paul at boddie.net
Wed Aug 15 17:30:13 CEST 2001
"Tim Peters" <tim.one at home.com> wrote in message news:<mailman.997852703.12051.python-list at python.org>...
> [Paul Boddie]
> > I can understand Arthur's confusion, though. If you look at the
> > original posting concerning the patch, it does seem as if VPython was
> > a strong motivation:
> You think this is the first time the subject has been raised? Relentless
> confusion isn't so easy to explain.
I'm aware that this is by no means the first time the subject has been
raised, but it is the first time that anyone has attempted seriously
to change the semantics of division in future Python releases. And
VPython was mentioned prominently in an announcement which signalled
intent that near-future releases would be affected. Personally, I was
surprised by the subject recurring in such a way, given that the
division situation has been acknowledged but left intentionally
unaddressed for years.
Those closer to the decision-making processes at the heart of Python
development might be well aware of the real motivations, but many of
us either aren't that privileged, or don't spend all our time
following the many different lists. When an announcement finally comes
out, you're going to see a reaction from a relatively uninformed
audience - I daren't think what kind of reaction is still pending from
people who don't even read the mainstream Python lists so frequently
and who will just be "dropping by" in a few months to catch up on
Python's status when they finally get to hear about this.
> I acknowledged no more than two days ago that Alice was the first project to
> "make a big stink" out of division semantics. That was never in dispute,
> but it's old news now and no longer of interest to the future of PEP 238.
Of course it isn't interesting if you consider future plans which
leave the status of PEP 238 in no doubt. But I don't think that such
plans form the basis of this discussion. You acknowledge this below,
but there are other issues too.
> > Indeed, the motivations are more interesting to some people than the
> > actual changes themselves, because they are part of a decision-making
> > process which is interesting and instructive to observe.
> Even if you're an historian (and so have an *excuse* to demand that the
> world sate your idle curiosity <wink>), you'll learn much more about that by
> taking an active role in a current discussion than by excavating Usenet for
> the bones of old ones. Even better, write a PEP and get a first-hand view
> of what life is like from the other side.
Having followed and participated in a number of recent discussions on
this subject, I don't agree. With some contributors claiming
familiarity with the PEP whilst admitting virtual ignorance of
VPython, I don't wonder that certain other contributors (especially
those who are familiar with VPython) are baffled by recent events. I
think that several contributors might be wondering how one set of
"interested parties" *seem* to be able to influence the development of
the language in a direction which threatens them (along with their
investment) as another set of "interested parties".
Deep down, there are issues which lie dormant for now which are
arguably not being addressed, or were avoided in the recent debates.
Such issues, such as commercial influences on Python's development
haven't been seen as particularly controversial in the past - the
introduction of Unicode came about without much complaint (I didn't
even know the commercial aspect of this until recently) - but
contributors who have clearly focused their business on Python have
expressed dissatisfaction with recent events. They might be wondering
where their views fit in on the development team's scale of
importance, or whether there is such a scale of importance, or even
whether it was right to base any kind of business on Python at all.
It appears to me that the issues raised in this discussion are highly
relevant to many open source software development communities. Indeed,
given various prominent failures to "commercialise open source", I
would say that they are very pertinent indeed.
There's no way I'd be mad or desperate enough to write a PEP, though.
Perhaps I'm not doing anything "cutting edge" enough to demand lots of
new language features, but I'd rather concentrate on packages and
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