ActivePython 2.0 Release
paulp at ActiveState.com
Sat Oct 21 00:07:09 CEST 2000
Before I start to describe the benefits of the ActivePython 2.0
installation for windows, I'd like to make the point that as far as I
know, ActiveState is the first source for Python 2.0 binaries for
and Debian Linux (in addition to the more mainstream Windows and RPM
installations). Quality assured cross-platform distributions are a big
part of our mission. So looking only at the Windows installer does not
give the whole picture.
Q. How does ActivePython benefit the Windows user?
We strove to make ActivePython the easiest way to
get started with Python 2.0. It is certainly possible to download most
parts of the ActivePython product from various sites:
* Python 2.0 core
* PythonWin environment
* Win32 APIs
* Indexed HTMLHelp versions of Python documentation
If you are a Python expert and you know what you want and where to get
it, then ActivePython may not be of interest to you. On the other hand,
when you wish to distribute a program with dependencies on these various
packages you may want to point your customers at ActiveState's
distribution rather than at various download sites.
In addition to the major advantages of multi-platform support and ease
installation, ActivePython is expected to be the first of many
Python-world products. We look forward to being able to point our
customers at a family of quality assured, cross-platform distributions
rather than multiple parts for multiple operating systems. Also, we are
not bound by anyone else's release schedule so we can release newer
versions on an accelerated schedule when we feel that will benefit our
Q. Why use the Microsoft Installer (MSI)?
My opinion is that an operating system should come with a standard
installation engine rather than having it bundled in each executable
distribution. This allows much safer and cleaner uninstallation and
dependency tracking because the operating system knows everything that
is going on. In my personal opinion, Microsoft, Red Hat, Debian etc.
have finally gotten this right. It is unfortunate that older versions of
Windows do not come with MSI. Even if we had Guido's time machine I
don't think we could correct that situation. I've railed against the
Windows installer situation for about a decade and it didn't have any
effect the first time!
Q. How does ActivePython differ from PythonLabs in terms of
We have one minor bug fix and miscellaneous changes to the build system
and documentation to reflect our alternate documentation delivery
The primary reason that there are so few differences is because
ActiveState contributes our improvements to the Python core to the
development team. That ensures that we remain standard and everybody
benefits from our work.
Q. What's in the package?
ActivePython ships with TKinter and IDLE but not TK. This keeps our file
size down. IDLE is not in the start menu because it depends on TKinter
anyway it would be somewhat confusing for us to suggest two development
environments for the same product.
We are certainly interested in feedback on our choice of extensions to
include and exclude. This is especially true of the GUI world where
there are many different libraries competing for support.
ActivePython-Feedback at activestate.com is the best place to voice these
opinions because it is connected to our bug and feature request tracking
Q. Why doesn't the license allow redistribution?
ActiveState's license does not allow redistribution without contacting
us. Anyone who has created, tested and supported multiple platform
installations knows that this is a large effort and ActiveState depends
upon the publicity that accrues from having people download from our
site. This also helps us to quickly take obsolete versions (especially
betas) out of circulation and to ensure that our customers have the code
we expect them to have.
Q. What does ActivePython contribute to the Python world?
Guido has stated on various occasions that he hoped that multiple Python
distributions would arise and thrive. Out of the box, ActivePython is an
excellent platform for developing Windows, Linux or Solaris
applications. Those who are new to Python world and want to get up and
running, with lets say COM or MFC programming quickly and easily now
have a choice that gets them there. Choice is good.
Also, not every ActiveState product will be groundbreaking and
revolutionary. Some are incremental improvements. Nevertheless, we have
announced many products that will take Python places it has never been
before and ActivePython is a part of that strategy.
ActiveState Tool Corp.
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