edit: I have changed the blog title, which was not correct in English, thanks Maik ;)
First of all here's a little background about Pycon FR.
Afpy (Association Francophone Python) is a french Python user group created four years ago. The group counts around 100 members and is the only one of this size in french-speaking countries as far as we know. It has members from France, Belgium, Canada and North Africa countries.
Many meetings are organized throughout the year, mainly in Paris, and sometimes in Charleroi in Belgium.
An important event took place at the "Cité des sciences" in Paris last summer, called "Journées Python" We had around 80 attendees and a rich program was given during two days. Topics where presented by french speaking people from France and Belgium, and we had talks about AI, Django, Zope, TuxDroid, etc
Some videos are available on the web, you can probably reach them from here: http://video.google.fr/videosearch?q=journees.afpy.org
The conference was 100% free for attendees. We also decided to chose carefully the dates so the conference would not compete with other events like Europython.
This event was a *true* success.
This event is now called Pycon FR, to be in the same line of what happens in some other countries. This makes a lot of sense indeed, to have national Python events, with standardized names.
Pycon FR attendees are mainly people that speaks english but for some of them not enough to easily follow English talks. Most of those people would not make it to Europython because of this language barrier, and a national conference held in Paris is something that was quite missing at this time, for them.
So PyCon FR is just a sign of the growing interest about Python, and should be seen as a 100% positive and constructive thing, believe me.
Together with Europython and Pycon US, the "local" PyCons are in my opinion, a very good thing to spread the good word. We will, like last year, promote Europython there. Maybe we could even do a survey this year to know exactly who goes to Europython, etc.
Pycon FR expansion plans
When I said in my last blog entry that we were working on making it
less french-centric, and having international attendees, I should have
explained it better to make sure no one thinks Pycon FR might be a bad
thing for Europython.
- If we do invite international speakers, it will be done only if we are able to provide a live translation system. - The event date will always be picked carefully, as usual, so it does not compete with Europython.
Europython and local PyCons expansion
Here's my opinion about what Europython strategy could be: since it is an international english-speaking event that gathers a lot of people. It could be the seed to set up a local Pycon event in places where it does not exist yet, using the momentum of the event.
This could be done by working with the local user group this way, by organizing maybe two years in a row Europython there. So, maybe we could see "Pycon Lithunia" next year ? Then move EuroPython to Amsterdam and see "Pycon The Netherlands" in two years ?
Europython exists to promote the language at an international level, so that could be a good way to spread imho.
But please, pretty please, don't see local Pycons as Europython competitors, this is not true, this happens just because Python is growing.
Everyone should be happy about that I think. I disagree with the fact that each conference might fight to have the "best international speakers" for a very simple reason: the number of speakers is growing too, and I don't think either Pycon either EuroPython will ever miss of interesting talks.
The next smart move I think is to organize and synchronize all these events, and that is where the Python Software Foundation has a role to play in my opinion. They have started anyway, and I am really confident about what will happen next.