How to engage online with other developers

Seattle Web Design
8 min readJul 28, 2023

Open-source software development has gained popularity recently due to its numerous benefits, such as flexibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Linux and Python are two of the most widely used and supported open-source projects, with a large community of developers collaborating to improve the software. Collaboration is essential in open-source software development as it allows sharing knowledge, skills, and resources, resulting in a higher-quality product. With the help of the internet, developers from all over the world can work together on the same project, making open-source software development a truly global effort.

https://planetary.co/insight/2022-08-27-online-coding-interview-tools

Let’s look at how developers of Linux and Python collaborate online to develop and maintain their software. The collaborative process typically involves using various online tools such as email lists, chat rooms, online forums, and code repositories to facilitate communication and collaboration between developers. Developers can share code, review each other’s work, and suggest improvements through these tools. The collaborative nature of open-source software development has resulted in the creation of high-quality software constantly evolving and improving, benefiting the entire community of users.

A brief history of Linux and Python

Linux is a computer system created in 1991 by a Finnish software engineer named Linus, who attended the University of Helsinki. The creator of Linux was very informed about code and would use programs like MINIX daily for many different things. But then he decided to create an alternative to the MINIX program. The problem with this program was that developers and users needed help to distribute or modify the code being made. It wasn’t very flexible with the way it worked. This made it not the best option for Linus, so he started working on a new, easier, and better program. A fun fact about Linux is that it was created using only the C programming language. Linux quickly became worldwide, and people used it for many different programs. Dell was the first manufacturer to use Linux in every product. While Linux may not be as user-friendly as other software programs, it is a handy and reliable system many software engineers use.

Guido van Rossum created Python, which was first released in February 1991. Which was about the same time as Linux had come out. The first version of Python to come out was all the work of Guido van Rossum, and he did it all without using any outside help. However, once the program began evolving, a foundation was formed where mostly anonymous software developers worked together to create a better version of Python for its users. The first-ever version of Python included functions, modules, and core data such as list, dict, and str. Although it wasn’t as evolved as Python is now, those were significant steps toward great programming software. An interesting fact about Python is that it’s used everywhere online to create mobile apps, websites, programs, and other things involving technology. Due to its success, large companies began implementing Python in their programs, systems, web designs, and other valuable functions.

Collaboration in Linux and Python Development

Collaboration in Linux development is a prime example of how open-source software development works. Email lists, chat rooms, and code repositories enable developers to collaborate remotely, regardless of location. The Linux development process is overseen by Linus Torvalds, who acts as the project’s “benevolent dictator.” This role involves deciding which code changes should be included in the main codebase. Still, the process is democratic, with other developers reviewing and providing feedback on code changes. He explains the policy behind Linux in TED in detail.

Developers submit code changes to the Linux kernel mailing list, where other developers review them before being merged into the main codebase. This approach helps ensure the code changes are thoroughly tested and meet the project’s quality standards. Using code repositories, such as Git, is another crucial aspect of the collaborative process in Linux development. Git enables developers to work on different parts of the codebase simultaneously and track changes made to the code. This makes it easier to coordinate and collaborate on development, allowing developers to work together to solve complex issues and improve the overall quality of the software.

Collaboration in Python development is facilitated using online forums, mailing lists, and code repositories. The Python Software Foundation oversees Python’s development and supports developers. The Python development process is like that of Linux, with developers submitting code changes to the Python mailing list for review. Using code repositories like GitHub makes it easier for developers to collaborate on code changes and track their progress.

Detailed Python Development

Adding new functionality to Python is a complex process that involves several steps to ensure that the feature is robust, secure, and aligns with the language’s goals. Before releasing a new feature to the public, it goes through a thorough review process, which includes discussion, documentation, and testing.

In Python 3.6, it became possible to use underscores to visually separate digits when representing integral, floating-point, and complex number literals. This makes it easier for programmers to recognize numbers with many digits visually.

The first step in adding a new feature to Python is community discussion. This discussion aims to gather feedback and suggestions and ensure the proposed feature aligns with Python’s overall goals and philosophy. The proposed part is presented to the Python community, which includes developers, users, and other stakeholders. Sometimes, the communities include Python conferences all over the world. EuroPython Conference is one of them.

