[I18n-sig] Re: [Python-Dev] Unicode Maintenance

Guido van Rossum guido@digicool.com
Wed, 27 Jun 2001 12:11:49 -0400

> Looking at the recent burst of checkins for the Unicode implementation
> completely bypassing the standard SF procedure and possible comments
> I might have on the different approaches, I guess I've been ruled out
> as maintainer and designer of the Unicode implementation.
> Well, I guess that's how things go. Was nice working for you guys,
> but no longer is... I'm tired of having to defend myself against
> meta-comments about the design, uncontrolled checkins and no true
> backup about my standing in all this from Guido. 
> Perhaps I am misunderstanding the role of a maintainer and 
> implementation designer, but as it is all respect for the work I've 
> put into all this seems faded. That's the conclusion I draw from recent
> postings by Martin and Fredrik and their nightly "takeover".
> Thanks,
> -- 
> Marc-Andre Lemburg

[For those of us to whom Marc-Andre's complaint comes as a total
surprise: there was a thread on i18n-sig about whether we should
support Unicode surrogates, followed by a conclusion to skip
surrogates and jump directly to optional support for UCS-4, followed
by some checkins that enabled a configuration choice between UCS-2 and
UCS-4, and code to make it work.  As a side effect, surrogate support
in the UCS-2 version actually improved slightly.]

Now, now, Marc-Andre.

The only comments I recall from you on my "surrogates: just say no"
post seemed favorable, except that you proposed to to all the way and
make UCS-4 mandatory.  I explained why I didn't want to go that far,
and why I didn't believe your arguments against giving users a choice.
I didn't hear back from you then, and I didn't think you could have
much of a problem with my position.

Our process requires the use of the SF patch manager only for
controversial changes.  Based on your feedback, I didn't think there
was anything controversial about the changes that Fredrik and Martin
have made!  (If there was, IMO it was temporarily breaking the Windows
build and the test suite -- but that's all fixed now.)

I don't understand where you get the idea that we lost respect for
your work!  In fact, the fact that it was so easy to make the changes
suggested to me that the original design was well suited to this
particular change (as opposed to the surrugate support proposals,
which all sounded like they would require a *lot* of changes).

I don't think that we have very strict roles in this community anyway.
(My role as BDFL excluded -- that's why I get to write this
response. :-)  I'd say that Fredrik owns SRE, because he has asserted
that ownership at various times: he's undone changes by others that
broke the 1.5.2 support, for example.

But the Unicode support in Python isn't owned by one person: many
folks have contributed to that, including Fredrik, who designed and
wrote the original Unicode string object implementation.

If you have specific comments about the changes made, please be
specific.  If you feel slighted by meta-comments, please also be
specific.  I don't think I've said anything derogatory about you or
your design.

Paul Prescod offered to write a PEP on this issue.  My cynical half
believes that we'll never hear from him again, but my optimistic half
hopes that he'll actually write one, so that we'll be able to discuss
the various issues for the users with the users.  I encourage you to
co-author the PEP, since you have a lot of background knowledge about
the issues.

BTW, I think that Misc/unicode.txt should be converted to a PEP, for
the historic record.  It was very much a PEP before the PEP process
was invented.  Barry, how much work would this be?  No editing needed,
just formatting, and assignment of a PEP number (the lower the better).

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)