Terry Reedy writes:
As to point 2, the source has been altered a bit (by others) but it is not marked as such. How should it be?
I would suggest adding
""" Based on turtle 1.1b for Python 3.1 (4.5.2009) by Gregor Lingl. This is a revised version including changes from the Python community. Change history is available from the Python repository:
<URL: ...>. """
Including the URL is questionable as updates are likely to be overlooked if the repo should ever move. Including the first sentence is a matter of taste.
''' _ver = "turtle 1.1b- - for Python 3.1 - 4. 5. 2009" ''' Obsolete; delete or alter (how)?
Delete definition and references, or replace with more generic wording, I think. E.g., '_ver = "turtle for Python 3"'. It's a pain to maintain as is. It's not information for determining copyright, so is covered by Gregor's permissive license.
When this replaced the previous turtle.py, it was considered 'owned' by Gregor in that changes had to go through him. However, he became inactive soon after and maintenance ceased. There has been only one turtle-specific code change that I know of (by Ned Daily, a month ago, for OSX. So is turtle.py unpatchable by anyone or fair game for anyone?
Legally, it's fair game. Socially, it's a matter of project policy.
AFAICT Python policy is that someone should ask Gregor (a precedent is the Fredrik Lundh/ElementTree case). AIUI, there's been a five-year span since Gregor's been active, so I would think it's basically a matter of courtesy. Most likely he's not interested in returning as maintainer, or he can't be contacted with reasonable effort. Then it's open to anyone.
If he's interested in maintaining control but obstructive toward third party contributions, that's messy but in the end the PSF, or its delegates, as owners of the repo have legal control, and social legitimacy to exercise it as seems best for the project. If the PSF does "go over Gregor's head" to open up the file in trunk for modifications, the wording above might want to change to "This fork includes changes from ...".
An alternative would be to fork into a new module with a different name. That can be done at any time, with the only downsides being redundancy and potential bad will between Python and Gregor Lingl.
B. Lets assuming that turtle.py is, at least to some degree, fair game for fixes and enhancements. PSF Python PyLadies (Jessica Keller, Lynn Root) are participating in the 2014 GNOME Outreach Program for Women (OPW) https://wiki.python.org/moin/OPW/2014 . One of the projects (bottem of that page) is Graphical Python, in particular Turtle.
I don't think there is any issue at all here. Legally there's no barrier at all to working on Turtle or pushing changes anywhere. Socially, there's no barrier to anything but pushing to release branches (including trunk). To the extent that OPW (GSoC, etc) requires integration with the parent project, they can push to a hg.python.org branch pending clarification of the maintainership issue.
Best of all, you've identified volunteers for searching for Gregor!<wink/>