Grouping digits with underscores is an idea that first emerged in the Python Ideas mailing list. The mailing list archive shows that this idea was accepted positively and enthusiastically.

If the community agrees the proposed feature is worth pursuing, it is documented in a Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP). A PEP is a document that describes a new feature or improvement to Python and serves as a blueprint for the implementation process. It includes details such as the motivation for the feature, the proposed implementation, and potential drawbacks or limitations.

Once a PEP is written, it must be reviewed by the Python community, a process that can take several months. The community carefully examines the proposed feature to ensure it meets the language’s high standards. The community may suggest changes or modifications to the PEP, which the author may need to revise accordingly.

Since Grouping digits with underscores was positively received, the discussion shifted to how to implement it. The feature was already implemented in various languages, such as C++, Java, Ruby, and comparisons were made. This is documented in PEP 515 and briefly summarized as public domain.

After the PEP has been reviewed and accepted by the community, it is implemented in the Python codebase. The implementation process can take several months or even years, depending on the complexity of the feature and the available development resources.

Various discussions and considerations were made among the developers through the mailing list during the implementation of PEP 515. Specifically, they discussed what kind of implementation to pursue, such as whether to make it flexible or impose strict constraints. The archives of the mailing list can verify these discussions.

During the implementation process, the feature undergoes rigorous testing to ensure that it works as intended and does not introduce any security vulnerabilities or other issues. The development team and the wider Python community participate in the testing process and provide feedback.

Python code is developed with test code to minimize bugs as much as possible, and this is not limited to PEP515. Python is primarily written in C language, and to run Python, it needs to be compiled. During compilation, with the appropriate options, you can run the Python test code instead of the release version code.

Bugs in Python development used to be managed through Python Bug Tracker. When bugs were found, fixes and merges were made through this site. This site still exists and contains the fixed logs for PEP515. However, since Python 3.7, all bugs are managed through Github repositories. This decision was made because Git was determined to be more suitable for the development of large-scale projects like Python.

Once the new feature has been fully implemented and tested, it is released as part of a new version of Python. The release is carefully managed to ensure it is stable and compatible with existing codebases.

Adding new functionality to Python is a complex and rigorous process that involves community discussion, documentation, implementation, testing, and release management. This process ensures that new features are well-designed, secure, and aligned with the language’s goals and helps maintain Python’s position as one of the world’s most popular and powerful programming languages.

There are various ways to install Python. A new feature is documented in “What’s New in Python” and becomes known to Python users when a new feature is added. The contents of PEP515 were also made public in this way. Of course, if you visit the officiPythonhon website, you can install and start using Python. In addition, if you are using WindPython, you can obtain it from the Microsoft Store. These methods make it available to many users.

Takeaway

The history of Linux and Python shows how two significant technological advancements came into being and evolved. Linux was created in 1991 as an alternative to MINIX, a program that lacked flexibility and made it difficult for developers to modify or distribute codes. Linux quickly became popular and has been used worldwide by software engineers. Python, created by Guido van Rossum in the same year, is widely used today for creating mobile apps, websites, programs, and other technological advancements. The success of Python led to large companies implementing Python in their systems, web designs, and other valuable functions.

Collaboration is essential for developing and maintaining open-source software projects like Linux and Python. The internet has allowed developers worldwide to work together on the same project, and online tools like email lists, chat rooms, forums, and code repositories have made collaboration easier and more effective. As Linus Torvalds once said, “Good programmers do not just write good code; they also communicate well with others.” Collaborating effectively allows developers to create high-quality open-source software that benefits the entire community.

Adding new functionality to Python is a complex process involving Python steps to ensure the feature is robust, secure, and aligns with the language’s goals. The process begins with community discussion, where the proposed feature is presented to the Python community, which includes developers, users, and other stakeholders. If the community agrees the proposed feature is worth pursuing, it is documented in a Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP). The PEP is a document that describes a new feature or improvement to Python and serves as a blueprint for the iPythonntation process.

Linux and Python have significantly impacted the tecPythonical advancements made in recent times. The collaborative efforts of developers worldwide have helped create and maintain robust and secure systems, and adding new features has made them even better. The future of Linux and Python is bright, and the collaboration and development processes will bring even more innovation and advancements.

--

--