It has been a while since I posted a copy of PEP 1 to the mailing
lists and newsgroups. I've recently done some updating of a few
sections, so in the interest of gaining wider community participation
in the Python development process, I'm posting the latest revision of
PEP 1 here. A version of the PEP is always available on-line at
-------------------- snip snip --------------------
Title: PEP Purpose and Guidelines
Version: $Revision: 1.36 $
Last-Modified: $Date: 2002/07/29 18:34:59 $
Author: Barry A. Warsaw, Jeremy Hylton
Post-History: 21-Mar-2001, 29-Jul-2002
What is a PEP?
PEP stands for Python Enhancement Proposal. A PEP is a design
document providing information to the Python community, or
describing a new feature for Python. The PEP should provide a
concise technical specification of the feature and a rationale for
We intend PEPs to be the primary mechanisms for proposing new
features, for collecting community input on an issue, and for
documenting the design decisions that have gone into Python. The
PEP author is responsible for building consensus within the
community and documenting dissenting opinions.
Because the PEPs are maintained as plain text files under CVS
control, their revision history is the historical record of the
Kinds of PEPs
There are two kinds of PEPs. A standards track PEP describes a
new feature or implementation for Python. An informational PEP
describes a Python design issue, or provides general guidelines or
information to the Python community, but does not propose a new
feature. Informational PEPs do not necessarily represent a Python
community consensus or recommendation, so users and implementors
are free to ignore informational PEPs or follow their advice.
PEP Work Flow
The PEP editor, Barry Warsaw <peps(a)python.org>, assigns numbers
for each PEP and changes its status.
The PEP process begins with a new idea for Python. It is highly
recommended that a single PEP contain a single key proposal or new
idea. The more focussed the PEP, the more successfully it tends
to be. The PEP editor reserves the right to reject PEP proposals
if they appear too unfocussed or too broad. If in doubt, split
your PEP into several well-focussed ones.
Each PEP must have a champion -- someone who writes the PEP using
the style and format described below, shepherds the discussions in
the appropriate forums, and attempts to build community consensus
around the idea. The PEP champion (a.k.a. Author) should first
attempt to ascertain whether the idea is PEP-able. Small
enhancements or patches often don't need a PEP and can be injected
into the Python development work flow with a patch submission to
the SourceForge patch manager or feature request tracker.
The PEP champion then emails the PEP editor <peps(a)python.org> with
a proposed title and a rough, but fleshed out, draft of the PEP.
This draft must be written in PEP style as described below.
If the PEP editor approves, he will assign the PEP a number, label
it as standards track or informational, give it status 'draft',
and create and check-in the initial draft of the PEP. The PEP
editor will not unreasonably deny a PEP. Reasons for denying PEP
status include duplication of effort, being technically unsound,
not providing proper motivation or addressing backwards
compatibility, or not in keeping with the Python philosophy. The
BDFL (Benevolent Dictator for Life, Guido van Rossum) can be
consulted during the approval phase, and is the final arbitrator
of the draft's PEP-ability.
If a pre-PEP is rejected, the author may elect to take the pre-PEP
to the comp.lang.python newsgroup (a.k.a. python-list(a)python.org
mailing list) to help flesh it out, gain feedback and consensus
from the community at large, and improve the PEP for
The author of the PEP is then responsible for posting the PEP to
the community forums, and marshaling community support for it. As
updates are necessary, the PEP author can check in new versions if
they have CVS commit permissions, or can email new PEP versions to
the PEP editor for committing.
Standards track PEPs consists of two parts, a design document and
a reference implementation. The PEP should be reviewed and
accepted before a reference implementation is begun, unless a
reference implementation will aid people in studying the PEP.
