[Numpy-discussion] Time for beta1 of NumPy 1.0

Bruce Southey bsouthey at gmail.com
Fri Jun 30 09:24:11 EDT 2006

You should be encouraged by the trend from Numeric to numarray because
the tar users clearly are prepared to upgrade.

In terms of the education program, the 1.0 release is the best
starting point as there is a general phobia for pre-1.0 releases (and
dot zero releases).

Also, Python 2.5 is coming so it probably a good time to attempt to
educate the exe users on numpy. One way is to provide numpy first (it
may be a little too harsh to say only) so people see it when they

There are two key aspects that are probably very much related that
needs to happen with the 1.0 release:
1) Identify those "[s]econdary dependency" projects as Louis states
(BioPython also comes to mind) and get them to convert.
2) Get the major distros (e.g. openSUSE) to include numpy and not
Numeric. In turn this should also make people who packages (like rpms)
also use numpy.

This may mean having to support both Numeric and numpy in the initial phase.


On 6/30/06, Travis Oliphant <oliphant.travis at ieee.org> wrote:
> Alan G Isaac wrote:
> > On Thu, 29 Jun 2006, Travis Oliphant apparently wrote:
> >
> >> Please make any comments or voice major concerns
> >>
> >
> > A rather minor issue, but I would just like to make sure
> > that a policy decision was made not to move to a float
> > default for identity(), ones(), zeros(), and empty().
> > (I leave aside arange().)
> >
> This was a policy decision made many months ago after discussion on this
> list and would need over-whelming pressure to change.
> > I see the argument for a change to be 3-fold:
> >
> I am, however, sympathetic to the arguments for wanting floating-point
> defaults.   I wanted to change this originally but was convinced to not
> make such a major change for back-ward compatibility (more on that later).
> Nonetheless, I would support the creation of a module called something
> like defaultfloat or some-other equally impressive name ;-) which
> contained floating-point defaults of these functions (with the same
> names).
> Feel free to contribute (or at least find a better name).
> Regarding the problem of backward compatibility:
> I am very enthused about the future of both NumPy and SciPy.  There have
> been a large number of new-comers to the community who have contributed
> impressively and I see very impressive things going on.    This is "a
> good thing" because these projects need many collaborators and
> contributors to be successful.
> However, I have not lost sight of the fact that we still have a major
> adoption campaign to win before declaring NumPy a success.  There are a
> lot of people who still haven't come-over from Numeric and numarray.
> Consider these download numbers:
> Numeric-24.2 (released Nov. 11, 2005)
> 14275   py24.exe
>  2905    py23.exe
>  9144    tar.gz
> Numarray 1.5.1 (released Feb, 7, 2006)
> 10272   py24.exe
> 11883   py23.exe
> 12779   tar.gz
> NumPy 0.9.8   (May 17, 2006)
>  3713    py24.exe
>    558    py23.exe
>  4111    tar.gz
> While it is hard to read too much into numbers, this tells me that there
> are about 10,000 current users of Numeric/Numarray who have not even
> *tried* NumPy.  In fact, Numarray downloads of 1.5.1 went up
> significantly from its earlier  releases. Why is that?   It could be
> that many of the downloads are "casual" users who need it for some other
> application (in which case they wouldn't feel inclined to try NumPy).
> On the other hand, it is also possible that many are still scared away
> by the pre-1.0 development-cycle --- it has been a bit bumpy for the
> stalwarts who've braved the rapids as NumPy has matured.  Changes like
> the proposal to move common functions from default integer to default
> float are exactly the kind of thing that leads people to wait on getting
> NumPy.
> One thing I've learned about Open Source development is that it can be
> hard to figure out exactly what is bothering people and get good
> critical feedback:  people are more likely to just walk away with their
> complaints than to try and verbalize and/or post them.    So, looking at
> adoption patterns can be a reasonable way to pick up on attitudes.
> It would appear that there is still a remarkable number of people who
> are either waiting for NumPy 1.0 or waiting for something else.  I'm not
> sure.   I think we have to wait until 1.0 to find out.  Therefore,
> bug-fixes and stabilizing the NumPy API is my #1 priority right now.
> The other day I read a post by Alex Martelli (an influential Googler) to
> the Python list where he was basically suggesting that people stick with
> Numeric until things "stabilize".  I can hope he meant "until NumPy 1.0
> comes out"  but he didn't say that and maybe he meant "until the array
> in Python stabilizes."
> I hope he doesn't mean the rumors about an array object in Python
> itself.  Let me be the first to assure everyone that rumors of a
> "capable" array object in Python have been greatly exaggerated.  I would
> be thrilled if we could just get the "infra-structure" into Python so
> that different extension modules could at least agree on an array
> interface.   That is a far cry from fulfilling the needs of any current
> Num user, however.
> I say all this only to point out why de-stabilizing changes are
> difficult to do at this point, and to encourage anyone with an interest
> to continue to promote NumPy.   If you are at all grateful for its
> creation, then please try to encourage those whom you know to push for
> NumPy adoption (or at least a plan for its adoption) in the near future.
> Best regards,
> -Travis
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