Monday, December 21, 2009

Accelerating PyPy development by funding

PyPy has recently made some great speed and memory progress towards providing the most efficient Python interpreter out there. We also just announced our plans for the pypy-1.2 release. Much of this is driven by personal commitment, by individuals and companies investing time and money. Now we'd appreciate some feedback and help regarding getting money into the PyPy project to help its core members (between 5 and 15 people depending how you count) to sustain themselves. We see several options:

  • use a foundation structure and ask for tax-exempt donations to the project, its developers and infrastructure. We just got a letter from the Software Freedom Conservancy that they view our application favourably so this option becomes practical hopefully soon.
  • offer to implement certain features like a 64bit JIT-backend, Numpy for PyPy or a streamlined installation in exchange for money, contributed in small portions/donations. Do you imagine you or your company would sponsor PyPy on a small scale for efforts like this? Any other bits you'd like to see?
  • offer to implement larger scale tasks by contracting PyPy related companies, namely Open End and merlinux who have successfully done such contracts in the past. Please don't hesitate to contact holger@merlinux.eu and bea@openend.se if you want to start a conversation on this.
  • apply for public/state funding - in fact we are likely to get some funding through Eurostars, more on that separately. Such funding is usually only a 50-60% percentage of actual employment and project costs, and is tied to research questions rather than to make PyPy a production-useable interpreter, though.

Anything else we should look out for?

cheers & thanks for any feedback, Maciej and Holger

10 comments:

kitblake said...

What's the status of possible mobile applications for PyPy? That seems nearer in terms of potential products and thus 'commercial' funding.

Po said...

Have you guys looked into jitting regular expressions?
I am not quite sure how hard it would be but having very fast regexps would be a great selling point for Pypy.

Ryan said...

What about activating the Python Users Groups around the world? I think the case has to be made for PyPy still to the regular folk, if you will. So - what if you conducted a video showing off it's potential, or maybe a series of videos, much like the "Summer of NHibernate" series. All the while, on the same site as the videos, you have a "tips" jar for donations. The videos would serve as great marketing campaign and would invite the development community into the fold, earning the buy-in you seek. This kind of attention in the community would only serve the project well when attracting the larger fish to the pond.

Just my thoughts. :)

holger krekel said...

@kitblake good point. The main blocker for making PyPy useful on mobile phones is support for GUI apps. Alexander's recent PyPy QT experiments are teasing in this direction. To fully exploit PyPy's super-efficient memory usage we probably need to provide native bindings. That and maybe a GIL-less interpreter would make PyPy a superior choice for mobile devices.

However, GUI-bindings/free threading are orthogonal to the ongoing JIT-efforts. Somehow PyPy suffers a bit from its big potential (there also is stackless and sandboxing etc.). Question is: (How) can we make donation/other funding guide PyPy developments and at the same time support dedicated developers?

holger krekel said...

@Ryan Interesting idea. What would you suppose to see in such a video?

Niki said...

What if new PySide code generator targets RPython?
http://www.pyside.org/

Alexander Schremmer said...

Niki, generally thats a viable approach. Pyside is moving to shiboken, a new framework for generating bindings. Somebody would have to check how large the effort is to port it to RPython.
Currently, Pyside is using Boost::Python AFAIK.

Anonymous said...

could you accept donations via a paypal button or something like that? It's simple and easy but I think it's unlikely to be sufficient.

I'm always amazed at the MoveOn organization... it seems like every week they send out mail like 'hey! we need $400,000 to stop The Man! Can you send us $20?' followed by 'Thanks! We've achieved our goal!'

I don't know how many people or how much each one donates but they always meet their goal!

holger krekel said...

anonymous: yes, establishing some way to accept money via paypal is high on our list. if nothing else we can use some private trusted account. moveon is rather geared towards general politics, i guess, so not directly applicable. But i remember there was some open source market place which allows to bid for certain features ...

Nick said...

Have you considered moving to any sort of DVCS (Hg, Git, etc)? Or, given your current management style, does a centralized VCS or a DVCS add more to the project?

Googling "open source bounties", finds Stack Overflow suggesting self-hosting bounties for the best results, which I suppose, makes sense. The people interested in taking bounties would be the ones already at your site. Being one of a million bounty providers on a site wouldn't generate much traffic.

Thinking out loud, moving to a DVCS might actually help the bounty process, assuming you'd want to move in that direction.