Project History

Start of PySNMP

Python was first released by Guido van Rossum in 1991 to the public [1]. Soon, it became a popular language used by both programmers and IT administrators, and more and more features were added via packages. SNMP has been widely used in networking field, so no doubt the need of a Python SNMP package was real but there wasn’t a dominant package. Python guru Anthony Baxter once wrote the SNMPY package [2] as a thin wrapper over UCD-SNMP (later became NET-SNMP), when he needs to “manage some small ethernet switches” [3]. SNMPY stopped in Mar 2001, after its Alpha 4 release. Projects similar to SNMPY remain, such as Easy SNMP.

However, due to the fact that SNMPY tightly binds to native (C based) binaries, Python developers found it unpleasant in many cases (such as non-blocking I/O), and Ilya Etingof developed his own SNMP module and later announced on Python mailing list [4] on Oct 13, 1999, which was named Python SNMP module (and PySNMP for short).

Releases by Ilya

When initially announced, PySNMP was just “a simple (and incomplete) SNMP V1 manager class”. But in just a few months with assistance from the Python community it received a lot of improvements and sponsorship by a PSF grant. The first noticeable rewrite was done in 1.4.1, and since 1.5.1 this Python officially became a Python package (so the project full name changed to Python SNMP library).

Release 2.0.1 was the second rewrite to achieve a more object oriented API. It also added SNMP v2c support. Release 3.0.0 was another major rewrite which “aimed at a more accurate, standards compliant and extensible ASN.1 and SNMP protocol objects implementation.”

All the changes before 4.x releases were documented in the CHANGES file which can be found in 3.x TARs on SourceForge [5].

Full SNMP v3 support first arrived in the stable release of 4.2.1 after a 7-year adventure. PySMI integration was released in 4.3.0 [6].

The repos were migrated to GitHub in 2016 [7].

Forks in Transition

Ilya suddenly became silent in 2020 and disappeared from GitHub [8], so a few forks of his repos started to emerge. The lost of snmplabs.com domain was a sign and indicated the possible falling-apart of the ecosystem.

Since Splunk has certain features that depend on PySNMP, the Splunk team forked a few Ilya’s repos (mostly around pysnmp) and attempted to maintain them.

The previous sponsor of Ilya, inexio GmbH, owns a few forks around snmpsim for its own products.

But you might tell, none of the attempts were focusing on take over the entire ecosystem, and the forks were mostly for their own interests.

Ilya passed away in Aug 2022, and some of Ilya’s colleagues took over the ASN.1 related Python packages [9] but shipped two versions for its 0.5 release.

New Chapter with LeXtudio

LeXtudio Inc. announced their own plan to revive the ecosystem on GitHub [10] in 2022, and started to invest in the ecosystem.

They were able to continue Splunk team’s work and shipped the initial packages. Throughout the year of 2023, they steadily picked up momentum and delivered more work on improving individual packages.

The new PySNMP release 6.0 in Feb 2024 was a major milestone that removed legacy code around asyncore and also introduced newly designed sync API based on asyncio. Other changes improved unit test coverage as well as SNMP standard compliance.

Footnotes