There is a supporting reason why we made so many advances in the last year: funding through Eurostars, a European research funding program. The title of our proposal (accepted in 2009) is: "PYJIT - a fast and flexible toolkit for dynamic programming languages based on PyPy". And the participants are Open End AB, the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (HHU), and merlinux GmbH.
It's not hard to guess what PYJIT is actually about, is it? Quoting: "The PYJIT project will deliver a fast and flexible Just-In-Time Compiler toolkit based on PyPy to the market of dynamic languages. Our main aim is to showcase our project's results for the Open Source language Python, providing unprecedented levels of flexibility and with speed hitherto only available using statically typed languages." (Details in German or in Swedish :-)
A subgoal is to improve our development and testing infrastructure, mainly showcased by Holger's recent py.test releases, the testing tool used by PyPy for its 16K tests and the speed.pypy.org infrastructure (web app programmed by Miquel Torres on his own time).
The overall scope of this project is smaller than that of the previous EU project from 2004 to 2007. The persons that are (or were) getting money to work on PyPy are Samuele Pedroni (at Open End), Maciej Fijalkowski (as a subcontractor), Carl Friedrich Bolz, Armin Rigo, Antonio Cuni (all at HHU), and Holger Krekel (at merlinux) as well as Ronny Pfannschmidt (as a subcontractor).
The Eurostars funding lasts until August 2011. What comes afterwards? Well, for one, many of the currently funded people have done work without getting funding in previous years. This will probably continue. We also have non-funded people in the core group right now and we'll hope to enlarge it further. But of course there are still large tasks ahead which may greatly benefit from funding. We have setup a donation infrastructure and maybe we can win one or more larger organisations to provide higher or regular sums of money to fund future development work. Another possibility for companies is to pay PyPy developers to help and improve PyPy for their particular use cases.
And finally, your help, donations and suggestions are always welcome and overall we hope to convince more and more people it's worthwhile to invest into PyPy's future.