I'm very glad I was able to attend Python Ireland's March talks meet-up last night, it's the first time (at last!) that I got to hear the Python chaps presenting, some very interesting stuff. Apparently they're doing a "return to the sources" with more introductory talks, after some time of in-depth technical talks that very few people were actually able to get. I think it worked well.
The first presentation was about Jython. Until then I hadn't thought much about it, besides "yeah, Python on the JVM. Why not." Turns out there's some really cool stuff going on there! The seamless Java <-> Python integration evokes a realm of possibilities I hadn't considered before (I thought it simply ran pure Python, I didn't know about it talking with Java and the use of java.lang.reflect.) Jython also integrates with a few Java containers, like JBoss and WebSphere and that's something I definitely want to look into and see how useful it could be in work to help script our build environment. Learning Python version 2.1 should prove interesting...!!
Jython doesn't use the GIL, enabling real multi-threading. Web frameworks can run on it too, some of them tested and confirmed like Django. The thought of Django running on a heavy weight "enterprise" Java container/server brings up a smile, for some reason. All in all a very informative talk, that not only made me want to try out Jython but also dig deeper into the Python language to find out more about some of the concepts that were mentioned.
The second talk was a summary of some sessions from PyCon 2010, quite interactive with the audience asking questions. Some interesting discussions about performance, the GIL (serious case of busy wait on multicore, fixing-in-progress), Unladden Swallow (aiming at 5x better performance and actually getting there, huh. Cool!), an interest in NoSQL databases (tending toward Cassandra and MongoDB rather than CouchDB, interesting), some packaging discussions (highlighting that it was often easier to install (using easy_install) than remove (manually :)). There must be something to learn from the way Linux distributions have been doing it for 15 years now. They're getting there.) Having "poster sessions" for people to present a project without doing an actual presentation is quite an interesting concept. I wonder if this would work for other local conferences, like OSS Bar Camp.