users, so this update was most
welcome.  The new edition brings the coverage up to Python 2.3,
including features such as iterators and generators.

One title went out of print and was resurrected as an e-book.  Fredrik
Lundh's :title-reference:`Python Standard Library` was published in
2001, but the electronic version has additional updates, including
examples for some modules introduced in Python 2.2 and 2.3.  See
http://effbot.org/zone/librarybook-index.htm for the online edition.

Some more specialized titles appeared.  Two books on games appeared,
Tom Gutschmidt's :title-reference:`Game Programming w/ Lua, Python,
Ruby`, Sean Riley's :title-reference:`Game Programming with Python`.
John Zelle's :title-reference:`Python Programming: An Introduction to
Computer Science` uses Python as the vehicle for an introductory
course.  David Mertz's :title-reference:`Text Processing in Python`
takes takes its chosen topic and carefully covers every possible
aspect of it, mixing sections of reference material with tutorial

A more complete listing of Python books is available in the Python
Wiki: http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/moinmoin/PythonBooks 

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