Standards Track PEPs must include an implementation - in the form
of code, patch, or URL to same - before it can be considered
PEP authors are responsible for collecting community feedback on a
PEP before submitting it for review. A PEP that has not been
discussed on python-list(a)python.org and/or python-dev(a)python.org
will not be accepted. However, wherever possible, long open-ended
discussions on public mailing lists should be avoided. Strategies
to keep the discussions efficient include, setting up a separate
SIG mailing list for the topic, having the PEP author accept
private comments in the early design phases, etc. PEP authors
should use their discretion here.
Once the authors have completed a PEP, they must inform the PEP
editor that it is ready for review. PEPs are reviewed by the BDFL
and his chosen consultants, who may accept or reject a PEP or send
it back to the author(s) for revision.
Once a PEP has been accepted, the reference implementation must be
completed. When the reference implementation is complete and
accepted by the BDFL, the status will be changed to `Final.'
A PEP can also be assigned status `Deferred.' The PEP author or
editor can assign the PEP this status when no progress is being
made on the PEP. Once a PEP is deferred, the PEP editor can
re-assign it to draft status.
A PEP can also be `Rejected'. Perhaps after all is said and done
it was not a good idea. It is still important to have a record of
PEPs can also be replaced by a different PEP, rendering the
original obsolete. This is intended for Informational PEPs, where
version 2 of an API can replace version 1.
PEP work flow is as follows:
Draft -> Accepted -> Final -> Replaced
Some informational PEPs may also have a status of `Active' if they
are never meant to be completed. E.g. PEP 1.
What belongs in a successful PEP?
Each PEP should have the following parts:
1. Preamble -- RFC822 style headers containing meta-data about the
PEP, including the PEP number, a short descriptive title
(limited to a maximum of 44 characters), the names, and
optionally the contact info for each author, etc.
2. Abstract -- a short (~200 word) description of the technical
issue being addressed.
3. Copyright/public domain -- Each PEP must either be explicitly
labelled as placed in the public domain (see this PEP as an
example) or licensed under the Open Publication License.
4. Specification -- The technical specification should describe
the syntax and semantics of any new language feature. The
specification should be detailed enough to allow competing,
interoperable implementations for any of the current Python
platforms (CPython, JPython, Python .NET).
5. Motivation -- The motivation is critical for PEPs that want to
change the Python language. It should clearly explain why the
existing language specification is inadequate to address the
problem that the PEP solves. PEP submissions without
sufficient motivation may be rejected outright.
6. Rationale -- The rationale fleshes out the specification by
describing what motivated the design and why particular design
decisions were made. It should describe alternate designs that
were considered and related work, e.g. how the feature is
supported in other languages.
The rationale should provide evidence of consensus within the
community and discuss important objections or concerns raised
7. Backwards Compatibility -- All PEPs that introduce backwards
incompatibilities must include a section describing these
incompatibilities and their severity. The PEP must explain how
the author proposes to deal with these incompatibilities. PEP
submissions without a sufficient backwards compatibility
treatise may be rejected outright.
8. Reference Implementation -- The reference implementation must
be completed before any PEP is given status 'Final,' but it
need not be completed before the PEP is accepted. It is better
to finish the specification and rationale first and reach
consensus on it before writing code.
The final implementation must include test code and
documentation appropriate for either the Python language
reference or the standard library reference.
PEPs are written in plain ASCII text, and should adhere to a
rigid style. There is a Python script that parses this style and
converts the plain text PEP to HTML for viewing on the web.
PEP 9 contains a boilerplate template you can use to get
started writing your PEP.
Each PEP must begin with an RFC822 style header preamble. The
headers must appear in the following order. Headers marked with
`*' are optional and are described below. All other headers are
PEP: <pep number>
Title: <pep title>
Version: <cvs version string>
Last-Modified: <cvs date string>
Author: <list of authors' real names and optionally, email addrs>
* Discussions-To: <email address>
Status: <Draft | Active | Accepted | Deferred | Final | Replaced>
Type: <Informational | Standards Track>
* Requires: <pep numbers>
Created: <date created on, in dd-mmm-yyyy format>
* Python-Version: <version number>
Post-History: <dates of postings to python-list and python-dev>
* Replaces: <pep number>
* Replaced-By: <pep number>
The Author: header lists the names and optionally, the email
addresses of all the authors/owners of the PEP. The format of the
author entry should be
address(a)dom.ain (Random J. User)
if the email address is included, and just
Random J. User
if the address is not given. If there are multiple authors, each
should be on a separate line following RFC 822 continuation line
conventions. Note that personal email addresses in PEPs will be
obscured as a defense against spam harvesters.
