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June 30, 2020 67 min
In episode 29, we interviewed Jason R Coombs from the setuptools project. We started with a discussion about his background and his interest for Python and other programming languages. Following that, we had a thorough discussion about setuptools. We covered topics such as how he got involved in the project, the nature and composition of a Python package, why packaging your code can be important even for small projects, the hidden complexity of binary packages in the Python Package Index and how to maintain compatibility between Python versions. We also had a brief segment about the security aspects of Python packages. He informed us about how you could start contributing to the project and where to discuss Python packaging. We then followed with a general discussion about FLOSS in science and the problem of long-term maintenance in academia. We concluded the interview with our usual quick questions. 00:00:00.000 Intro 00:00:23 Introducing Jason R. Coombs 00:01:28 The first programming languages he learned and how he got into Python 00:03:46 New interesting programming languages 00:05:07 His favourite past Python projects 00:06:53 His one minute elevator pitch for setuptools 00:08:00 The relation between setuptools, PIP and Anaconda 00:10:43 How he got involved with the setuptools project 00:14:43 What is a Python package ? 00:16:07 What can be included in a package? 00:16:36 At which point is it beneficial to create a package ? 00:18:04 Managing compatibility with multiple versions of Python 00:20:33 Advantages of packages for small projects 00:22:46 How much work is required to create a package ? 00:25:05 Files required to create a Python package 00:27:45 Licenses and readme for Python packages 00:30:51 The nature of distribution archives 00:31:27 Compatibility of binary archives 00:32:39 Eggs and wheel files 00:34:32 Dealing with non portable packages in the Python Package Index across multiple operating systems 00:37:49 Uploading packages to the Python Package Index 00:39:12 Review for broken or malicious code 00:40:08 Vulneraility from package removal in the Python Package Index 00:43:24 Package name collisions 00:45:13 How many packages are in the Python Package Index 00:45:25 Alternatives to the main Python Package Index 00:46:35 Other packaging tools 00:47:39 How many developpers are involved in the project 00:48:31 Communication channels and discussions about Python packaging 00:49:53 Openings for new contributors 00:50:59 Skills required to contribute 00:52:24 The challenge of long term maintenance of packages in academia 00:55:43 His vision about the importance of FLOSS for the openess of science 00:59:18 Disadvantage of using FLOSS 01:01:24 The most notable scientific discovery in recent years 01:02:13 Favourite text processing tool 01:03:23 A topic in science about which he recently changed his mind 01:04:50 Contact informations 01:05:23 Conclusion
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