[SciPy-dev] SciPy Foundation

Charles R Harris charlesr.harris@gmail....
Mon Aug 3 12:44:38 CDT 2009

On Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 8:29 AM, Neil Martinsen-Burrell <nmb@wartburg.edu>wrote:

> On 08/02/2009 04:09 PM, Gael Varoquaux wrote:
> > On Sun, Aug 02, 2009 at 03:44:49PM -0500, Neil Martinsen-Burrell wrote:
> >>   I think that there is a tendency for active researchers to
> >>   underestimate the importance of undergraduate-level learning and I
> >>   hope that in this discussion, we will keep in mind the singular
> >>   importance of that young audience.
> >
> > That's all good and nice. I agree with you it is important, and I am very
> > happy to hear people talking about this, because it makes me hope that we
> > will be getting more help to do this.
> As I have time to spare apart from the teaching and researching duties
> that I need to do to keep *my* job, I am glad to volunteer my time for
> this effort.  I have some things in mind for making Scipy accessible as
> a module within a Numerical Analysis or Scientific Computing course that
> I hope to work on within this calendar year.
> > If I work my ass off on an IDE, or more simply a GUI frontend, it won't
> > help me get more work done, which means shooting papers out, to be
> > cynical, and, in a few years, I will most likely not be doing any
> > scientific Python anymore. On the other hand, if I work on something that
> > is useful for my day to day work, I get some traction at the lab, and my
> > sleepless face is more easily forgiven. If I build an IDE that is of no
> > use to our work, nobody cares, and for a good reason.
> >
> > This is not to say that we shouldn't be working on the IDE, I believe
> > that I am one of the people that have actually written code to do this,
> > but there is a lot of work to be done here, and working on making sure
> > that we have a shell to do this, and interactive plotting, and good
> > documentation is part of this work, and can be reused for direct research
> > interests. Writing docs is also something that can help a lot, does not
> > require extensive technical knowledge and takes a lot of time.
> Indeed, you have highlighted one of the difficulties in depending on
> active domain scientists to create software projects: scratching one's
> itch is not selfish, but necessary for their career.

Linus on selfish apropos Microsoft contributing driver code to linux:

I agree that it's driven by selfish reasons, but that's how all open source
code gets written! We all "scratch our own itches". It's why I started
Linux, it's why I started git, and it's why I am still involved. It's the
reason for everybody to end up in open source, to some degree.

So complaining about the fact that Microsoft picked a selfish area to work
on is just silly. Of course they picked an area that helps them. That's the
point of open source - the ability to make the code better for your
particular needs, whoever the 'your' in question happens to be.

Does anybody complain when hardware companies write drivers for the hardware
they produce? No. That would be crazy. Does anybody complain when IBM funds
all the POWER development, and works on enterprise features because they
sell into the enterprise? No. That would be insane.

So the people who complain about Microsoft writing drivers for their own
virtualization model should take a long look in the mirror and ask
themselves why they are being so hypocritical.

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