[tor-reports] Damian's Status Report - October 2013

Damian Johnson atagar at torproject.org
Mon Oct 28 02:10:06 UTC 2013

Hi all. Here's a quick update of what I was up to this October...

Stem Release 1.1.0

After seven months of work Stem version 1.1.0 is finally out!


This month was primarily focused on pre-release performance and
compatibility improvements in preparation for this...

* Handful of improvements that reduced the memory usage of our
  Descriptor classes by 20%. [1]

* Replaced Stem's custom caching with Python's @lru_cache. This was
  added to the standard library in Python 3.2, so Stem includes a
  Python 2.x backport to our utilities. [2][3]

* Dozens of compatibility fixes for Python 2.6 and 3.x.

* Added test coverage for Stem's interpretor examples, courtesy of
  Python's doctest module. [4][5]

GSoC Mentor Summit

Nick, Moritz and I attended the GSoC Mentor Summit at Google's main
campus. By and large it was very similar to previous years, with many
of the same faces and discussion topics. Unlike the prior couple
years however I did not focus on keeping notes which, on reflection,
was a mistake. Here's the small bit I remember...

* Had a couple fun language discussions with developers from SciRuby
  and Scala. The former mostly concerned the advantages and
  disadvantages of Ruby with respect to Python (I use the former
  at work, so I've had some time to form an opinion on this). The
  later concerned Scala support for issuing database queries via
  list comprehensions.

* Couple discussions with Wikimedia developers regarding Tor abuse.
  Unfortunately this is a perennial discussion that never seems to go
  anywhere despite having plenty of technical solutions.

* Nick gave me a tour of Chutney's codebase and tried to persuade me
  to take on development of it. Nearly worked too. But while Chutney,
  SoaT, TorBEL, and a dozen other projects would be a lot of fun to
  work on I only have so much I can squeeze in alongside a full-time

* A hackathon organizer with Random Hacks of Kindness discussed what
  they've found most successfully attracts contributors. The two
  most memorable tips were momentum and recognition. Regularly
  organizing events is necessary to maintain a core contributor
  group, and engaging local media doesn't hurt as it provides
  recognition for the contributors.

* Shadowed Nick during discussions with a Mozilla developer concerning
  the upcoming Tor IM bundle. They certainly seem excited for OTR

* Visited with Terry and Arc from the PSF quite a bit. Still no ETA
  on when distributions will switch to Python 3, and Mailman 3 is
  still a ways off. Momentum on lots of projects though. Evidently
  they acted as an umbrella org for roughly sixty students. I would
  weep bitter, bitter tears if I had to be the admin for that...


Other news this month includes...

* Karsten, Andrew and I are now all moderators for the tor email
  lists. I'm taking point in this area, making daily sweeps through
  the moderator queue and tweaking Mailman to reduce friction.

* Handful of DocTor fixes and improvements. Karsten shut down the
  Java DocTor early in the month so our shiny, new Python DocTor
  is now flying solo!

* Attended events in the Seattle area including 'Go for Python
  Developers' at Google Fremont and the second TA3M meetup.

* Worked with authority operators to resolve brief outages with dizum
  and urras.

Cheers! -Damian

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