[Numpy-discussion] Proposal: stop providing official win32 downloads (for now)

Peter Cock p.j.a.cock at googlemail.com
Fri Dec 18 04:29:11 EST 2015

On Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 9:12 AM, Nathaniel Smith <njs at pobox.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'm wondering what people think of the idea of us (= numpy) stopping
> providing our "official" win32 builds (the "superpack installers"
> distributed on sourceforge) starting with the next release.
> These builds are:
> - low quality: they're linked to an old & untuned build of ATLAS, so
> linear algebra will be dramatically slower than builds using MKL or
> OpenBLAS. They're win32 only and will never support win64. They're
> using an ancient version of gcc. They will never support python 3.5 or
> later.
> - a dead end: there's a lot of work going on to solve the windows
> build problem, and hopefully we'll have something better in the
> short-to-medium-term future; but, any solution will involve throwing
> out the current system entirely and switching to a new toolchain,
> wheel-based distribution, etc.
> - a drain on our resources: producing these builds is time-consuming
> and finicky; I'm told that these builds alone are responsible for a
> large proportion of the energy spent preparing each release, and take
> away from other things that our release managers could be doing (e.g.
> QA and backporting fixes).
> So the idea would be that for 1.11, we create a 1.11 directory on
> sourceforge and upload one final file: a README explaining the
> situation, a pointer to the source releases on pypi, and some links to
> places where users can find better-supported windows builds (Gohlke's
> page, Anaconda, etc.). I think this would serve our users better than
> the current system, while also freeing up a drain on our resources.
> Thoughts?
> -n

Hi Nathaniel,

Speaking as a downstream library (Biopython) using the NumPy
C API, we have to ensure binary compatibility with your releases.

We've continued to produce our own Windows 32 bit installers -
originally the .exe kind (from python setup.py bdist_wininst) but
now also .msi (from python setup.py bdist_msi).

However, in the absence of an official 64bit Windows NumPy
installer we've simply pointed people at Chris Gohlke's stack
http://www.lfd.uci.edu/~gohlke/pythonlibs/ and will likely also start
to recommend using Anaconda.

This means we don't have any comparable download metrics
to gauge 32 bit vs 64 bit Windows usage, but personally I'm
quite happy for NumPy to phase out their 32 bit Windows
installers (and then we can do the same).

I hope we can follow NumPy's lead with wheel distribution etc.


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