[PySide] Summary of PySide BoF at PyCon

Stephan Deibel sdeibel at wingware.com
Wed Mar 20 18:17:01 CET 2013


Here is a summary of the PySide BoF that was held on Saturday March 
16that PyCon 2013 in Santa Clara, CA.  We found there is a lot of 
interest at companies that chose PySide for its licensing.  Several 
companies that were present started a collaboration in order to move 
towards a work plan and coordinated funding and further development of 
PySide.  If you are interested in joining this effort, please contact me.


The purpose of this BoF was to gather together users invested in PySide, 
review the status of PySide, and move towards revitalizing the project.  
Twelve individuals attended, including representatives of Wingware, 
Enthought, Valve, Disney, and several other companies.

The meeting started with each individual introducing themselves and 
describing their use of PySide and any concerns that they have.  
Licensing issues were the reason most of the users present (representing 
at least 5 companies) chose PySide over PyQt.  All of those citing 
licensing as a problem have a scripting API for their users, which 
requires royalties to be paid on revenues if PyQt is used.

Experiences with stability of PySide varied.  Though most had run into 
some issues, some were able to work around them while most others felt 
that fixes are needed for significant bugs.  Several present indicated a 
concern for the overall future of PySide, particularly in the context of 
supporting Qt5, making PySide more maintainable, and reestablishing a 
team of reviewers and committers.

Several attendees expressed gratitude to the previous developers of 
PySide, especially Hugo for remaining involved as approver/committer.

Discussion of Issues

A discussion of the major issues to be solved followed.  Issues brought 
up included stability, Qt5 support, lack of reviewers and committers, 
problems with the current review process, need for doing a release from 
latest revision, and need to process the accumulated list of bug reports 
that have not received any action.

It was noted that Digia is not returning calls or emails concerning 
PySide.  The possibility of forking PySide and moving it out of the Qt 
Project development toolset was brought up but consensus was established 
that this was not desirable if it could be avoided.  If a fork is 
considered later, legal consul would be asked about trademark, licensing 
considerations, and the potential for re-merging changes into the Qt 
Project at a later date.

Some specific bugs were discussed, including causes of life cycle 
issues, and whether bugs are fixable without rewriting parts of PySide.

Plan of Action

Several attending stated that it may be possible for their companies to 
providing funds or staff, given an acceptable development plan and 
process.  This will be investigated further by each potential 
contributor, and some additional companies were identified and will be 

Representatives of Enthought stated that they could host a week-long 
meeting aimed at creating a work plan and kick-starting work on PySide.

[The one-hour time available in the open space slot ended here and a 
subset of the attendees adjourned to a nearby bar :-]

Several attendees offered to act as future reviewers and committers for 
PySide:  John Ehresman (contributor to PyGTK) from Wingware, Christian 
Tismer (author of Stackless Python), along with Enthought staff:  Robin 
Dunn (author of wxPython), Jason McCampbell, and Robert Kern.

Discussion followed concerning development approaches.  Those present 
agreed that rewriting PySide from scratch is a large task and would lose 
the special cases already worked through and dealt with by PySide.  The 
possibility of a partial rewrite in Python was raised.  Another 
possibility raised was to convert the XML encoding of special cases into 
some more readable and maintainable form, similar to the one used in 
PyGTK and PyScintilla2.  Expanded developer documentation is also needed.

A discussion of the amount and cost of work involved followed.  
Estimates ranged from about 1 to 4 FTE years to cover bug fixes, Qt5 
support, and sheparding the project towards a sustainable future.

Action Items

The meeting attendees will work together to arrange a week in the next 
few months, to be held at Enthought in Austin TX, in order to develop a 
work plan to serve as the foundation for collaboration among interested 
companies.  Possible attendees include John Ehresman, Robin Dunn, 
Christian Tismer and any others interested and able to attend.

Several individuals will further investigate the possibility of their 
companies contributing development funds and/or effort.

Enthought will look into any legal issues that need to be addressed.

Several attendees will try to contact other companies identified at the 
meeting, that might be able to participate in drafting and 
implementation of a work plan.  This could include using the recent 
PySide survey on this mailing list to find potential contributors.

A PySide sprint will be held at SciPy 2013 in June.

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