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PyCon BOFs

Last night I engaged in a short of BOF marathon. For someone who was previously a BOF virgin, it was an interesting experience. BOFs, or Birds Of a Feather meetings, are opportunities for people with similar interests to meet and converse about a given subject in a casual environment. I attended three BOFs last night: distutils, Quixote and Chandler.

The distutils BOF consisted of a spirited discussion about how broken or wrong distutils currently is. Distutils, which in theory provides a way to sanely distribute Python modules, in practice makes it incredibly difficult to do things that don’t match the distutils mindset exactly. Fred Drake,et al, have organized a distutils Open Space session tomorrow so I’m hopeful that a strategy or plan for improving distutils (distutils++) will emerge before the end of the conference.

The Quixote BOF was by far the smallest and most low key. I haven’t played with Quixote for a while, but after seeing Andrew’s presentation of Quixote, I think I need to look at it again. The main focus of the Quixote BOF was advocacy: how do users of Quixote encourage and promote it’s use to others?

Finally, the Chandler BOF was the largest and most interesting. Mitch Kapor, who provided a rather dry key-note, showed that his forte is definitly speaking to slightly smaller groups. He also demonstrated that he’s very passionate about Chandler and what the OSAF is trying to do. Starting at 9PM, Kapor et al held forth to a fairly full room about Chandler: what’s going on, what’s going wrong, and what’s coming up. Many community members expressed concern about two very different topics: internationalization and transparency. Barry Warsaw led the charge in encouraging Mitch and Ted to look into internationalization and localization now, instead of later. Others (I don’t know their names) questioned the frequency of releases and the openess of the discussions. I’m not sure how valid this is: when I’ve looked, the wiki seems fairly all-consuming. I left at 10:10, but Vern says it went until nearly 11:00PM.

Tonite I’m heading to the Python in Education BOF, which should be interesting.