[Python-Dev] ActiveState & fork & Perl

Guido van Rossum guido at CNRI.Reston.VA.US
Tue Jun 8 03:56:03 CEST 1999

> > Have I ever heard of it! :-)  David Grove pulled me into one of his
> > bouts of paranoia.  I think he's calmed down for the moment.
> It sounds like a :-), but Im afraid I dont understand that reference.

David Grove occasionally posts to Perl lists with accusations that
ActiveState is making Perl proprietary.  He once announced a program
editor to the Python list which upon inspection by me didn't contain
any Python support, for which I flamed him.  He then explained to me
that he was in a hurry because ActiveState was taking over the Perl
world.  A couple of days ago, I received an email from him (part of a
conversation on the perl5porters list apparently) where he warned me
that ActiveState was planning a similar takeover of Python.  After
some comments from tchrist ("he's a loon") I decided to ignore David.

> Sometimes I wish we had a few less good programmers, and a few more good
> marketting type people ;-)

Ditto...  It sure ain't me!

> Excuse my ignorance, but how hard would it be to simulate/emulate/ovulate
> fork using the Win32 extensions?  Python has basically all of the native
> Win32 process API exposed, and writing a "fork" in Python that only forked
> Python scripts (for example) may be feasable and not too difficult.
> It would have obvious limitations, including the fact that it is not
> available standard with Python on Windows (just like a working popen now
> :-) but if we could follow the old 80-20 rule, and catch 80% of the uses
> with 20% of the effort it may be worth investigating.
> My knowledge of fork is limited to muttering "something about cloning the
> current process", so I may be naive in the extreme - but is this feasible?

I think it's not needed that much, but David has argued otherwise.  I
haven't heard much support either way from others.  But I think it
would be a huge task, because it would require taking control of all
file descriptors (given the semantics that upon fork, file descriptors 
are shared, but if one half closes an fd it is still open in the other 

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)

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