Microsoft strengthens support for the Python programming ecosystem

Microsoft’s sponsorship funds will be used to improve PyPI and the packaging ecosystem.

Microsoft is now a “visionary sponsor” of the Python Software Foundation.

Image: James Sanders / TechRepublic

Microsoft said it was increasing its support for the

community while committing to open source “as much work as we do as possible” to advance the programming language in emerging areas like data science.

Microsoft has pledged $ 150,000 in financial sponsorship to the Python Software Foundation (PSF), the non-profit organization that owns the rights to the increasingly popular language created by Guido Van Rossum in 1991.

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Microsoft said part of the funding will be spent on improving the Python Package Index (PyPI) and the broader packaging ecosystem. Dan Taylor, Senior Program Manager, Python and AI Tools at Microsoft, highlighted security improvements as a key goal of the investment.

“With the recently revealed security vulnerabilities, a reliable supply chain is a critical issue for us and the Python community, and we’re excited to contribute long-term improvements,” Taylor said.

Microsoft has sponsored the PSF since 2006, but has stepped up its involvement in the Python ecosystem in recent years amid the rapid rise in popularity of the programming language.

SEE: Python Programming Language: A Cheat Sheet (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In November 2020, Van Rossum – who is also president of the PSF – came out of retirement
to lead the developer division of the company.

As a Distinguished Engineer, Van Rossum primarily explores performance improvements of CPython, the original benchmark implementation of the Python programming language written in the C programming language.

“Within the developer division of Microsoft, our primary mission is to help every developer on the planet do more,” said Taylor. “Python, a language with a strong emphasis on developer productivity, is close to our hearts and closely aligned with our mission.”

Microsoft currently has five “core” developers who contribute part-time to the development of CPython: van Rossum, Brett Cannon, Steve Dower, Eric Snow, and Barry Warsaw.

The company also employs several key contributors and maintainers of key open source projects in the Python ecosystem, including pandas, Dask, Jupyter, nteract, scikit-learn, and Apache Arrow.

Microsoft’s open source extension for Visual Studio Code is the company’s most popular extension in the enterprise market for developers. Microsoft has also opened up the Jupyter Extension, Debugging Engine, and Copyright Type Checker, as well as several.

SEE: Recruitment Kit: Python Developer (TechRepublic Premium)

The Azure Functions serverless runtime and the Azure Functions Python worker have also been open-source by the Redmond firm, as has the Azure App Service Oryx build engine and the Python runtime image, the command line interface. Azure and the Knack CLI framework, and the Azure SDK for Python. .

“We believe that we need to open up as much as possible the work we do, as this allows developers to have more flexibility when using our products and to contribute to the open source community advancing the state of the ‘art for everyone,’ Taylor said.

The PSF credited Microsoft for helping to advance the Python tools and ecosystem and “showing strong involvement with the Python community” through its sponsorship of events such as PyCon US, one of the Python development conventions. the most important and famous in the world.

The Foundation said in a statement, “Microsoft is helping millions of Python developers do more by enabling Python support on products and services such as Windows, Visual Studio Code, GitHub, and Microsoft Azure.

“This year, we are delighted that Microsoft is further increasing its contributions to the PSF as a visionary sponsor. Sponsorship funds from Microsoft will be used to support the PSF, with a focus on working with the Packaging Working Group to improve PyPI and the packaging ecosystem. . ”

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