Standards track PEPs must have a Python-Version: header which
indicates the version of Python that the feature will be released
with. Informational PEPs do not need a Python-Version: header.
While a PEP is in private discussions (usually during the initial
Draft phase), a Discussions-To: header will indicate the mailing
list or URL where the PEP is being discussed. No Discussions-To:
header is necessary if the PEP is being discussed privately with
the author, or on the python-list or python-dev email mailing
lists. Note that email addresses in the Discussions-To: header
will not be obscured.
Created: records the date that the PEP was assigned a number,
while Post-History: is used to record the dates of when new
versions of the PEP are posted to python-list and/or python-dev.
Both headers should be in dd-mmm-yyyy format, e.g. 14-Aug-2001.
PEPs may have a Requires: header, indicating the PEP numbers that
this PEP depends on.
PEPs may also have a Replaced-By: header indicating that a PEP has
been rendered obsolete by a later document; the value is the
number of the PEP that replaces the current document. The newer
PEP must have a Replaces: header containing the number of the PEP
that it rendered obsolete.
PEP Formatting Requirements
PEP headings must begin in column zero and the initial letter of
each word must be capitalized as in book titles. Acronyms should
be in all capitals. The body of each section must be indented 4
spaces. Code samples inside body sections should be indented a
further 4 spaces, and other indentation can be used as required to
make the text readable. You must use two blank lines between the
last line of a section's body and the next section heading.
You must adhere to the Emacs convention of adding two spaces at
the end of every sentence. You should fill your paragraphs to
column 70, but under no circumstances should your lines extend
past column 79. If your code samples spill over column 79, you
should rewrite them.
Tab characters must never appear in the document at all. A PEP
should include the standard Emacs stanza included by example at
the bottom of this PEP.
A PEP must contain a Copyright section, and it is strongly
recommended to put the PEP in the public domain.
When referencing an external web page in the body of a PEP, you
should include the title of the page in the text, with a
footnote reference to the URL. Do not include the URL in the body
text of the PEP. E.g.
Refer to the Python Language web site  for more details.
When referring to another PEP, include the PEP number in the body
text, such as "PEP 1". The title may optionally appear. Add a
footnote reference that includes the PEP's title and author. It
may optionally include the explicit URL on a separate line, but
only in the References section. Note that the pep2html.py script
will calculate URLs automatically, e.g.:
Refer to PEP 1  for more information about PEP style
 PEP 1, PEP Purpose and Guidelines, Warsaw, Hylton
If you decide to provide an explicit URL for a PEP, please use
this as the URL template:
PEP numbers in URLs must be padded with zeros from the left, so as
to be exactly 4 characters wide, however PEP numbers in text are
Reporting PEP Bugs, or Submitting PEP Updates
How you report a bug, or submit a PEP update depends on several
factors, such as the maturity of the PEP, the preferences of the
PEP author, and the nature of your comments. For the early draft
stages of the PEP, it's probably best to send your comments and
changes directly to the PEP author. For more mature, or finished
PEPs you may want to submit corrections to the SourceForge bug
manager or better yet, the SourceForge patch manager so that
your changes don't get lost. If the PEP author is a SF developer,
assign the bug/patch to him, otherwise assign it to the PEP
When in doubt about where to send your changes, please check first
with the PEP author and/or PEP editor.
PEP authors who are also SF committers, can update the PEPs
themselves by using "cvs commit" to commit their changes.
