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

Charles R Harris charlesr.harris at gmail.com
Fri Dec 18 11:55:46 EST 2015

On Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 2:12 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).

Once numpy-vendor is set up, preparing and running the builds take about
fifteen minutes on my machine. That assumes familiarity with the process, a
first time user will spend significantly more time. Most of the work  in a
release is keeping track of reported bugs and fixing them. Tracking
deprecations and such also takes time.

> 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.

What about beta releases? I have nothing against offloading part of the
release process, but if we do, we need to determine how to coordinate it
among the different parties, which might be something of a time sink in

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