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Py in Print


When Bryan Richard wrote me a few months ago to ask if I thought a Python magazine would make it, I told him it probably would, if it were a labor of love. I didn't think he would make much money off the venture, but it would sure be great to have something out there. Maybe it could take off the way The Perl Journal did. Bryan decided it was love, and a few months later, the first issue Py was mailed out to early subscribers.

Py 01.01 is printed on Electrobrite, a paper that's a small (very small) step up from newsprint. Counting the front and back cover, it's a mere 16 pages long. In those pages you will find a Python generated cover image and five concise and useful articles by authors familiar to many in the Python community: Aahz, Blake Garretson, Eric Jones, Alex Martelli, and Mike Soulier. The article topics are varied: threading, images in Tk, extending python, Numeric, CGI templates. There's a little something for everyone. All this for a mere $3.00 ($5.00 outside the US). A year's subscription, six issues, is $15.00 ($22.00 outside the US).

Py is a zine. A zine is an underground or amateur-produced magazine. In other words, Py is an indie publication. No e-zine, it's available in print only. "I'm a book geek," Richard declares. "When I sent a copy to Bruce Eckel, his reaction was 'it's nice, but why is it in print?' Basically it's in print because if it were digital, I wouldn't be doing it. I think print adds validation to it. I adore the medium." I like it, too. Py is inexpensive, easy to pass around, and just plain fun to see sitting on my table.

Although only about 500 issues have been delivered so far, Py has already garnered its first commercial tie-in. Archaeopteryx Software, Inc., makers of the Wing IDE, are throwing in a year's subscription to Py when you purchase Wing. I asked Richard where he thought Py was headed from here. "I want to get it into bookstores. I'm talking to distributors now. I feel by issue three or four, we'll see it in Borders or Barnes and Nobles. I'm talking to Christian Tismer about a Starship tie-in, and there may be a German edition and distribution." I asked Richard if getting it in stores might call for a glossy cover, he said it might, but he would resist that as long as he could.

Issue 01.02 is in the can and should be mailed out in June. Jones and Martelli both expand upon their previous articles, with more information on Scientific Python and Extending Python. Py gets its first column, Programming with Object Orientation in Python (POOPy), written by Greg Lindstrom. Two new authors contribute articles on config files and zxJDBC.

The quality of Py reflects Richard's love af the medium, and the love its authors have for their subjects. As a product of the Python community, it's also a reflection of the community itself: clear, concise, useful, helpful, and friendly. Subscribe. Contribute articles and images. Make it yours. Snatch up the early issues. An early piece of Py could be a piece of history.

Stephen Figgins administrates Linux servers for Sunflower Broadband, a cable company.

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