As I had announced yesterday, we had a Python meetup at Ebony Restaurant today evening -- Ten Pythonistas arrived and we had a rockin' time :)
I knew only Pradeep and Premshree before, I met the other 7 just today - Anand Pillai, Sundar, Owen, Suresh, Anish, Ramdas and Gurpreet.
We met up at 7.30 and just started talking away! We eventually got around to giving our formal introductions. It was interesting to listen to the stories of how each of us became interested in Python and how we have come to like it so much. There were equal number of newbies, Python users and experienced guys amongst us. Most of us use Python 'unofficially' for our own purposes except for Pradeep and Gurpreet who use Python professionally in their respective companies.
After the introductions, we soon ordered the drinks and snacks. The conversations veered off in all kinds of directions from Linux Bangalore/2004 to Ruby on Rails (no, we don't bash other languages, its just that we simply love Python) to the writing habit in us - Premshree, Anand and Pradeep have written various Python-related articles in many magazines, including the respected DeveloperIQ magazine whose publisher and editor is Ramdas ; and relatedly I have written a popular free book on Python.
Then came the topic of organizing ourselves into a tribe of snake-charmers. Oops, I meant a group of Python users ;) . We decided to create a yahoo group for ourselves but we soon got brainstorming and debating about a suitable name. For obvious reasons, we were trying to come up with names which involved 'Python' and 'Bangalore' ... some of the names that came up were BagPython, BangPython (!), BaPy, PyBang, .... we finally decided ad-hoc on the name 'BaPy' but we'll still probably have a poll for it (and no, 'Bang-athon' is not a suitable name ;) ). We can call ourselves as 'bapys' (try pronouncing it like 'hippies' :D )
Then, there was a suggestion to take on a project that all of us could take part in. It would be so cool if a group of Pythonistas from Bangalore, India could contribute to the Python community (and yes, anybody is welcome to help in the project, not just Bangaloreans)
I gave the suggestion of a CPAN equivalent for Python. This idea came out of a question I've had for quite a long time. If you're a Perl user, you would know how CPAN allows super-easy installation and upgradation for Perl modules ; but Python does not have any equivalent. Ruby, which is much newer than Python has Ruby Gems! So, it was surprising to me that Python does not have any equivalent, even though there are many modules and packages available for it, many of which are listed in the Python Package Index (PyPI). Note that PyPI is only a listing of packages, it is not a central repository.
I was happy to note that everybody agreed that it was a viable idea, something do-able, something of interest to everybody and useful to the community at the same time. Premshree pointed out that it is not a difficult thing to implement but the more important thing to watch out for is to do it the right way. Ramdas volunteered to provide the webspace hosting and bandwidth for the project as well.
All of us are excited that we would get to work on a cool project we could hack on. However this is just our first meetup and we didn't want to jump in right away with this. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was unanimously elected to be the lead for this project! :shock:
Our conversations continued and we got to know about the kind of work that each of us are into in their respective companies which were Yahoo!, Thoughtworks, ZeOmega, DeveloperIQ, Infosys, Computer Associates, Textual Analytics India. We inevitably got into a vim-versus-emacs discussion, how can a meetup be complete without it ;) and then later we had a VIM-and-emacs-versus-IDE discussion.
Somewhere in-between, we managed to gulp in some food as well. We had a great time and lots of discussions, the reason why I coudn't click more photos as well :)
Thanks to Anand Pillai for taking up the initiative to organize this meetup. I'm looking forward to the list/yahoo group that we are going to create and more exciting discussions that will take place on the list. If you are interested, please feel free to join the group as well. Anand will setup the group in the next few days and I will announce the same on my blog.