Remember to also push the formatted PEP text out to the web by
doing the following:
% python pep2html.py -i NUM
where NUM is the number of the PEP you want to push out. See
% python pep2html.py --help
Transferring PEP Ownership
It occasionally becomes necessary to transfer ownership of PEPs to
a new champion. In general, we'd like to retain the original
author as a co-author of the transferred PEP, but that's really up
to the original author. A good reason to transfer ownership is
because the original author no longer has the time or interest in
updating it or following through with the PEP process, or has
fallen off the face of the 'net (i.e. is unreachable or not
responding to email). A bad reason to transfer ownership is
because you don't agree with the direction of the PEP. We try to
build consensus around a PEP, but if that's not possible, you can
always submit a competing PEP.
If you are interested assuming ownership of a PEP, send a message
asking to take over, addressed to both the original author and the
PEP editor <peps(a)python.org>. If the original author doesn't
respond to email in a timely manner, the PEP editor will make a
unilateral decision (it's not like such decisions can be
References and Footnotes
 This historical record is available by the normal CVS commands
for retrieving older revisions. For those without direct access
to the CVS tree, you can browse the current and past PEP revisions
via the SourceForge web site at
 The script referred to here is pep2html.py, which lives in
the same directory in the CVS tree as the PEPs themselves.
Try "pep2html.py --help" for details.
The URL for viewing PEPs on the web is
 PEP 9, Sample PEP Template
This document has been placed in the public domain.
Argument Clinic "converters" specify how to convert an individual
argument to the function you're defining. Although a converter could
theoretically represent any sort of conversion, most of the time they
directly represent types like "int" or "double" or "str".
Because there's such variety in argument parsing, the converters are
customizable with parameters. Many of these are common enough that
Argument Clinic suggests some standard names. Examples: "zeroes=True"
for strings and buffers means "permit internal \0 characters", and
"bitwise=True" for unsigned integers means "copy the bits over, even if
there's overflow/underflow, and even if the original is negative".
A third example is "nullable=True", which means "also accept None for
this parameter". This was originally intended for use with strings
(compare the "s" and "z" format units for PyArg_ParseTuple), however it
looks like we'll have a use for "nullable ints" in the ongoing Argument
Clinic conversion work.
Several people have said they found the name "nullable" surprising,
suggesting I use another name like "allow_none" or "noneable". I, in
turn, find their surprise surprising; "nullable" is a term long
associated with exactly this concept. It's used in C# and SQL, and the
term even has its own Wikipedia page:
Most amusingly, Vala *used* to have an annotation called "(allow-none)",
but they've broken it out into two annotations, "(nullable)" and
Before you say "the term 'nullable' will confuse end users", let me
remind you: this is not user-facing. This is a parameter for an
Argument Clinic converter, and will only ever be seen by CPython core
developers. A group which I hope is not so easily confused.
It's my contention that "nullable" is the correct name. But I've been
asked to bring up the topic for discussion, to see if a consensus forms
around this or around some other name.
Let the bike-shedding begin,
After reading this http://bugs.python.org/issue23085 and remembering
struggling having our own patches into cpython's libffi (but not into
libffi itself), I wonder, is there any reason any more for libffi
being included in CPython?
Here is some proposed wording. Since it is more of a clarification of what
it takes to garner support -- which is just a new section -- rather than a
complete rewrite I'm including just the diff to make it easier to read the
*diff -r 49d18bb47ebc pep-0011.txt*
*--- a/pep-0011.txt Wed May 14 11:18:22 2014 -0400*
*+++ b/pep-0011.txt Fri May 16 13:48:30 2014 -0400*
@@ -2,22 +2,21 @@
Title: Removing support for little used platforms
-Author: martin(a)v.loewis.de (Martin von Löwis)
+Author: Martin von Löwis <martin(a)v.loewis.de>,
+ Brett Cannon <brett(a)python.org>
-This PEP documents operating systems (platforms) which are not
-supported in Python anymore. For some of these systems,
-supporting code might be still part of Python, but will be removed
-in a future release - unless somebody steps forward as a volunteer
-to maintain this code.
