Today marks a decade since I made my first commit to CPython's repository on Sat, 19 Apr 2003 04:00:56 +0000 (python-checkins, hg.python.org). According to Ohloh, I currently sit as the 16th most prolific committers based on commit count which I can hardly believe. Boy have times changed over the past decade!
Back in April 2003, we were still on CVS on SourceForge (I somewhat foolishly took on projects to change both of those). Guido gave me my commit privileges himself (now I hand them out which is a bit scary =). It was less than a month after the first PyCon (or at least the first Python conference officially called PyCon, and I've managed to attend every single since and now have my wife asking if she can come) and me being elected to the Python Software Foundation (which I joined the board of directors for a time). This was before Python 2.3 we released (and now we are working on Python 3.4). Back then, Python was becoming popular and had an upward trend, heading towards its current position as the top dynamic language out there that isn't embedded in a browser (I would say it didn't really become really obvious this was going to happen until about 2005, so I got my wagon hitched at just the right time =).
But this post is not about reminiscing. It's for thanking the people and community who have made contributing to Python so enjoyable that I have actually wanted to do it for a whole decade (and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future).
I want to first thank python-dev. I have always said I truly learned how to program from my fellow core developers. Getting to work on CPython's interpreter core and the stdlib showed me how to manage complexity in APIs, keep my code clean and readable, when to optimize and when to go with the easier to read solution, etc. Pretty much everything that you would want to know when programming in the wild I didn't learn from a class or a book but from my fellow open source programmers. You just can't buy that experience. This is the reason I have always done what I could to make the lives of people who wanted to contribute as easy as possible (sometimes at the expense of other core devs depending on how you fall down on the svn -> hg transition).
I also want to thank the Python community. When I first started contributing I was doing it to gain experience in programming in the real world by contributing to a top-notch codebase with world-class programmers. But as time went on the things I gained in terms of experience dwindled. But what I lost in terms of fulfillment from what I learned was more than made up for in terms of the interactions I had with the community. Meeting people who have benefited from my code and said "thanks" for volunteering my time truly does inspire me to keep contributing, especially when I don't want to backport a bug fix. =)
But through the community I have also been able to gain great friends from across the globe. While I may only get to see my "open source friends" about once a year for a week at PyCon (which is the key reason I look forward to the conference as soon as the last one finished), they are truly friends. They are people I would let crash in my spare bedroom, give them a key, and say "welcome" without hesitation (if any of them were ever so inclined to visit Toronto, let alone Guelph). Those friendships are truly important to me and what will keep me coming back for years on in the future no matter how much or little I am able to contribute in my spare time.
So thanks to everyone reading this. By being a part of this great community of nice, caring individuals I continue to come back to contribute and participate however I can.