Building on the ideals of the Foundation's Community Service Award, the Distinguished Service Award is an offer of recognition for sustained exemplary contributions to the Python community. The Foundation's highest award is given for actions which carry significant impact that shapes the Python world, whether through contributions of code, efforts in community action, or otherwise. As with the Community Service Award, the intention is to demonstrate that such service to the community does lead to recognition and reward, rather than to provide a direct incentive to contributors.
Awards will be made periodically as deserving candidates are identified. Any PSF member is entitled to propose an award at any time, stating the reasons for which the award is merited. Proposals should be made confidentially to the Board by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The minutes of award considerations will not name the individuals concerned unless an award is made. The Board will contact proposers to keep them informed of the status of their proposals (such as when the proposal will receive Board consideration).
Recognition will take the form of an award certificate plus a cash award of $5000 USD.
The 2012 Distinguished Service Award is given posthumously to John Hunter, creator of matplotlib. John began the matplotlib project in 2002 while studying epilepsy seizure data in a postdoctoral program at the University of Chicago. Unhappy with the state of proprietary solutions needed for his studies, John chose Python to build an open solution to his problem.
"Matplotlib is both an amazing technical achievement and a shining example of open source community building, as John not only created its backbone but also fostered the development of a very strong development team, ensuring that the talent of many others could also contribute to this project," said Fernando Perez.
The Python Software Foundation thanks John Hunter for his invaluable contributions to not just the Python community but to the numeric and scientific communities he impacted throughout his time.