Why I am Renaming Testosterone
Seven years ago I released an open source project called testosterone, "the manly testing interface for Python." It was epic: a test runner implemented with curses, like Norton Commander for unittest. I wrote my own scrollbars. I proxied pdb in subprocesses. The docs were in Python's old LaTeX doc system. I also wrote a man page for it. Jeremy Hylton interrupted my lightening talk at PyCon 2006 to tell me that the Van Halen soundtrack was disrupting the session next door. Fun times.
Fast forward to 2012. I haven't touched testosterone for years, but I still reminisce about it with friends at PyCon. For one reason and another I decided to try installing it last night, and with a tweak or two I got it to load in Mac OS. Yay! So I cut a new release, the first one in six years. Here's the conversation that followed, on Twitter, with my friend Barbie (@velociraptors):
ME: Did I just release a new version of testosterone? Why yes, yes I did. <link> BARBIE: what, exactly, makes it manly? ME: It uses curses. I admit the manliness thing is a bit dated. Considering renaming it testrogen. BARBIE: using curses makes it manly? I'm not sure I see the connection. I vote in favor of testrogen. ME: Well, I felt pretty manly writing my own scrollbars. This is how it made me feel: <van halen> BARBIE: using the terminal has not helped me grow a beard, so it's clearly not very manly ME (clearly not #winning): Check mate. Good game.
First thing the next morning:
ME: Sorry for the sexism. BARBIE: recognizing the problem is the first step
I'm not going to pretend that testosterone wasn't fun, or that sexist jokes are an absolute evil. But the truth is that I really do want to encourage women in tech, and a project like testosterone does not do that. I remember being surprised to see a woman at PyCon 2011. I don't have the data, but anecdotally I'm telling you there were LOTS more women at PyCon 2012. Let's do more of that!
I've decided not to rename the project testrogen, however. Instead, I'm calling it assertEquals. I'm keeping the old pages around with a banner pointing to the new site, and if anyone is interested in an epic testing interface for Python, I encourage you to check it out:
Keep hacking, ladies!
And Barbie, thank you for calling me out.