World's Largest Python Community Conference Kicks Off March 13 in Chicago

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Registration for premier Python developer event jumps a third over 2007 with most tutorials already sold out. The number of sessions has been boosted to more than 100.

PyCon 2008 kicks off Thursday, March 13 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel featuring talks and tutorials from Caltech, Google, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, One Laptop per Child, Red Hat, and the University of California, Berkeley. Organized by the Python Software Foundation, and staffed entirely by volunteers, this annual community conference boasts more than double the number of tutorials compared to 2007.

From Lockheed Martin's talk on Jython in the Joint Strike Fighter to Microsoft's presentation of IronPython and Silverlight and Red Hat's session on GUI testing, PyCon 2008 is packed with presentations on various uses and implementations of Python. The rapid expansion of PyCon 2008 is due to the growth of Python as the dynamic language of choice for both small and large-scale projects in many different industries. In a keynote talk, creator and "father" of Python Guido van Rossum is presenting a preview of Python 3000, slated to be released mid-year and is currently in its third alpha release version. Van Rossum currently works at Google, devoting half of his time solely to Python development.

"Individuals and organizations are increasingly adopting and using Python for every day purposes," said van Rossum. "It's great to see PyCon, a true grassroots movement, expand into such a large and vibrant community."

Python activities span a full week, with the conference itself preceded by a tutorial day, in which attendees can choose from a variety of topics taught by experts, and followed by four days of free "sprints," high-intensity workshops where developers work on projects with peers. Tutorial day has been expanded this year to three time-slots -- morning, afternoon, and evening -- due to the overwhelming demand from last year's participants. Attendees have about 10 possibilities each time period, with options ranging from introductory Python courses to "Internet programming with Python" and even a class on modern game development with "Pygame."

"Because of the huge success of past tutorial days where most classes were full and attendees begged for more room and more topics, coupled with the tremendous flood of proposals this year, we decided to add a completely new tutorial track," said PyCon 2008 chair David Goodger. "Now 'Pythonistas' will not only have a plethora of options at their fingertips but will also be able to attend extra sessions."

Four days of the conference are allotted for hands-on coding workshops with the world's best Python developers in what PyCon calls "sprints." A long-standing tradition in the Python developer community, sprints gather project participants into one place for short bursts of intense, face-to-face cooperation. The sprinters are supported by sponsors, who provide resources for them to come together and code.

"Python represents a substantial (and growing) piece of the open-source ecosystem, and Sun is committed to building tools and infrastructure for open-source developers. To do a good job of this, we need to be a part of the Python community; we think hiring Ted Leung and Frank Wierzbicki is a good start. In addition, it makes me happy that we are sponsoring the Jython and PyPy sprints at PyCon 2008," said Tim Bray, director of web technologies at Sun Microsystems. "In the world of Open Source, code talks."

Development sprints have long been a regular feature in the Python community, but until recently they have been less familiar to developers in other languages. For many, the opportunity to work side-by-side with friends from across the world is one of the highlights of PyCon.

"At sprints, we collaborate in an informal and productive atmosphere," said Steve Alexander, collaborative tools manager at Canonical. "Sprints are one of the most important parts of the conference, one of the main reasons we're here."

If interested in attending, admission passes will be available at the door. For more information about this event, please visit

About PyCon
Presented by the Python Software Foundation, the world's largest Python conference brings together a diverse group of developers, enthusiasts, and organizations to explore new challenges, launch new businesses and forge new connections within the Python community. PyCon provides attendees with the opportunity to delve into the dynamic programming language employed by well-known companies such as Google, Cisco, and the New York Times. PyCon helps people learn new tools and techniques, showcase projects, and meet other Python fans.

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