Mu would not be possible without the help and support of many volunteer developers who give up their time to improve Mu. However, it is important to acknowledge the help and work of others who may not be developers, those who make significant contributions or those whose work is essential for Mu. If you find Mu useful, why not thank the following people and organisations? It takes only a minute of your time to tweet your appreciation.
Carrie Anne is the director of education at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. She gave a keynote address to the EuroPython 2015 conference in Bilbao where she set the assembled delegates some homework (once a teacher, always a teacher). She asked that we make a Python editor tailored to the needs of beginner programmers and based on the feedback she had received from the many teachers who had used a Raspberry Pi to teach Python. Many of the design decisions taken when making Mu are directly influenced by Carrie Anne's invaluable work and feedback. Thank you Carrie Anne, we hope Mu gets a good grade as our homework submission. :-)
Dan Pope heard Carrie Anne's keynote address at EuroPython. Both he and I (Nicholas) took up the challenge to create a beginner-friendly editor, and while at the conference started to code up a very simple editor called Puppy. Work stalled until, as a contribution to the BBC's micro:bit project, a native MicroPython editor was needed. The core of Puppy became the first steps to Mu. Thanks Dan for helping to make those first steps.
Dan needs further thanks because he is also the creator and maintainer of Pygame Zero, a Python library that makes it easy for beginner programmers to create games with Pygame. It forms the basis of Mu's Pygame Zero mode.
Damien created and is the maintainer of the amaazing MicroPython project, a version of the Python programming langauge for microcontroller based devices. Damien was instrumental in the success of MicroPython on the BBC micro:bit device and Adafruit's CircuitPython is based upon MicroPython.
Mu was originally created as an editor for MicroPython on the BBC micro:bit and Damien contributed code to that made the REPL on an attached device available via Mu.
Thanks Damien for your extraordinary work on MicroPython and your help with the early versions of Mu's REPL.
Carlos has made significant contributions to Mu in several ways. First, he created and has maintained the automation involved in making versions of Mu available for download. Second, he has been invaluable in "housekeeping" efforts involved in the project: triaging bugs, closing outstanding issues, reviewing code and generally making the Mu development community a positive and friendly place. Finally, he has contributed huge numbers of bug fixes, features and re-factored code to Mu and the projects upon which it depends. Thank you Carlos for running with those tasks that are often overlooked or left unacknowledged. Mu wouldn't be the friendly project it is, without all your help.
Zander, like Top Gear's the Stig, is a bit of a mystery. Nobody has ever met him in real life, and all interactions with Zander are via copious GitHub comments, pull requests and bug fixes. Some say he's an alien being from another dimension, others claim him to be a rogue artificial intellegince running rampant in random Git repositories, yet more people whisper in hushed tones that he's merely a pseudonym for Bill Gates, coming out of retirement to contribute to free software projects. All I can say is that I'm thankful for his considerable conributions to Mu's code base, eagle-eyed code reviews and seemingly limitless Pythonic knowledge.
Tim is one of those rare legendary beasts of the coding world: a tame Python core developer. He specialises in Python on Windows and he has brought this invaluable knowledge to the development of Mu on many occasions. Since Mu is developed mainly on Linux, if Mu works well on Windows, it's probably because of Tim's intervention. Tim also makes considerable contributions to Python in education in the UK by helping to run workshops for kids and taking an active part in engaging with teaching colleagues. Again, Tim's considerable experience and knowledge resulting from such work is regularly brought to the development of Mu. Thank you Tim for all your hard work.
Ann is an exceptionally talented "User eXperience" (UX) researcher. Her passion for collaboratively putting users at the centre of an evidence based development process is both inspiring and the antidote to the naive "just build this list of features" approach to software project management.
Ann's connection with Mu is advisorial in nature. She supported, advised and provided pointers at a crucial time in Mu's development. If the user interface feels simple and easy to use it's because Ann pointed the way to the approach to take for arriving at the interface. Another, more concrete example of Ann's contribution can be found in her written Q&A responses that frame Mu's developer documentation about UX. Thank you Ann for your help, support and humour. Thank you for ensuring beginner programmers remain at the centre of Mu's development. Thank you for your wisdom and professionalism.
Steve is a legend in the UK's Python community. Not only is he a coder who runs an amazing digital agency that specialises in working with the not-for-profit sector, but he's an exceptionally talented designer. The Mu logo (Pynelope the Python), aspects of Mu's user interface (the big round buttons) and the Pirate flag used on our 404 page are all his creations. Steve is especially generous with his time when creating such resources for use and re-use by the wider Python community. Thank you Steve for your contributions to Mu and thank you for your tireless work to make the Python community look good on print, screen and other media.
Ben is a developer at the BBC where he tests their digital on-demand platform, iPlayer. He has a great talent and passion for making software more accessible, especially for those with vision impairment or loss. He also spends a large part of his free time organising and running events to help kids learn to code. Ben has ensured that the text widget used by Mu (QScintilla) has all the features needed to make it integrate with a computer's accessibility features (for example, a screen reader). Learning to code should be accessible for everybody, no matter the physical challenges they may face. Thank you Ben for your inspiring work, determination and patience when it comes to making our software available to all.
