[Image-SIG] Adding Python 3 support

Alex Clark aclark at aclark.net
Wed Oct 10 03:17:39 CEST 2012

On 2012-10-09 20:26:37 +0000, Brian Crowell said:

> On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 3:11 PM, Mark Sienkiewicz <sienkiew at stsci.edu> wrote:
>> From what I read of Pillow, they aren't really interested in maintaining a
>> copy of PIL.  Do you mean to fork Pillow, or try to persuade them to let you
>> help maintain it?
> I want to contribute code that would make Pillow Python 3-capable so
> that Debian/Ubuntu might pick it up, and Python 3 developers would
> finally have their PIL back. I gathered from the notes that Pillow was
> a continuation of PIL as a fork, and since it's active, I expect it
> will be more attractive to the distros than a straight port of PIL
> 1.1.7.
> I hoped to hear from Alex Clark. He looks like the main contributor.

And I just happened to be wandering by, sorry. You can always email me 
directly: aclark at aclark.net. I drift in and out of this list (via 
GMANE). Great to hear folks discussing this!

My take:

- I recently spoken with Felix Schwarz who works on Fedora. He was 
asking about the status of PIL, and I recommend (after some careful 
thought) that Pillow be adopted by Fedora. So, with what I just read 
about Debian in this thread, I think that means we have two Linux 
distros ready to include Pillow?

- For a while Pillow did nothing but packaging-related fixes. Then I 
began to consider "tracking PIL" which means that we'll release an 
image code fix if it's tracked upstream (either by ticket or commit).

- Then I began to consider Python 3 support.

At this point, I'm in favor adding Python 3 support to Pillow using the 
"best of" of all the recent attempts. I don't plan to do the work 
myself, but I'll gladly help anyone that wants to tackle it. As for 
what to do about supporting old Python versions: nothing. Pillow has a 
nice series of releases on PyPI for anyone that needs to support older 
Python versions[1], so whatever old versions of Python 3 need to be 
dropped to make this work is fine with me. I'd say supporting Python 
2.7 and 3.3 feels right. Maybe we'll call the Python 3 compatible 
version of Pillow "Pillow 2.0".

Lastly, I've roughly targetted PyCon 2013 as the date to have Python 3 
support added to Pillow. I'm not sure if this is overly-ambitious or 


[1] We could even backport fixes to the 1.x series of Pillow, given 
enough volunteers.

> --Brian
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Alex Clark · https://www.gittip.com/aclark4life/
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