Co-founder Mary Gardiner gave the afternoon keynote address at the PyCon AU conference on 20th August 2011. The topic of her keynote was refreshingly practical and down to earth: Four Python open source projects that are changing the world for the better (and you can contribute to). Many people are attracted to open source in part because they want to make the world a better a place, but sometimes it’s hard to find projects that affect people directly, instead of creating infrastructure for other people to use.
Mary doesn’t talk about the Ada Initiative in this talk, but it’s enjoyable and a good introduction to a more human side of open source. One good tidbit at about 6:30 in: Stenotype using regular keyboards is now practical in part because hardcore gamers created a market for keyboards that can record multiple simultaneous key presses reliably. These keyboards now make stenotype without special (very expensive) hardware possible.
The four projects Mary introduces in this talk are:
- Plover, a project to bring stenotype (much faster than QWERTY, Dvorak and similar letter-based typing schemes) to affordable hardware
- Software Carpentry, a project educating scientists about the parts of software engineering that give the biggest bang for their buck (or their time!) in terms of maintainable, reusable code
- Calibre, centralising e-book management outside of proprietary programs
- Sugar, collaborative learning software for children
Mary’s slides are available. (1.7MB, PDF)
The subtitle captions for the talk were provided by Mirabai Knight of the Plover project. Thank you Mirabai!