[Python-Dev] Re: python-dev Summary for 2005-01-16 through 2005-01-31

Steve Holden steve at holdenweb.com
Tue Mar 1 12:14:59 CET 2005

Michele Simionato wrote [on c.l.py]:
> Brett Cannon:
[... python-dev summary ... boilerplate change ...]
> +1 for this idea. The summary looks much better now :)
> Keep the good work going,
Sorry, but i have to disagree. I hope you won't take this reply 
personally, Michele, since it's directed to all c.l.py readers, as well 
as (particularly) at Python users who [unlike you] are mostly take and 
rather less give. Although this is inherently the nature of open source, 
in certain cases this can be taken too far.

I have a long history of doing things, and an equally long history 
giving up doing them. This stems from a personal belief that organic 
growth (IMHO the healthiest type) will only be engendered by variety.

I was the Chairman of the Sun UK User Group once.

When I was elected I said I would serve for two years, and when I 
resigned after two years many people said to me "Steve, please 
reconsider your decision". I observed, perhaps somewhat cynically, that 
most of the people who said this were motivated by the wish to avoid the 
pain of locating and electing a new chairman.

Guess what ... when I refused to reconsider they found a new chairman, 
who was at least as good as me (I thought he was better), and life 
carried on. If you were to ask a member of the Sun UK User Group now the 
name of their second chairman I'd be very surprised if they had any idea 
who the hell Steve Holden was. (Historical note: the first chairman was 
Chris Brown, and nobody will remember him either).

Now, the reason for this specific rant is this: I can tell a cry for 
help when I see one. Brett has done a magnificent job of providing 
python-dev summaries since Andrew decided he'd had enough, and he is to 
be congratulated for it. I managed to offload another bunch of work on 
him (moderation of various troublesome PyCon mailing lists), but at 
least I was able to recompense him by letting him into PyCon for nothing.

I can say this because I am confident that nobody will even think of 
suggesting that Brett's contribution to the Python community doesn't 
entitle him to a free place at PyCon. I suspect most readers of this 
list would feel the same about Guido (I certainly hope so, because he 
too is a free-loader this year :-). I would actually like a free place 
at PyCon to represent recognition of significant contributions to the 
Python community, but there is a conflict here with another of my goals 
(raising funds for the PSF).

But frankly, I think it's time someone else stood up and said "Brett, 
you've done a magnificent job. Hesitant though I am about replacing you, 
I would like to volunteer for the task, because only when you are free 
from the burden of writing the python-dev summaries will we see what 
else you are capable of". Since I am at best an intermittent reader of 
python-dev I can say this without fear of having to stand up myself.

Oops, I'm rambling. I guess what I'm trying to say boils down to "Ask 
not what the Python community can do for you ...", and anyone who can't 
provide the remainder of the analogy is too young to consider themselves 
a victim of this post, and can claim a free ticket until they are old 
enough ti understand what history is.

I like to think that although I don't make frequent checkins to the code 
base I do *something* to engender the Python community spirit (though I 
don't consider my own interpretation of that spirit to uniquely define 
it), and I'm damned sure Brett has done his share.

It would be great if just a *few* more people who are currently 
consuming the fruits of our labors would stop sitting on the sidelines 
shouting "great job!" and roll their sleeves up.

I hope I'll be able to put these remarks in a corporate context for 
PyCon - which astute readers will have noticed will be my last PyCon as 
chairman. I am happy to say that Andrew Kuchling has finally admitted 
his lust for power and confirmed that he is prepared to act as chairman 
for 2006, and I wish him well. More later

one-more-thing-given-up-ly y'rs  - steve

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