[Numpy-discussion] Sustainability

Ilhan Polat ilhanpolat at gmail.com
Wed Oct 4 18:08:41 EDT 2017

I have two points that I know, from first hand, people (including myself)

1. Clear distinction between NumPy/SciPy development and respective

In addition to Johann's summary; I am an occasional contributor to SciPy
(mostly linalg) and again occasionally I wonder whether certain stuff can
be done on NumPy side or how to sync linalg issues lingering due to say
legacy reasons etc. So I start reading the source code. However in
particular to NumPy, it is extremely difficult for me to find an entry
point on how things actually work or what core team has in mind about the
SciPy/NumPy separation. Story gets really complicated by invoking the
backwards compatibility issues, say the recent dropping the Accelerate
support discussion. There are so many details to take care of, I can only
mention how I'm impressed with the work you guys pulled off over the years.
If sustainability is meant for widening the spectrum of contributors, some
care is needed for initialization of us even in the form of contribution
guide or which files stay where. This would also return as ease of
reviewing and less weight on the core team.

2. Feature completeness of basic modules.

I have been in contact with a few companies, probing the opportunities
about open-source usage in my domain of expertise. Many of them mentioned
the feature incompleteness of the basics. One person used the analogy of
potholes and bumpy ride in the linalg module "How come <...> is there but
<...> is not?" . So it creates a maintenance obligation of a code base that
not so many use. Another person used the term "a bit of this, a bit of
that". Same applies for NumPy side too.

I hope these won't be taken as complaints, I just want to give the
perspective I've gained in the last few months. But similar to other "huge"
projects in open source domain, it seems to me that if there is a plan to
attract interest of commercial 3rd parties for funding or simply donations,
it would really help if they can see some clear planning or a better


On Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 5:31 PM, John T. Goetz <theodore.goetz at gmail.com>

> Hello Chuck,
> Sustainability is indeed a broad topic and I think it's all too easy to
> think broadly about it. Please do discuss the big picture, but I am far
> more interested in the practical day-to-day action items that result
> from such a meeting. Here are my concerns with regards NumPy
> specifically:
> * How to handle the backlog of pull requests.
> * How to advertise outstanding issues that could be tackled by
> developers that are new to NumPy (like myself). This maybe just being
> more aggressive with the "Difficulty" tag.
> * Coding style has changed within the code-base over time and it would
> good to have a handful of functions one can point to as examples to
> follow.
> Notice these are all on the "ease of contributing" side of
> sustainability. I can't address the perhaps larger issues of ecosystem
> integration but I suspect NumPy doesn't suffer from being ignored. As
> to sponsored work or financial support, I'll look forward to the report
> that comes out of these meetings.
> Thanks for bringing this up here on the mailing list,
> Johann
> On Tue, 2017-10-03 at 17:04 -0600, Charles R Harris wrote:
> > Hi All,
> >
> > I and a number of others representing various open source projects
> > under the NumFocus umbrella will be attending as meeting next Tuesday
> > do discuss the problem of sustainability. In preparation for that
> > meeting I would be interested in any ideas that the folks who follow
> > this list may have on the subject.
> >
> > Chuck
> > _______________________________________________
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