Python programmers can sometimes feel a bit lonely. While growing in numbers, we aren't everywhere yet. The loneliness sometimes drove, Seattle's Mike Orr and Adam Feuer South to Portland, where they would attend the Portland Python interest group. It was a long way to drive for company, but it was good to meet other Python programmers. When programmer Steve Howell recently made the same drive, the PorPiggies pointed him back to Mike and Adam. Maybe three is critical mass, or maybe it was just good timing, but the three together founded a Seattle Python interest group, SeaPig.
Adam says "I go [to interest groups] to find out what other people are doing and ask questions. You can read about Python on the net, but it's hard to ask questions unless you're there in person." PorPig meetings tend towards a lecture style in a classroom like setting. That fits with some of PorPigs high profile members, including Robin Dunn of wxWindows fame, and Amos Latteier of Zope fame, but Adam has a different style in mind, "We are aiming for a conversation oriented group."
SeaPig already has a conversation oriented web page, a simple Wiki. That's another Portland connection. Steve says he was inspired by the original Portland Pattern Repository Wiki created by Ward Cunningham. Wikis are user created and edited web pages. They are also a kind of cultural movement with their own philosophy, but that's another story. SeaPig uses their wiki to vote on meeting days, times, and subjects, as well as providing a place for members to present information about themselves, their code, and their ideas.
SeaPig isn't the only Pig in a Wiki. One of the most famous python user groups Zope Python User Group, ZPug, uses a Wiki. Located in Washington DC ZPUG has hosted several well known speakers, including Guido van Rossum and Jim Fulton, the father of Zope. You can find descriptions of their first four meetings on the Wiki.
The Mississippi Python interest group, MissPig, hosts a more traditional web page that includes the very popular Useless Python pages. And the Ottawa Python Author's group's web pages contain exercises and even some modules written by members (a guest book, a mailing list manager, and an MBox trimming script.)
Python.org maintains a list of Python user groups and their upcoming events. If you are feeling lonely and find there isn't a PIG in your area, consider a road trip or, like Steve, Adam, and Mike, consider starting your own group. You might find that along with friends, fame, and fortune, there are other benefits, like O'Reilly's User Group support: established user groups qualify for O'Reilly discounts. Okay, that might not draw people like free beer, but getting together with other Python developers sure beats being lonely. Go out and find some!
Stephen Figgins administrates Linux servers for Sunflower Broadband, a cable company.
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