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Contributing to CPython by @gvanrossum #Python #OpenSource #Community

Python creator Guido van Rossum posts about a PyCascades 2020 paper on getting started contributing to CPython (the main Python development effort).


  • You have to know C. (You don’t! Most of the stdlib is in Python, and we need doc help too.)
  • You have to know Git and GitHub. (Not entirely true — It’s easy enough to get started, though there are a fair number git concept you have to wrap your head around.)
  • You have to have 10+ years of Python experience. (False. You can totally begin contributing with just a few years of experience writing Python, as long as you did more than numpy and pandas.)


  • You will be doing much work on the command line(in a shell window).
    • That means typing UNIX or Windows shell commands. Much of the docs below assumes fluency at this level. It feels different than typing code because there’s no IDE with suggestions for what to type next.
  • Lots of tutorials and instruction sets are incomplete or out of date or need modifications for some platforms; don’t despair, ask for help!
  • Building instructions are quite different depending on your platform (Mac, Windows or Linux); my bias is Mac. Windows is more different than the others, because its shell syntax and commands are different (dir instead of ls, etc.).
  • If you can, pair with someone else — this is fun, and you will make more progress through the initial bewildering phase quicker, to get to the stuff that feels valuable.

See this wonderful resource here.

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