Thanks for sharing that video, Donald.

In context, I don't think it's fair to characterize the speaker's perspective as dangerous, or of categorically favoring current users over potential new users. Obviously there are a lot of tradeoffs around backward compatibility, and no one-sized-fits-all solutions.

One of the most powerful points Brian made is that the large user base of Java (or Python, etc) is an immensely powerful source of leverage. Each incremental improvement to the language, standard library, or associated tools will almost immediately impact a lot of users and improve their lives. It's kind of an obvious point, but I think he expressed it very well.

On that note, I lurk on this list regularly, but generally don't really contribute. I do see the awesome work that ya'll are putting in on a day to day basis, and I see the results in the wild. Thanks to all of your hard work, the packaging situation has vastly improved, and continues to do so, especially with pip and wheels. All your hard work has definitely made my life better, for one.


On Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 3:12 PM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan@gmail.com> wrote:
On 31 October 2015 at 14:15, Wayne Werner <waynejwerner@gmail.com> wrote:
> First, do no harm, eh?

I haven't had time to watch it yet so I don't have the full context of
the observation, but that's only true if current users are considered
categorically more important than future users. That's a dangerous
line of thinking, as it means the cognitive burden of learning a
language and ecosystem can only ever grow, and never shrink (since
superseded concepts are never pruned from the set of things you need
to learn, and you're also never really able to fix design mistakes
resulting from limited perspectives in early iterations).

Large scale migration projects like the shift away from implementation
defined behaviour in the Python packaging ecosystem are cases where
reducing barriers to entry for *new* users has edged out compatibility
for existing users as a priority - the latter is still important, it's
just acceptable for the level of compatibility to be less than 100%.


P.S. From a medical perspective, there are certainly cases were
doctors *do* inflict a lesser harm (e.g. amputations) to avoid a
greater harm (e.g. death). "We saved the limb, but lost the patient"
isn't one of the available options.
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