PyDev of the Week: Paul Sokolovsky | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Paul Sokolovsky | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Paul Sokolovsky as our PyDev of the Week! Paul is the creator of Pycopy, which is described as “a minimalist and memory-efficient Python implementation for constrained systems, microcontrollers, and just everything”. You can check out more of his contributions to open source on Github. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Paul better!

Paul Sokolovsky

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

I have Computer Science as my first masters, and later got another masters in Linguistics – when I was a CS student I was interested in Natural Language Processing subfield of AI, and wanted to get a formal degree to work in that areas, perhaps in academia, but that never panned out, I got sucked up into the IT industry, a common story ;-).

Hobbies – well, nothing special, I like to travel, and even if a plane carries me far away, I like to get on my feet and explore like humans did it for millennia. Though if there’s a motorbike for rent, I like to ride it to a more distant mountain before climbing it. My latest interest is history. Like, everyone took history lessons in school and might have their “favorite” history of a particular country at particular timeframe, but trying to grasp history of mankind across the mentioned millennia is a different matter.

Why did you start using Python?

Oh, as many students, at that age I drooled over Lisp and Scheme programming languages. I did a few projects in them, and while they were definitely great and I could grok them, it occurred to me that I wasn’t not sure about the rest of world. Programming is inherently social activity. And besides the power of those languages, their drawbacks were also evident, and while I was able to surmount them, other people might be not just unable, but even unwilling to do that.

So, I started my quest of the best-in-compromise programming languages, sifting thru dozens of both mainstream and obscure languages of that time. I stopped when I found Python. I think of it as “Lisp for real world”. Those were the times of Python 1.5.1…

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

Based on the above, it shouldn’t come as surprise that Python is my favorite languages. I know a bunch of scripting languages – Perl, PHP, Java, JavaScript, Lisp, Scheme, and more “systemish” ones like C and C++. I definitely watch the space and keep an eye on Go, Rust which approaching upstream and niche contenders like Nim, Zig, whatever. I don’t rush into using them – again, I passed that stage of language-hopping when I was a student.

Thanks for doing the interview, Paul!

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