The "Need for Speed" Sprint for the Python programming language, being
held in Reykjavik, Iceland, is about half way done, with significant
progress being made. We started the week with the Python 2.5 alpha 2
release candidate being around 10% slower than 2.4.3, the previous stable
release. Largely, this slowdown is due to newly added features,
particularly a change in the object type of exceptions which is showing a
According to my test of the current trunk development release, we are
now neck and neck (measured with pybench). Remember, this doesn't count
changes in developers test branches and work yet to be done in the next
3 days. Also, this doesn't include changes that Richard Jones is doing
to dramatically reduce the 60% exception slowdown.
The sprint has been generously sponsored and almost entirely funded
by EWT LLC (a security trading company) with excellent local support
from CCP Games (makers of EVE On-line MMORPG). I believe both of these
companies are looking to hire Python programmers (contact me and I can
forward on inquiries).
Both of these companies use Python as a strategic advantage in their
business, and have decided to try an experiment: If you sponsor a sprint,
bring a bunch of Python hackers together, and give them a goal, does it
help your business? They are directly addressing two very important
questions in Open Source Software (OSS): What can business do to fund
development, and How does OSS benefit a business.
Many options for funding development has been tried: consulting,
licensing, development, publishing, etc... This is believed to be the
first time in the Python community where companies have supported a sprint
at this level, bringing developers from around the world to work on things
that are important to both the companies and the community as a whole.
With the rate of progress in the last few days, I believe this sprint has
been a complete success. Often core Python sprints only happen twice a
year, around the conferences. The most recent one, March in Texas, was 4
days long. The 6 days we have here allows for significant progress to be
EWT LLC also announced that they will be implementing a "scientist in
residence" program where selected candidates will be funded to go to EWT
headquarters in Los Angeles for 3 to 6 months, allowing you to work on
Open Source projects. I think it's a great idea that will allow people
to work on projects they might not otherwise be able to get time to do.
If you are interested in more information about the things going on related
to the sprint, you may wish to follow some of these links:
to post comments)