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PyCon is here and so are the PyCon Sprints (May 6 - 9). For those who have not heard of OR attended the Sprints, we want to invite you to attend!

The PyCon Sprints are a time set aside for you and the developers of your favorite tools to work TOGETHER to make those tools better: fix bugs, add features, and improve documentation.

It is also a place for you to invite others to work on your project.

There are a number of initiatives at PyCon every year to help ensure that the Sprints go off without a hitch.

Sat: Mentored Sprints (New this year, registration required, currently sold out)
Sun: Sprint Leader presentations/project descriptions
Sun: "Intro to Sprints" workshop
Mon-Thu: the Sprints!

What can you expect at each of these events?

Mentored Sprints (Saturday): These are new this year and are a chance for attendees from groups traditionally underrepresented in the open source community to have hands-on support in a welcoming environment during their open source journey. While the mentored sprints are already sold out (sorry!), please take a look at the details and be sure to sign up next year.

Sprint Leader presentations (Sunday): Immediately following the closing talk on Sunday, starting at ~4:20, Open Source Project Leads will have chance (about 30 seconds or so) to tell you about their projects and about how you can help, so be sure to be there. Many of the Sprint Leads have been preparing for these Sprints by identifying bugs, fixes, features and documentation improvements that are suitable for beginners (like you!). Those Project Leads that have especially beginner-friendly projects will announce their status from the stage, so you have a chance to find a project that will be suitable for you!

"Intro to Sprints" Workshop (Sunday): When the Sprint Leads finish pitching their projects, PyCon is hosting the annual "How to Contribute to Open Source/Intro to Sprints" workshop in Room 25C. This hands-on tutorial will teach you how to use git, GitHub, and virtual environments so that on Monday morning, you can get started on a new project with less of a focus on the mechanics and more of a focus on the inner workings of the project. The ~2-hour workshop will be held in room XX and will be first-come, first-served (the start time is flexible because we don't start till the Leads finish pitching). Be aware, the room fills up every year! If you can't make it to the workshop, the content is also designed for self-study, so feel free to work through the material on your own.

Mon-Thur: The Sprints will run each day. But be aware that individual project leads will have their own schedule and may OR may not stick around for all four days, so you will want to sync up with the project lead to manage expectations.

We will be hosting a help desk on Monday to help new-comers find a project, answer questions about the workshop content (git/GitHub/virtual environments), sprinting in general, etc.
Cool fact: you don't need to be registered for the Conference to attend the sprints, so if you are near Cleveland, stop by!

There are several ways you can prep ahead of time to be able to maximize your time at the Sprints
  • Have your operating system updated and patched — whether Mac, Windows, or Linux. This eliminates one possible source of problems with getting software up and running.
  • If you already know it, go ahead and install the version control system that will be used by the projects you are interested in. Many projects use git or Mercurial so having both is convenient.
  • If you might be sprinting with a project whose code is also written in C, you should have the default compiler for your platform installed. This will usually be make and gcc in Linux, and the Xcode tools on the Mac.
  • A number of Project Leads are already announcing their intent to Sprint on our project list. If a project seems interesting to you, visit the project page and explore the project source code. If you can, follow the Project's Contributor/Developer Guide and download the source code, build the project code and run the project tests.
  • Remember: if you are not enjoying a particular project, feel free to go visit the other Sprint rooms and tables and projects. There is no reason you can't move from project to project over the course of the Sprints. No one will feel bad if you leave one table and join another one.
  • If you are struggling with a particular topic, feel free to ask. The Project Leads are anxious to help you be successful, since they are eager for you to be able to help them. Many of the other sprinters are also eager to assist you. They are either new to this, just like you OR have been in your shoes.
If you are a project lead or developer for an open source project, feel free to add your project to our list if you are prepared to come lead a sprint (you can freely edit this page). To be successful as a Sprint Lead, be sure that you are ready with a checkout of the latest source code, and a list of features and bugs for attendees to tackle (make sure you mark issues that are especially good for beginners to address).

Finally, remember to enjoy your time at PyCon. This is the time of the year when we all can meet, discuss new ideas, showcase our work, and make new friends. For more details on what to expect, see Trey Hunner's great blog post on Sprinting!