PyCon 2008

We went to Chicago for PyCon 2008 last week. So, “what’s PyCon?” you might ask. PyCon is a conference for the Python community. And no, it has nothing to do with folks who keep snakes as pets.

Pythonis a programming language that we use heavily here at Rackspace for the development of many of the tools that run our business. Our systems that keep track of customers, servers, networks, and trouble tickets are all written at least partially in Python. Rackspace sent about a dozen developers to PyCon this year and we even sponsored the event. We also brought along some of our Rackspace recruiters and had a booth at the conference focused on recruiting more Python developers to Rackspace.

So who else uses Python? Well the big names, besides Rackspace, with booths at the show were Google, Lucasfilm, and Canonical. And at the conference, we met folks who work for companies you might not expect. I personally met folks from Apple, Hitachi, Sun, Microsoft, and many others.

The talks given at Pycon we’re great. The best part is many of the talks are given by the guys who are responsible for writing Python itself, the core developers. And if it isn’t those guys, it’s other big brains who are working on things like distributed computing, high performance networking, web development frameworks, or scientific application, just to name a few. As with all conferences, a few sessions were duds, but overall I thought the content was great. 

Here are a few of my observations from my first PyCon:

• Python is a popular language, used worldwide, and growing strong.
• Chicago can be really cold.
• The Python community is great bunch of smart, talented people who love what they do.
• They generally love MacBooks. Apple’s were everywhere. (granted some were running Linux)
• Python vendors give away better swag than most conferences.
• Good WiFi for 1,000+ developers all hacking away at their laptops is a challenge for a hotel.

Rackspace loves Python and if you too love Python and might want to work for Rackspace, let us know. If your application is written in Python and hosted at Rackspace, we’d love to hear about it!

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John Engates joined Rackspace in August 2000, just a year after the company was founded, as Vice President of Operations, managing the datacenter operations and customer-service teams. Most recently, John has played an active role in the evolution and evangelism of Rackspace’s cloud-computing strategy and cloud products.


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