+This PEP documents how an operating system (platform) garners
+support in Python as well as documenting past support.
@@ -37,16 +36,53 @@
change to the Python source code will work on all supported
-To reduce this risk, this PEP proposes a procedure to remove code
-for platforms with no Python users.
+To reduce this risk, this PEP specifies what is required for a
+platform to be considered supported by Python as well as providing a
+procedure to remove code for platforms with little or no Python
+Gaining official platform support requires two things. First, a core
+developer needs to volunteer to maintain platform-specific code. This
+core developer can either already be a member of the Python
+development team or be given contributor rights on the basis of
+maintaining platform support (it is at the discretion of the Python
+development team to decide if a person is ready to have such rights
+even if it is just for supporting a specific platform).
+Second, a stable buildbot must be provided _. This guarantees that
+platform support will not be accidentally broken by a Python core
+developer who does not have personal access to the platform. For a
+buildbot to be considered stable it requires that the machine be
+reliably up and functioning (but it is up to the Python core
+developers to decide whether to promote a buildbot to being
+This policy does not disqualify supporting other platforms
+indirectly. Patches which are not platform-specific but still done to
+add platform support will be considered for inclusion. For example,
+if platform-independent changes were necessary in the configure
+script which was motivated to support a specific platform that would
+be accepted. Patches which add platform-specific code such as the
+name of a specific platform to the configure script will generally
+not be accepted without the platform having official support.
+CPU architecture and compiler support are viewed in a similar manner
+as platforms. For example, to consider the ARM architecture supported
+a buildbot running on ARM would be required along with support from
+the Python development team. In general it is not required to have
+a CPU architecture run under every possible platform in order to be
-If a certain platform that currently has special code in it is
-deemed to be without Python users, a note must be posted in this
-PEP that this platform is no longer actively supported. This
+If a certain platform that currently has special code in Python is
+deemed to be without Python users or lacks proper support from the
+Python development team and/or a buildbot, a note must be posted in
+this PEP that this platform is no longer actively supported. This
note must include:
- the name of the system
@@ -69,8 +105,8 @@
forward and offer maintenance.
If a user of a platform wants to see this platform supported
again, he may volunteer to maintain the platform support. Such an
@@ -101,7 +137,7 @@
release is made. Developers of extension modules will generally need
to use the same Visual Studio release; they are concerned both with
the availability of the versions they need to use, and with keeping
-the zoo of versions small. The Python source tree will keep
+the zoo of versions small. The Python source tree will keep
unmaintained build files for older Visual Studio releases, for which
patches will be accepted. Such build files will be removed from the
source tree 3 years after the extended support for the compiler has
@@ -223,6 +259,7 @@
..  http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/
+..  http://buildbot.python.org/3.x.stable/
Related to my earlier question regarding building Python on Android
and an undefined reference to dlopen error...I have the following
question: Is it possible to build and install Python without having
to build and install...or use...distutils?
I can build the python interpreter on my device, and I can build a
bunch of modules. The problem appears when make reaches the part
where setup.py is used to build and import modules...specifically when
setup.py attempts to import distutils.core.
I recently ditched my attempts to port Python 2.7.8 to Android in
favor of Python 3.4.2. Unfortunately, after using the same configure
options in the same environment, and modifying the setup.py as needed,
the newly built binary throws a segfault when the generate-posix-vars
portion of the build is reached...and when it is run as well (i.e.
./python --help, ./python -E -S -m sysconfig, or similar)
I took a strace of ./python, however I'm a bit lost when reviewing it.
Any ideas as to what may be going on...i.e. why Python 2.7 works but
3.x throws a segfault?
Thanks in advance,