Thomas should be thanked for two aspects of Mu. The REPL in Python3 mode is based on his qconsole widget that makes it easy to integrate the amazing Jupyter Project into Qt based apps like Mu. It was ridiculously easy to integrate into Mu and the powerful features it brings (reproducible computational narratives, embedded plots, automatic help, and other iPython related goodies) is a taste of things to come when students graduate to "proper" Jupyter notebooks. Thomas's other contribution is the Windows based installer built with his super-cool Pynsist tool for creating Windows installers for Python applications. I found a couple of bugs and had a few requests, and Thomas was very gracious to accept my suggested changes. The result is the super easy installer we have for Windows. Thank you Thomas! You rock!
René is the maintainer of the insanely wonderful Pygame library for programming games with Python. He does an amazing job, as a volunteer, packaging, testing, fixing and generally keeping the development moving forward on what is an extraordinarily powerful and non-trivial project. Pygame is, of course, what sits behind Dan's Pygame Zero and this relationship encapsulates the Mu philosophy: you start with a simple tool (like Mu or Pygame Zero) which forms a bridge to "real" Python programming (be that a professional code editor or the Pygame library). It is only by sitting on the shoulders of giants like René that we can build such beginner friendly tools. Finally, René's sense of playful fun, celebration of off the wall excentricity and general merry mischief contributes to making Python such a wonderful community. Keep it up René, and thank you!
Kushal is, quite simply, an inspiring figure in the Python community. His passion for facilitating education and learning is infectious and breathtaking: boundless enthusiasm and effort result in extraordinarily successful online and offline workshops for beginner programmers in his native India and beyond. So I was especially proud that Kushal found some of his precious time to help package Mu for Fedora based Linux distributions. In this respect he was a path-finder since it was the first time Mu had been properly packaged. Kushal has also provided lots of moral support during the development of Mu, and I hope he finds a way to help me with a Hindi translation. Thank you Kushal!
I first met Martin at PyCon UK where he single handedly presented a tutorial about Python and Minecraft to a room full of enraptured young coders. To say that Martin has a gift for teaching is an understatement. His work and enthusiasm for empowering young people in the digital realm is inspiring and a joy to behold. Martin's contributions to Mu relate to his patient, comprehensive and incredibly useful testing of Mu on the various target platforms. He has also been a sympathetic and pro-active bridge between Mu development and the Raspberry Pi education team. His willingness to facilitate invaluable and crucial meetings between developers and educators was a fundamental aspect of Mu's improvement in the later stages of its development. Thank you Martin, especially for your patience with all those bugs! :-)
The Raspberry Pi is perhaps the most successful computing-in-education project in history. With over 20 million units shipped and a plethora of online content for beginner programmers, this plucky small computer is transforming computing education from an uninspiring exploration of office and productivity software into an exercise in digital empowerment.
I felt very honoured when Carrie Anne got in touch to say that the Raspberry Pi Foundation were interested in supporting my work on Mu. The result has been a significant re-write and the addition of plenty of cool new features based upon the feedback of friends in the Raspberry Pi Foundation's education team and direct observation of beginner coders at several of Raspberry Pi's many Code Clubs here in the UK. Most importantly, Raspberry Pi should be congratulated and celebrated for putting their money where their mouth is: by supporting free software developers like myself, they are supporting the ecosystem and work of those upon whom they depend. Thank you for your support! I hope Mu helps you with your mission to change the world of computing education for the better.
Adafruit, the brainchild of Limor "ladyada" Fried, makes the coolest, most playful and fun boards on the planet. Importantly, they are hugely influential in the open source hardware community and support efforts in this domain (for example, they actively develop and support CircuitPython, a version of MicroPython customized for their boards). The free and beautifully designed Adafruit Learning System is a veritable box of delights for beginner programmers.
With respect to Mu, Adafruit have contributed code, bug fixes and suggestions for new features. Also, if you use the plotter, you're using code that originated with Adafruit. Thank you for your inspiring work, contributions to Mu and for making CircuitPython such fun to use on such a wide variety of devices.
BeeWare is an amazing open source project that makes it possible to create Python applications with rich graphical user interfaces that run on many different platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS, Linux, Web, and tvOS).
BeeWare is connected with Mu in a couple of ways. The visual debugger in Mu is inspired by and takes a similar approach to the BeeWare debugger called BugJar. When packaging Mu for Mac OSX we use BeeWare's amazing Briefcase project. You cannot underestimate how hard it is to package Python applications on Mac OSX, and without the initial help of BeeWare's founder, Russell Keith-Magee and subsequent use of Briefcase we'd still be scratching our heads and wondering how to make Mu easily installable on Mac OSX.
The BBC micro:bit is why Mu exists: Mu was created in response to feedback from teachers who found the limitations of a browser based editor problematic. It was created under the auspices of the Python Software Foundation as a volunteer led contribution to the project.
While Mu has never had any formal recognition by the Micro:bit project, the associated educational foundation funded work on updating the way Mu flashes MicroPython onto the device. The new method of flashing is almost instantaneous (to the extent that we had bug reports saying it didn't work, when in fact it worked so quickly folks missed it!).
Thank you to the Micro:bit Educational Foundation for their support and for being the original inspiration that led to Mu!